Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September Secret Agent #12

TITLE: Djinnocide
GENRE: Urban Fantasy

No one ever asked me if I wanted to be a genie. I never even thought such a thing was possible. I was a modern woman living in the Roaring Twenties. Against my mother’s wishes, I wore my hair and my skirts short. I drank at speakeasies. I danced with gangsters. Hell, I even smoked for petesakes. After surviving for almost two whole decades, I had certainly aged too far to believe in fairy stories anymore.

My father, Reggie, he was the dreamer in the family. He was the one always looking for the next big thing and if he could steal it? Well, even better. Me, I spent years looking for the next big party. In fact, I’d been prepping for my own birthday extravaganza when the package arrived. The shipping label said ‘ Constantinople’, but whether my thief of a dad could still be found there was anyone’s guess. Odds were he’d moved to the next port of call and his next score. At least he’d bothered to think enough of me to send a gift. After all, it’s not every day a gal turns eighteen.

“Marriageable age,” my mother mumbled at me that morning in lieu of a more sentimental greeting. She’d meant ‘well past the age of finding a husband’ if her previous birthday greetings were any indication. She wanted me married and out of the house before I could graduate high school. To Evangeline’s thinking, she should’ve had at least a couple grandchildren bouncing on her alcoholic knee by then.


  1. Have you considered starting with the package's arrival, and working in the short skirts and speakeasies and gangsters later? I don't know that you'd want to start out with a paragraph of exposition, when those things could easily be shown later on.

  2. I agree, there is a lot of flair and style here and it can be brought up a notch by beginning with the package.

  3. I agree with introducing the package a bit earlier, although not really right at the beginning (I would still need a couple of sentences of introduction). Love the setting in the twenties, very original! Just a historical note: even for the twenties, marrying at 18 was really too soon. After all, a girl was still underage at the time, becoming of age at 21, in some European countries even a little later.

  4. The first two paragraphs repeat some information (ex: she likes parties) and I feel told by them. The third paragraph is where things change for me -- even without the information from the first two paragraphs, I don't feel lost in the third and I'm happily engaged.

  5. well I am not sure I could carry on because the voice is a bit off-putting. The whole "I'm judging my parents now" in the first 250 reminds me of something more suited to YA and not to an adult reader. And, at seventeen, she is dancing and drinking and speakeasies, so it would seem she has some major character flaws of her own. And I think you might have to go back a couple hundred extra years to find eighteen as marriageable age - but not in the 1920's.

  6. I like the subject of genies, it's different and refreshing. The direction your going is intriguing, I'd read on simply because of originality. However, I do agree with the above comments as far as marriageability, slightly too much info dumping, and putting the reception of the package as your opening.
    Other than that, keep up the great ideas!

  7. Djinnocide? I alternated from "Cool" to groan in the span of two seconds and keep waffling. Can't decide if it's amazing or . . . well, something else.

    I like the tone of the first of it, but then it slides back into past perfect and doesn't really feel like much is going to happen for awhile other than filling in the blanks.

    Couple of nitpicky things: Have the father looking for "next big thing" then her "next big party." Also, with the way things fell on this page, you have four words right on top of each other that start with "gr" in the last paragraph (including two greetings).

    I like the idea from what I can gleam and would try a bit more, but would love less info dumping.

  8. I also caught a YA vibe from this, the voice definitely skews younger, though I have read genre fiction with this sort of chatty voice so it could work. I agree that the exposition at the top is a little too laid out--cool premise, but it does feel like someone describing the book rather than a story pulling me in. I think those details can be shown as the page progresses. Perhaps starting the with the third paragraph would help, then show some interaction. Cool idea overall.

  9. It felt YA to me as well, especially with a 17/18yo MC, but besides that...

    I like where you open, but I think you could shift around where it goes to cut the info-dump. For instance, if you cut "Against...Pete's sake" we wouldn't lose the voice, but would get to the package arriving more quickly. You could add some of that info back after the third paragraph, and it wouldn't need to be kept as a list. You could also cut "Odds were...score."

    You don't need to repeat pieces of info like "whether my thief of a dad" – you already told us he was a thief, in that same paragraph.

    Overall, the premise of a 20's girl becoming a genie would keep me reading for a few more pages, though this could definitely be tightened up for more impact.

  10. This is all backstory, so after 250 words, the story still hasn't started. Perhaps start with the morning of her eighteen birthday. You can get out all the same information through action and dialogue, and your story will have started, it will have movement, and you'll have the hook of what's in the package.

  11. There is a nice voice here, and some nice period touches. I’m not wild about this kind of opening – “I never thought I would X, so let me tell you about the time that X happened to me” and I think that it detracts from the protagonist’s musings about her father and her relationship with her mother, and the inciting action of the mysterious package's arrival. I would also recommend changing the title.