Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August Secret Agent #32

TITLE: Beautiful Imperfection
GENRE: Inspirational Romantic Suspense

She'd cried too much these past few months. Time had come to "get over it." At least that's what Claire would say. Tonight had been Claire's idea. She claimed it would be nice to have a girl's night out since they hadn't done it in a while. Unsure why, Teddy agreed. Her days of fun were over.

How do you get over something so devastating? Teddy clutched the steering wheel and closed her eyes against the tears threatening. She should have stayed home. She was nowhere ready for this.

Beautiful women walked in and out of Club Jetty, one of downtown Jacksonville's most popular night spots. She used to be one of them, but not anymore.

Fog settled in over her vehicle as she sat inside it.

She turned her attention to the ladies who sauntered into the club. They came in every shape and size. Most of the bigger chests were fake. How often had she and her friends pointed and laughed at the visibly phony ones, so big and perfectly round, like balloons filled with helium. The joke was no longer funny now that she was unbalanced one.

The phone jolted her from her thoughts. "Hello." She forced down a quiver.

"Where are you? You're late." The clinking of glasses sounded behind Claire Hoover's voice.

Teddy slumped forward. "I just got here. I'll be right in."

10 comments:

Lucy Woodhull said...

It would help to know what the devastating thing was. Not telling us feels like false suspense and I wonder if the MC is overreacting. It reads like a death to me. Not to be callous, but if it's a breakup, then I might feel she's a bit overwrought. I don't think you need the entire first page to convey the idea that's she's not ready to get over it yet. I like the examples of the club and the fake breasts / comparisons of another time, though. Good luck!

Jane said...

I also felt knowing what she was getting over would help. You could do it in a few words, and I think it would increase tension rather than lower it. Because we'd have enough info to wonder along with her whether she can really get over it.

I wasn't sure, in Paragraph 5, whether "unbalanced" referred to her mental state or to her actually resembling the other women in some physical way. I thought perhaps what she was getting over was a mastectomy?

D.J. said...

I like it the way it is- the contrast of the "beautiful people" vs. what Teddy thinks she is now. Like Jane, I assume Teddy is a breast cancer survivor. Now she's going to have to learn true beauty comes from the inside, not a plastic surgeon, and she is lovable just the way she is. Or however the story goes, which I will want to know.

Genevieve Wilson said...

I think you did a good job of relating the character's grief, but I agree that a hint of what the grief is about would be helpful.

Lia Mack said...

I wish I were hooked. It sounds like it will be a great inspirational story with the set up - breast cancer, getting back to life...

BUT...

Here, you fail to tell the reader anything! "something so devastating"...what? Tell the reader, show the reader, don't leave little hints and clues. Readers want to be in this with the character, together. Not stringed along to, after a few paragraphs, finally get the point. That's not fair.

(Teddy) cried too much these past few months. How do you get over something so devastating as breast cancer? Clutching the steering wheel, she closed her eyes against the tears. She should have stayed home. She was nowhere ready for this.

Rearrange for a tighter set up and then introduce us to her friend who wants her to 'get over it' and the night club scene. Get us invested in Teddy, why she's in the story, and then go from there.

Time had come to "get over it." At least that's what Claire would say. Tonight had been Claire's idea. She claimed it would be nice to have a girl's night out since they hadn't done it in a while. Unsure why, Teddy agreed. Her days of fun were over.

Kathleen@so much to say, so little time said...

I think the setup works, but the writing needs to be fleshed out better. What is the primary point of this scene? What is she upset about and how does it connect with us--at what point does it become "everyman's story"? That's what you should be working to draw out of the opening.

Barbara said...

I wasn't hooked, but it's more personal preference than anything else. This just isn't my kind of story.

I agree about letting us in on what's so devastating. The reference to the fake breasts made me think breast cancer, but I shouldn't have to guess. I'm supposed to know what the POV character knows, and knowing her problem right away helps me empathize with her, which helps me to like her and be interested in her. Keeping it a secret doesn't help you.

Angela Robbins said...

not my genre, but i told myself to read it anyway.
i wanted to know what the devastation was: divorce, death, near death?
need to let us know so we can relate.

Momwoman said...

Not my kind of story, but your subtlety hooked me. It's perfectly obvious that she's mourning the loss of a breast. Don't feel like you have to scream out loud just because some people didn't get it.
Good job!

Secret Agent said...

I’m okay with the subtlety - not knowing what your main character’s source of devastation is (but we do get some strong hints). I’m guessing we will find out within the first five pages and reader curiosity will be sated. For me, this would be stronger if you lost the pep talk and rhetorical question and simply started with, “Teddy clutched the steering wheel and closed her eyes against the tears threatening.” Then we’d start with action and be that much closer to meeting the domineering Claire, for what is sure to be a lively and revealing exchange.