Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August Secret Agent #33

TITLE: Man Land
GENRE: Romantic Comedy

The Man Land poster screamed at Braxton from the crowded break room wall. After the hype all summer long, the grand opening was only a day away. For Doug, the amusement park filled with manly challenges seemed like his best dream come true, although it certainly hadn’t for Braxton. Not that he was a wimp or anything. He just didn’t equate his self-worth with the size of his muscles. At least that’s what he told himself – especially when he hung around Doug. Or his father. Even Braxton wasn’t immune to the Man Land mania, though. After all, what guy wouldn’t get excited about driving a garbage truck through an obstacle course? But, knowing it would be a mistake to let on to Doug, who would create some asinine training schedule for them, Braxton still acted like the last thing he wanted to do was go to the Grand Opening of Man Land. So far, the charade seemed to be working.

The chime on the coffee maker sounded just as Doug rounded the corner. Dressed in impeccable grey slacks and a tight, navy blue t-shirt, Doug always looked like he’d be more at home in one of the downtown law offices than their small engineering firm. He grinned widely and reached around Braxton to tap the Man Land poster hanging over his shoulder.

“Hey Brax. Tomorrow’s the big day. Grand opening of Man Land.”


  1. Sorry, but I was totally confused by these paragraphs! What is Man Land? I had to read it three times to make sense of who Braxton and Doug are, or at least whose POV I'm in since we were talking about Doug before he even entered the room.

  2. I would start with your second paragraph. The first is confusing and I didn't really understand what was going on. Who is Braxton? Why does this amusement park matter so much to him?

    I'd also shrink the first paragraph down, then move it to second paragraph. I think there's a bit too much inner monologue and you could cut a good chunk of that.

  3. I like your first line. But, I agree that the rest of your first paragraph was confusing. I really had a difficult time keeping Doug and Braxton straight.

    You might want to consider cutting our your first paragraph and showing us the differences between Braxton and Doug as they talk about Man Land.

  4. Your first paragraph was confusing, and I think you can take out a few Man Land's, and replace them with theme park. Something like that. If felt repetitive.

    The fact that this is a romantic comedy, and there's a place called Man Land where men can drive garbage trucks, made me laugh. This looks like a funny story. :)

  5. My hubby would totally love your amusement park! I'd like a better sense of the characters ages - I was thinking a bit younger at the beginning, then older with the mention of the engineering firm. Good luck!

  6. I really like the idea of Man Land, and not just on paper. :)
    I must say I had no problems following the lines, found nothing confusing about it. And I rather liked the inner thoughts as well. Like a little window into Braxton's mind. I quite enjoyed it. This, I believe, would make for an interesting read.

  7. Man Land is great! I hope the rest of the novel has this same kind of quirky feel to it. I also like the contrast between Doug and Braxton.

    I wonder, though, if you could start the story with the second paragraph, and then fill in all the detail you've packed in the first over the next couple of pages.

  8. I'd read more!

    Some have suggested switching para. 1/2. Actually I like opening with para.3/ "Hey Brax..." dialogue. It's got all the essentials. Our hero's name, the story-clock set & ticking toward "tomorrow", and the big event. Succinct!

    If you prefer starting in Braxton's head (and I found his thoughts/patter-to-himself interesting), then you might start off with a visual description of the poster rather than 'telling' us that it screamed at him. Or you could move up this sentence to be your opening line:
    "What guy wouldn't get excited about driving a garbage truck..." That seems to sum up what the poster likely depicts.

  9. I also love the idea of Man Land. I want to know more about it. Without knowing anything else about your story, I think the attractions of Man Land could be a great hook.

    The characters I'm not so invested in right now. I'd suggest moving the first line about Doug to when he's introduced, and start by just showing us Braxton's feelings on the subject. I was a bit confused having him compare himself to a guy we haven't met yet.
    Also, and this may be nitpicky, I don't picture lawyers as wearing tight t-shirts, so that comparison didn't work for me.

  10. I agree with the above - I think starting with the second paragraph, then on to the third is the way to go. The first paragraph needs some work - going back and forth between these two characters and what they think is rather a confusing place to start. If it's all necessary info for the reader, I'd find a way to slide it in (in sections, perhaps) in the midst of the action to follow. The second paragraph reads much smoother and I think would draw readers in quickly. Good luck!

  11. OK, I at first missed the part about the poster being in a break room and thought we were talking about Man Land: The Movie with the comments of hype all summer long and upcoming grand opening.

    I figured it out, so it's not a big deal.

    But yeah, first para confused me also, and it could use some tightening up.

    I did like the line about "what guy wouldn't get excited about driving a garbage truck through and obstacle course."

    I'd read on just because of the premise, but would want things sorted out soon so I know what's going on.

  12. This is an intriguing concept but the first paragraph totally loses me. Cut it. Really. I think the aim is to highlight the competitive relationship between Braxton and Doug, but the first paragraph doesn't really work. However, I can imagine the fun scene that will occur with an obstacle course involving garbage trucks.