Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mysteries For Danielle Svetcov #23

TITLE: Hair Sprayed Hard and Put Away Forever
GENRE: Adult Mystery

A hairstylist turns detective to find out who killed a celebrity stylist at a Las Vegas hair show when her best friend is arrested for the murder.

It was like being drop kicked into a Lady Gaga video.

Although I’d never actually seen a Lady Gaga video, I was pretty sure the freak show I was currently witnessing would measure up.

Techno music pulsed from over-sized speakers, competing with the fevered, carnival barker voice hocking the latest, state-of-the-art revolution in hairstyling. A string of models, looking like refugees from the forest scene in the Wizard of Oz, shuffled past where we stood at the back of the room. Wearing form-fitting bark dresses, their hair had been wired and twisted to resemble bare tree branches. Lights flashed on the main stage, slicing across the gender neutral forms posed Martha Graham style, their hair geometric origami, symbolizing the effect of time and space on society or some such ridiculousness.

Gripping the hands of my two best friends, Vivian Moreno and Juan Carlos, I tried to suppress the excitement rising up the back of my throat. We were in Las Vegas! Far from our home in California where I, Azalea March, co-owned a salon with Vivian deep in heart of overly-highlighted, under-styled Orange County. And we had four whole days of nothing but free casino booze and sacrificing sleep for parties ahead of us.

The real reason we were in Sin City was to attend the North American Salon Trade Expo, or NAST-E as Juan Carlos called it. As hairstylists, this event was our Cannes Film Festival, if the festival were held at the overblown Las Vegas convention center and the movies were hairstyling presentations so ludicrous it was like New York fashion week threw up, then rolled around in the notions department of a craft store.


  1. I loved the first line, but I'd drop the second paragraph or at least the first part of it. I found it confusing-if she's never seen a Lady Gaga video, how does she know what it's like to be drop-kicked into one?

    Your description of the event (paragraph 3) was wonderful. The bark dresses and hair wired to resemble tree branches totally made me laugh! (So true, too.)

    It would be great to get Azalea's name/voice into the text before that of her friends, so if you do drop the second graph, consider putting her name (or "I" voice) in earlier. Azalea's great name.

    For me, the final two paragraphs needed more clarity. I had to re-read some sentences twice to make sure I understood everything. There's a lot of info packed into a short space.

    This sounds like a fun mystery to read, and a great behind-the-scenes look at a hair show!

  2. I might reword the logline. It could be my lack of caffeine, but I had to read it a couple times for clarity. Maybe start with, 'When her best friend is accused of killing a celebrity stylist at a Las vegas hair show, *name* goes from hairstylist to detective to find the real killer.

    I like the voice, but might strip the Techno music paragraph down a bit. There's a lot going on in there.

    There are some great lines, but they may not be making the story better. The saying, murder your darlings,' applies.

    I think it would be better stripped down a tiny bit. It makes the gems look shinier when there isn't something in every line.

    I'd read on as I like it, but it feels heavy with similes sometimes.

  3. I think your story starts at the third paragraph, but I'd like to know more and picture the MC more upfront.

  4. Logline: This reads awkwardly. You need something like, "When her best friend is arrested for murder, a hairstylist decides she must find the killer or..." After that, we need to know why she needs to find the killer as well as who/what is going to stop her from doing so.

    Good luck!

  5. I agree with @Christina:
    "I loved the first line, but I'd drop the second paragraph or at least the first part of it. I found it confusing-if she's never seen a Lady Gaga video, how does she know what it's like to be drop-kicked into one?"

  6. I am crap at log lines so I'll leave the recommendations to others.

    Your first line made me laugh, and set a tone I hope will be continued throughout the piece. Love the voice you've set.

  7. I've never seen a Lady Gaga video either, but I'm pretty sure you've described one!

    I agree with Feaky on the logline- a little reworking and it's there.

    Love the hair show setting! Oh yeah, some of these shows are wild! Great descriptions of the funky do's and outfits. I think this is a great start and I would read on.

  8. Great descriptions, and the hair show setting in enticing.

    The Vivian deep stopped me. Better to rephrase that.

  9. The first line grabbed my attention. I think you can loose the second one and go right into your third paragraph. I love the details you capture, but I think it can be stripped down a bit to improve the pacing.

    I want to know the name of your protagonist before being introduced to secondary characters.
    The line about 4 days of free booze and no sleep contradicts the real reason they were there in my mind, but that could just be me.

    I would definitely read more. Good luck!

  10. It's a pretty well described setting, and the premise is interesting. I haven't seen a hair-stylist/detective in a while.

    I agree with the logline crits. The inciting incident should come first.

    Kill the second paragraph. All it does is hurt her credibility as a narrator.

    I had a little conflict between the "tree branch" hair, which I imagine as twisty and asymmetrical and the "geometric origami" hair...

    The first begins strong, but I get a little lost in the last two paragraphs.

  11. Too many adj. You lost me at "throat."

  12. I really like the voice on this one. My only suggestion is to introduce the character names differently. As is, it feels a little like info. dump. Maybe you can do it through dialogue. Good luck!

  13. I enjoyed this. Loved the voice and like the idea of mixing hairdressing with murder! Makes a change from all the cop/detective mysteries.

  14. Love the premise, but I think the writing needs some tightening up. A little too much information up front that could easily be covered by dialogue.

  15. Love the setting and the premise--both seem like they'd combine to make a breezy read in a setting many have visited. Maybe it will sell well at LV conventions.