Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November Secret Agent #39

TITLE: Death by High Heels
GENRE: Mystery

I wasn't sure which was worse, the smell or the sight of his organs spilled out onto his lap.

"What the hell did you hit him with?" I asked.

"My shoe."

"Your shoe? Damn it, Lindsay, you can't kill someone with a shoe." I snapped.

"Hello, they're Via Spiga."

"Ugh." I rolled my eyes. There was no way in hell she had done this kind of damage with a shoe. If she had women all over the world would soon be saying goodbye to their much beloved accessory, the high heel. Once this made the news men everywhere, even NRA members would insist on an instant ban of the deadly yet sexy weapon.

"Any idea how he got this giant hole in his stomach?" I asked.

"What? No, I hit him and ran."

"Come here and see if you recognize him."

"Gross, no way."

"Quit being a coward and come here."

"I'm not a coward because I don't want to look at some dead guy."

"Just get your ass over here!" I yelled.

"Police, nobody move!"

Standing in the doorway was Twin Falls' oldest beat cop, his gun drawn and pointed in my direction. It would have been a scary sight, if he didn't look like he was about to go into labor at any minute with triplets.

"Ah hell," I muttered. "Hey Duncan."

"Kim Murphy. Oh man the Chief's gonna be pissed," Officer Duncan said.

"The chief?" Lindsay asked.

"The chief of police. He's my dad," I answered.

18 comments:

S. Mozer said...

Great title and I liked the banter between the two girls. I'm not sure what's happening but I'd definitely read more to find out.

Erin said...

This is fun but as I read it, I was thinking chick lit instead of mystery. I like the banter, but one sentence didn't make sense: If she had women all over the world would soon be saying goodbye to their much beloved accessory, the high heel. Other than that, it sounds like a fun read. Good luck!

joankr said...

Very engaging opening! Lots of initial questions that made me want to read on: who are these women who are taking death so lightly? why is the guy dead?

I found the passage about the high heel as a deadly weapon a little distracting at this point.

The dialogue was good and engaging.

It may be just me, but I was jarred when the police announced his presence, then was standing in the doorway -- perhaps a noise before the "Police, nobody move" line? Also I would have liked to know just a bit more about the place they were in than just that it had a door. Was it a house? A business?

The end was very intriguing and I'd definitely read on.

Shannyn said...

I like this too. I'd like a better sense of why Kim is there when her friend thinks she killed a guy. Why call Kim? Especially if she doesn't know Kim's dad is the chief.

Good dialogue. I'd definitely read on.

I understand not calling it chick lit - as that can be a death call for a book. I think you're safe with mystery. It is more a cozy than a police procedural, right? I'm guessing Kim's not a cop.

Anonymous said...

Kim is the girl's neighbor and she's also a private investigator. That information comes in 3 lines from where the first 250 words ended.

I hope this helps.

Thanks everyone for the helpful comments. Keep them coming.

Stephanie said...

Hi! nice dialogue! It took me two reads to get that the narrator is Kim (it is Kim, right?). I'd like to get a stronger sense of who Kim is right away to ground the story. Good luck!

YA Writer said...

Confusing. Who is speaking? Where are we? Maybe start with action, danger, conflict or crisis? Need something vital at stake.

Agree with Stephanie. Needs some grounding.

Ammy Belle said...

Ha ha ha! I like the way this begins ! I think you have a real serial here, and I cannot stress enough how I hope you succeed!

Thanks

Locksley said...

Okay, I'm hooked, but I had to think 'girl' first. Later after this 250 contest, I'd recommend adding in scene and more senses (like the body (and blood) spoiled a perfectly fine Lane sofa...and I'm not going near a stinky body, or his red clashed with... etc.

Also you can start laying in the interior monologue. okay now you're up to 500, but good shoes deserve it.

I think more mysteries should keep a comedic undercurrent, bravo.

Beyond the 250 to 500 comments, I found Lindsey saying, "The chief?" to be a leading question with insufficient motivation. So with that in mind why not either drop the "the chief?" and go into. Don't worry too much, the chief is my dad.... "Why, haven't you guys ever seen a dead person before?" Lindsey asked.
"My dad is the chief, and he'll be upset for an entirely different reason.....

Hooked.

Barbara said...

Overall, I liked it. I did think you could eliminate the paragraph about men putting an end to the high heel, or rewrite it. The sentences are long and awkward, and it doesn't really add to the story or characterization.

And I would have liked some indication of where they were, why they're the only two there, and if they are, who called the cops?

Perhaps add some bits of description that might clue me in to that, as well as their approximate ages. I felt they could have been teens here. (I know they're not so my next guess would be early 20's?)

But it was a fun read.

Sean said...

Great title! I felt like the first sentence could go with either "smell" or "sight", but including both made it a bit choppy. Maybe - I wasn't sure which was worse, the smell of his organs spilled out onto his lap, or his cheap pants.

Also, seemed like a comma was missing in second sentence of "Ugh" paragraph - If she had, women all over the world...
A comma (or two) in last sentence of same paragraph would help it flow better as well.

But would love to read more to find out why Lindsay killed a man she may not even recognize.

Lia Mack said...

you can't open with so much dialouge without painting a picture. Give us more about the MC, the scene, not just back and forth. Where are they? What are they feeling? Give us details outside of what they see and say. This will build not only the scene but your characters as well, and for an opener, you need that, to get us invested. Right now I have no clue what/who the MC is. Not hooked.

Joie said...

I liked this one a lot. It gave me a good idea of what was going on with minimal detail and got the story moving right away. I don't even *like* mysteries, and I'd keep reading, just to see what happened.

rhea said...

Great dialogue. Linday's feelings and personality were loud and clear. Kim's however, seemed a bit too cool for me. Also, I quentioned why they would stand there examining the body instead of calling 911.

I had to stop and think what an NRA is.

I assumed the two women were good friends, so I was stunned that Kim had to explain that her dad is the chief.

Love the title, and I want to know what's going on. I would read more.

Angela Robbins said...

i remember this one from the log lines, i think.
cute title.

this read awkard to me:
If she had women all over the world would soon be saying goodbye to their much beloved accessory, the high heel. Once this made the news men everywhere, even NRA members would insist on an instant ban of the deadly yet sexy weapon.

needs some commas to do the trick.

Bonnie said...

I had a hard time with the tone of this, since it didn't seem to match what was going on. Why does the main character not seem even a little bit bothered by the dead guy? Does Lindsey really think she disemboweled a man with her shoe, and if so, why is she okay with that? If the man was threatening her enough that she felt justified killing him, shouldn't she be upset by whatever he was doing to threaten her? Is the outlawability of an expensive shoe really the most important thing going on in this scene?

Bron said...

I think this has a distinctive voice, but there's a few issues. I'm with the others about the NRA paragraph. If you want to keep it, I think you need some commas so people can understand what you mean without having to re-read. I'd add commas after 'had', 'news' and 'members'. But I think you're better off rewriting it though to make it clearer.

Lindsay's last question seemed a bit contrived, an authorial intrusion into the story so readers can find out that Kim's dad is the chief of police. I don't know whether you were trying to squeeze that info into the 250 words, but I think you're better off taking your time and introducing it a bit more naturally. I know that's hard in a competition like this though.

Secret Agent said...

RE: title—Good. This should definitely be a cozy mystery—if you want to convey a bit of that chick-lit/snarky kind of voice—and I would most definitely mention that in your genre classification of the book.

With the text—

I wasn't sure which was worse, the smell or the sight of his organs spilled out onto his lap.

Cut “the sight of.”

"What the hell did you hit him with?" I asked.

"My shoe."


I think this would be more effective if you cut “I asked” and added something like “Lindsay chewed on her lip”—or something like that, to tell us the speaker has changed—before the answer. Helps make the question pop.

"Your shoe? Damn it, Lindsay, you can't kill someone with a shoe." I snapped.

Show that your character is snapping with emotion or action. Don’t tell.

"Hello, they're Via Spiga."

Again, show—I feel as if this is probably matched by some kind of gesture or, at the very least, an intonation in the diction, i.e., “Hello, they’re Via Spiga!”

"Ugh." I rolled my eyes. There was no way in hell she had done this kind of damage with a shoe. If she had women all over the world would soon be saying goodbye to their much beloved accessory, the high heel. Once this made the news men everywhere, even NRA members would insist on an instant ban of the deadly yet sexy weapon.

You need a comma after “had.” Cut “all over the world.”

That last sentence should read, “If she had, men—even NRA members—would insist on an instant ban of the deadly weapon. Women would soon be saying goodbye to their much-beloved accessory.” Everything I cut from that isn’t necessary.

Also, ah, having a hard time imagining the murder of someone with a high heel, but I’m willing to run with it for now.

"Any idea how he got this giant hole in his stomach?" I asked.

Cut “I asked.”

"What? No, I hit him and ran."

Again, this needs to be met with some kind of action or intonation in the voice.

"Come here and see if you recognize him."

"Gross, no way."

"Quit being a coward and come here."

"I'm not a coward because I don't want to look at some dead guy."


Again, the last two sentences fall flat for me. “Coward” is a weak word, but I’m willing to run with it. I feel as if the sentences are too long—the dialogue could be snappier. It’s also bothering me that I don’t have any details about the setting. Can you work in one or two little things?

"Just get your ass over here!" I yelled.

Again, instead of the tag, give us an action—either here or in the sentences above—to help place the characters. Otherwise it’s flat.

"Police, nobody move!"

Standing in the doorway was Twin Falls' oldest beat cop, his gun drawn and pointed in my direction. It would have been a scary sight, if he didn't look like he was about to go into labor at any minute with triplets.


What does that last part look like? Show, don’t tell.

"Ah hell," I muttered. "Hey Duncan."

"Kim Murphy. Oh man the Chief's gonna be pissed," Officer Duncan said.


Comma after “ah,” “oh,” and “man.” Cut “Officer Duncan said.”

"The chief?" Lindsay asked.

"The chief of police. He's my dad," I answered.


Make “He’s my dad” into “My dad.” More punch. Cut out “I answered.” Not necessary.

This is okay. I’m intrigued—definitely has that kind of lighthearted, mystery for women kind of feel to it. I’m just concerned about the efficiency of your writing—too many little things here that I would change to improve the flow and strength of the scene for me to be super excited about the writing to come. Not hooked, but I’d keep on reading.