Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February Secret Agent #29

TITLE: The Twitter Affair
GENRE: Women's Fiction

If Maisy Parker was anyone, she was the girl in the horror movie. What remained to be seen was whether she was the sacrificial girl-lamb, throat slit; blood, red and fake, staining her short shorts or the girl who survives, torn, bruised, both more and less certain of her strength. When Maisy closed her eyes in the darkness and allowed the movie to play behind the protective screen of her eyelids, she was younger than the calendar-fast spread of days which had deposited her in her thirty-sixth year. She was babysitter young. More than that, she was the actual babysitter, fifteen, possibly sixteen, left alone and unprotected. Charged with guarding other people’s children.

The children are unimportant to the story, a subterfuge used to strand her in a dark house. The movie starts the moment she whispers goodnight to the small forms, eyes heavy and sleep-drunk, bodies almost indistinguishable underneath cotton candy duvets. She pulls their door shut and it snicks tight where metal conjoins with wood. The silence of the empty house hangs heavy in the air as she descends the stairs leading to the textbook Pottery Barn perfection of the living room. The noiselessness, the complete absence of sound is like a substance, the secret ingredient in a magic potion, something to be mixed in a beaker then sipped from a cup.

Maisy moves through the stillness like an invited cat burglar, foot-light, without a sound. She slinks around the coffee table, her hot-pink Hello Kitty claws curled up in tight little fists.


  1. I was definitely intrigued by the first line- mainly because I feel like that girl too. I'd keep reading, but I'm a bit confused- is this a flashback? Is she thirty-six and thinking back to her babysitter years, or is she currently actually babysitting?

    Lovely, lovely imagery, though- love your 'subterfuge' line.

  2. This feels very literary. I love the first line and the first few lines after that. I think then maybe I get a little tired of inner-exposition and want a little action? Not sure. But love the first line, and enjoying the voice.

  3. I agree with the others, this reads very literary. There are a lot of images flitting through my head though and it's difficult for me to feel grounded in the story yet.

    You've definitely caught my interest, however! I'd read on!

  4. Caveat: not a women's fiction reader.

    I liked the start to this--though that long sentence could have been broken up for better effect.

    But then when we start the whole horror-movie babysitting analogy, I'm confused as to whether she's remembering or just imagining. And if we have to take this long to imagine an analogy, then I'm afraid the impact of it loses me.

    This doesn't tell me anything about the story or the character... just about how horror movies start.

    The writing is nice though, there are some really good turns of phrase in there.

  5. I have to agree with Heather. If the babysitter/horror scene was an analogy, think the first sentence would cover it.

    This definitely has a literary feel. Some of your lines are exquisite. In a couple places, though, I felt pulled out of the story by the turn of words. For example, I think you could cut the last sentence in half and still give us the feel of the silence.

    Realize this is given from someone who does not read women's fiction as a norm and who writes very simplistically.

  6. This entry definitely stands, the writer is doing something different here and I get a cool, creepy vibe. I'm not sure what's going on, but I'm assuming this character is not at all stable, and it's slightly terrifying what she might be up to; reverting into this imagined movie might reveal something truly sinister--just make sure you ground her in reality pretty quick to give readers a sense of whether she is mentally unstable, or escaping to her mind for a specific reason. I see potential here, but the excerpt is so short it's tough to make out what any of this leads to.

  7. I agree with Heather. I'm not really sure what's happening. Is this a flashback? I wasn't sure who the main character was. It seemed like it's Maisy(?)

    While I see potential in the writing, in the end I just didn't feel engaged in the story.