Wednesday, January 28, 2015

First Five Sentences #24

GENRE: New Adult Mystery

Jen hated this part. She swished her hips from side to side and sashayed stage right.

"Yeah, baby. Show us what you got," someone yelled from the inky blur beyond the footlights.

Out of sync with the act, the homemade soundtrack finally shifted from faux thunder to the techno backbeat Marv liked to have playing between illusions.


  1. Without actually telling us where the scene is set, readers automatically know where we are and can easily fill in the rest of the scene. One thing that threw me off from my assumption of the setting is the mention of illusions. Before that point, I thought it was obvious this is set in a strip club, but with the mention of the word illusions, I wonder if the person on stage is actually a magician. If my perceptions are what you intended, good job. If this truly is a strip club, you've set it up well, but you may want to rethink the word that tripped me up.

  2. I too thought it was a strip club at first. Only at the end of the first paragraph did I realize she is a magician's assistant. I'm a little thrown why she hates being a magician's assistant. I guess i'll have to read on to find out.

  3. Great work! Since "sashay" means to walk with hips swaying, I would either keep the "swishing hips" or the "sashayed", but not both. Good luck to you!

  4. I agree that immediately thought she was in a strip club. I think you could work in something about the illusions in the first or second sentence so we don't feel thrown later.

  5. The tone feels New Adult to me, and the situation draws me in. I was certain this was a strip club because of the heckler, but I'm okay with being surprised to find that it's a magic act instead. I agree that sashayed is redundant, and perhaps not NA. I would read on to find out why she's in this awkward situation.

  6. I like the way this opens, but I almost feel like I want more here, even in the first two sentences - something that helps me get a better image of what's happening, like describing her swishing in her magician's assistant costume, and maybe part of what she hates is the way it fits on her (i'm guessing badly). This would help ground us more quickly in what's happening, rather than going 'oh' in the last couple sentences.

    I really like this intro though. It sounds nice and seedy, with the 'yeah baby' dialogue, it's great. (I love trying to write seedy atmospheres). I can picture this sort of decrepit stage with condom wrappers gathering dust in the corners.


  7. I, too got "strip club" from this at first, until the word "illusions". Then I went back and checked the title. D'oh!

    But it's not uncommon for magic acts to be performed in seedy places (or so I've seen on TV, so you know it's real), and this definitely has an off-off-off the strip Vegas kinda feel. So good job setting the scene, and yes, I would keep reading!

  8. "Yeah baby, show us what you've got" definitely conjures a strip club setting and it pulled me completely out of the story when I realised I wasn't where I thought I was.

    I'd be inclined to change it to something more magician oriented - "You got a rabbit hiding under that skirt, baby" - I'm sure you can do better than this example - but hopefully you get what I mean. Take the sexual connotation out of the words, but still leave it heckling.

    The rest was great and I would definitely keep reading.

  9. Nice job. I wanted to be grounded in the scene from the beginning, but wasn't. Maybe have her pulling at her costume is all you need. Also, with 'footlights' and the sounds we know it's a show place.

    The seedy atmosphere adds to the story, IMHO.

  10. I also got strip club, even with illusions. I just assumed it was a term for the dancing she was doing. Hey, who am I to question the art of striptease? If it's actually a magic show, I think even one word prior to illusions could clear that up.