Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August Secret Agent #39

TITLE: Boobs Over Hollywood
GENRE: Humor/Satire

As the timer buzzed, Lena's fingers fell of the cello's B-Flat, resulting in painful howl from the instrument. She set it down carefully, then glanced down at her flannel Garfield-inspired PJ's and frog-shaped slippers and considered -- for about the buzzillionth time -- that this was not what she imagined the life of an aspiring cellist to be. She looked at the wall clock. 8:53. Running late. As usual. Time to forget Bach. Time to forget Beethoven. Time to forget Barber. Time to scurry off to work. Time to deal with boobs.

Winded and sweaty from her long trek from the peon parking lot, Lena flew into Building Three, the home of Tony Brewer's production company, Pilfered Projects Productions. The reception area was starkly modern. Black and glass and chrome with all the warmth and charm of a bus station urinal. She grimaced, as she always did, when she spotted the posters of Tony's many successful TV reality shows lining the walls: American Icon, Prancing with the Stars, The Incredible Marathon and Endurer: Topeka. Geez, she thought, if you're going to rip off other shows, couldn't the titles at least be original?

In her usual uncoordinated style, Lena skidded across the shiny, slippery marble floor toward the reception desk, her long arms and legs flailing in all directions. Bitsy, the gothic receptionist, was at her desk watching Lena's acrobatics through disapproving, uncharitable eyes.

11 comments:

Lucy Woodhull said...

LOVE the title, and I love the concept of her day job being boobs. But I feel this suffers from overkill and explaining-the-joke-itis.

In her usual uncoordinated style, Lena skidded across the shiny, slippery marble floor toward the reception desk, her long arms and legs flailing in all directions.

"In her usual uncoordinated style" is telling and it kills the joke. "Uncoordinated heroine" is a bit overdone anyhow, but explaining it compounds the issue. Just let the joke fall and those who get it, get it. Not everyone will get them all, and that's okay. But when I figure out a bit for myself, it makes me feel all clever. :)

The first paragraph is too long-winded with too much repetition.

As the timer buzzed, Lena's fingers fell off the cello's B-Flat, resulting in painful howl from the instrument.

I would recommend printing the MS out and reading it off hard copy out loud to yourself. That'll help with catching of/off mistakes and the like.

She set it down carefully, then glanced down at her flannel Garfield-inspired PJ's and frog-shaped slippers and considered -- for about the buzzillionth time -- that this was not what she imagined the life of an aspiring cellist to be.

You don't need both the Garfield PJs (why "inspired"? Just muddles the joke) and the frog slippers - pick one.

She looked at the wall clock. 8:53.

You can just say "8:53 a.m. -- running late" the fact that she looked at the wall clock is implied. Cutting stuff like this will help pace. Bad pace kills humor.

Time to forget Bach. Time to forget Beethoven. Time to forget Barber. Time to scurry off to work. Time to deal with boobs.

Too much. Pick one composer, then you get a nice three: "Time to forget Barber. Time to scurry off to work. Time to deal with boobs."

Good luck!

Mystery Writer said...

I hate the word, boobs, it's a put down to female anatomy, so that would stop me right there.

Courtney Abruzzo said...

I like it and am not put off by boobs in the title, because clearly the MC is conflicted and struggling with the dichotomy of her two worlds.
That being said, I do agree it could be cleaner. In the first paragraph, I'd just say, "Time to forget Bach, Beethoven, Barber." Also, the line about being an aspiring cellist needs reworking to really sing.
I'm hooked by the set up and would read on.

Walter Thurman said...

I like the voice, and I like the premise (what little of it there is to see). I'd keep reading. Nicely done.

Alison said...

The title made me choose this one to read - I had to know what it was about! I did see a few editing mistakes - the first sentence has 'of' instead of 'off' and it looks like the word 'a' is missing between 'in' and 'painful.' These mistakes instantly made me want to stop reading. I continued, however, and found the second paragraph did make me smile. Keep working! Best of luck and thanks for sharing!

Dee White said...

Love the title of this piece and I think the voice is strong. I thought her pyjamas were cute and I got a real picture of your character in my head.

I loved Bitsy, the gothic receptionist and your descriptions of the 'pilfered' television shows and the fact that Tony is quite blase about them.

Like Alison, I thought you might need to spend a bit of time on the editing. Sometimes, reading the piece aloud can help pick them up.

Good luck with this piece. I'm intrigued to know more.

Lia Mack said...

hooked, but you could fix the typos and tighten up your writing a bit more, or I don't know how much more I could read.

Barbara said...

I agree with Lucy Woodhull. This seemed liked overkill and forced humor. If you cleaned up the writing and didn't explain the jokes, it would be a stronger piece.

Angela Robbins said...

agree with most about the humor.
tighten it up a bit and it will be stronger and at a better pace.
i don't think boobs demeans anyone. it shows the MC's attitude towards her job. i'm a girl and say boobs, breasts is too formal, so get over it.
i read it because of the title, too.

Secret Agent said...

At the risk of overlooking the obvious: am I the only one who doesn't know what you mean by boobs? "Time to deal with boobs" - do you mean that literally? Because I was picturing some kind of breast shadow artist and breast consultant or whatever.... which brings me to my next gripe - I really wish I knew what your main characters does (when she's not playing the cello, that is). Your humor has me curious, so I'd read on to find out what role your main character plays at the production company, but I'm not sure how far I'll get.

T said...

Anything that makes fun of Hollywood/TV industry, I'll stick with. Lena is clearly an 'underdog/misfit'. I'm hoping that she will, at some point, turn the agency upside down.