Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August Secret Agent #8

TITLE: Candyflip
GENRE: Commercial Fiction

One dead boyfriend and a landslide of guilt is payoff for the only selfish decision I’ve ever made. Now I'm flirting with a full-blown defection from the principals of proper behaviour that has me scared shitless as this car races to the club. My roommates are fitting company for ditching good girl mode and even though Robbie and Jen are professional partiers, I’m still all jitters.

The demented cabbie pulls stunt driver maneuvers through Toronto’s congested core making the three of us slide all over the back seat. A pungent blend of dirty lake water, gasoline and street meat wafts through the rolled down windows as we whip down another side street. The closer we get to the club the tighter my stomach clenches.

“Tonight you’re going to ride your first wave,” Robbie whispers in my ear.

Ripples of excitement ease the knot in my gut and I’m hoping the car veers around another corner so I can squeeze up tight on Robbie again.

Flash. The inside of the cab explodes with light as Jen snaps photos while the cabbie curses her in some foreign language.

Robbie and Jen laugh, then me. It’s contagious and fueled by nerves.

Staring through floating spots I ask, “What do you mean, first wave?”

“Get over yourself girl, you know exactly what I mean.” Robbie flaunts a cheeky grin.

"It’s no big deal. Do you see us all freaked over a little hit of E?” Jen rolls her eyes.


  1. I don't know how I feel about another drug book, but I could be wrong about where this is going.

    As to the writing, it's fast paced, but as the reader I'm never lost about what's going on. I think the pace is perfect for the scene.

  2. I LOVE the first sentence. Intriguing, voicey, and specific. The second sentence looses me though- something about it is confusing. It's a small thing, too, but "principles" is what I think you mean. Good setting though- I could picture this.

  3. I agree with Kate. I love the first sentence. Same thought about 2nd sentence, which doesn't flow as well as the first. Really strong writing though. Love the imagery and excitement. Street meat? Sounds gross but I like it. I would absolutely read on.

  4. Hah! Somehow I knew I would not be the first to point out the misspelling of "principles." Writers have such a keen eye for typos, except when they're our own!

    The first two paragraphs flow well, but the rest reads like bulleted journal entries. (Don't mean to sound so nitpicky, but it seemed a bit choppy). Or maybe more like a screenplay script.

    Good imagery though.

  5. I'm intrigued, but this plot has been done several times before. I'm not 100% convinced that yours will be different.

    I'm tempted to say cut the first paragraph, as I feel like the second one would make a better start.

    Over all, I did find the start a little clunky, and I didn't feel as drawn in as I wanted to be.

  6. I'll reiterate liking of the first line and confusion with the second. Maybe a bit of reorganization: "This car races to the club, and I'm flirting with..." Helps to earlier establish a setting, and we don't have to jump from the MC's thoughts on "full-blown defection" to the racing car to ditching good-girl mode, etc. Instead the "full-blown defection" is immediately connected to ditching good-girl mode.

    As with others, I'd want to see what makes this different from other novels about drug use.

  7. There are a number of very long sentences here. Consider cutting a few of them in half with a simple period.

    I like the first sentence but don't understand its relationship to the rest of the scene. Is it because of the dead boyfriend that she's going wild? If so, say that in the next sentence instead of starting with "Now".

  8. I agree with Margot above - I wanted some shorter sentences in those first two paragraphs.

    Also, I desperately want to move the narrator's question up closer to Robbie's dialogue. By the time she asked about the wave, I already assumed she knew what he was talking about, and her question confused me.

    The pace is great, though, and I loved how she wanted the car to swerve so she could press up against Robbie again.

  9. I like how snappy this reads. You do a nice job of maintaining a sense of action, even though the characters are in a car and aren't really doing anything.

    I would suggest cutting the first paragraph. The first line is really haunting, but it doesn't seem to tie in to the rest of this excerpt. I can't tell if the boyfriend is already dead, or if it's going to happen because of what the MC does tonight.

  10. The first line is intriguing: I want to know what that decision was that was so selfish. For me, the momentum is lost on the second line because I'm looking for that answer. I think line 2 could be clearer, as it feels disjointed from the first. The third line gives a little more context, but I feel so distanced from this narrator, I don't know what to think.

    The action that follows is great, but I'm stuck on that opening. I think following up that first line will really help. Then you can break off the current scene in the car into its own paragraph.

  11. Once again, I'm confused. I find the first two lines smart and witty but confusing. How do these lines relate to the rest of the opening? Why is there a distance in the writing? This is nice imagery but comes across as trying too hard. That stated, I'll acknowledge the skill and ability to craft those lines!

    Also, if she doesn't know what wave means, wouldn't she ask immediately? If she delays because she doesn't want to appear ignorant, then state her intention.

    Intriguing but I have no idea where this is going.