Wednesday, February 11, 2015

First Kiss #5

GENRE: Mystery

Okay. Is there anything else I could do?”

“Yes, there is.” Marty leaned over before I realized what he was going to do and kissed me lightly on the mouth. “But it may be a bit early in our relationship.”

He got up holding the bag of fish remains he was going to have tested for poison.

I took a deep breath and followed him to the door. “I have another idea,” I said.

He turned, his eyebrows raised.

I pretended to be in deep thought to cover a rushing tide of feeling. “I’ll call on each funeral director in town and ask him to check his records for the names and causes of death for men ages eighteen to twenty-five who died in the year I was born.”

“There you go, Detective…uh…what did the bartender call you tonight?”

“Brenda Starr. He said it’s some cartoon character from the fifties, a glamorous newspaper reporter.” I tossed my head and flicked my hair in what I hoped was a parody of glamour.

“Goodnight, Detective Brenda Starr.” He put the arm not holding the fish around me and gave me another light kiss. He held me close to him for a few seconds, keeping his face near mine as he looked in my eyes. Then he let go and was out the door. I could feel Othello and Rigoletto bump against my legs as I stared out the door.

“Boys,” I whispered to the dog and cat. “Did you catch that?”


  1. For some reason, the combined bag of fish and innocent first kiss(es) really amused me. They really shouldn't go together, but you absolutely made them work. I also love that she confers with the pets afterword. It seems like this would be a light-hearted and very fun read. I think this scene works very well.

    I do, wonder, however, if she responds more to the shock of the first kiss while talking to the pets. He kisses her unexpectedly, which she seems to want, but she doesn't really respond to it. There doesn't appear to be any tension build up or inner emotional rush. It's a cute scene, but doesn't really have much passion.

  2. Rather than, "I have another idea," consider, "I've thought of something." She asks him for ideas, and he gives her an unrelated (I think?) action. With the second choice the reader pauses and wonders if the "thought" will have to do with kissing or crime (and we kind of hope it's kissing).

    I like the juxtaposition of kissing and utilitarian fish guts. You wouldn't generally connect fish guts with chemistry, but there you have it. The passive voice cut into that a little though. See if you can reword the sentence to make it active voice. I bet that streamlines the touch of a twisty-turny feeling.

    A couple missing commas ("going to do, and" "around me, and")

    You've got enough of a visual with "tossed my head" t be able to ditch "flicked my hair", because all I can see is her giving her hair a thump, like the kind you get when you lose a game.

    Dig the pets, names!

  3. I really like this. The last line of dialogue is so sweet.

    Overall, I would like to see more emotional reactions woven through. For instance, near the beginning, is that the first time he's ever kissed her? He makes a cute joke about it, but we don't get any of her reaction.

    The phrase "that he was going to have tested for lead poison" breaks up the rhythm. Presumably we already know that's what is going to happen, and if we don't, then see if you can establish that outside of the framework of this romantic exchange.

    You build this great moment of deliberate misunderstanding when she says "I have a better idea," but I want more of an emotional description of her reaction to his raised eyebrows than "a rush of feeling." That's a bit too vague.

    And people should know who Brenda Starr is. You are not responsible for explaining every literary allusion. Plus, the explanation breaks the rhythm. Also, if she's parodying Brenda Starr to cover her nerves and deflect the intensity of the moment, with him so close to her, then I'd like to see this conveyed more overtly. That's such a true to life response, to make a silly joke to cover up emotions then inwardly cringe at it (for me, anyway!).

    The description of the second kiss is cute, and I like it. It would be nice to get her emotions somewhere in there, though. It's all description of movement, but it's sweet how it goes down. Maybe this might be a chance to get her interpretation of how he feels? Is he nervous at all? Does he seem happy that he's finally kissed her? Pleased with himself? I just want some emotion.

    That last line - swoon.

    I like your characters so much! I really would like to read more of this! Great job!

  4. Oh, this is fun! I really like the casual way you handled the beginning of their relationship while they talk about the mystery.

  5. Oh, this is fun! I really like the casual way you handled the beginning of their relationship while they talk about the mystery.