Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September Secret Agent #48

Title: Chronicles of a Hollywood Source
Genre: NA Urban Fantasy

I should join a carnival, because I’m forever a freak.

It probably wouldn't be too hard to do, now that I'm graduating. And I'm eighteen, so I don't need permission; I can tell my parents I'm at college, as planned. Granted, it's not Hollywood and the fame I've wanted, but it's kind of acting. All I'll have to do is find a carnival, tell them about my visions of the future and they'll welcome me as one of their own. Probably have me bunk with a bearded lady—

“Hello? Earth to Lexi!” my best friend, Taryn turns down the music. “Your eyes are all wide, like someone caught doing something naughty and you haven’t said anything in about five minutes. What are you thinking about?”

It takes a second to grasp reality again. I’m in Taryn’s car, on the way to our school, West Palm Prep. With the top down on her blue convertible, the southern Florida air doesn’t feel damp and sticky like it usually does, the cool ocean breeze a nice change. It’s hot as it always is in June, though, so she cranks up the a.c. to combat it.

Even with the volume lowered, “So Good” by B.o.B. still blares. She’s looking at me while steering with a cup of iced coffee in one hand.

Do I always wear a face when considering my visions? “Sorry, I was, uh, thinking about who will get all my stuff after you kill us. Can you at least pretend to watch the road?”


  1. Hiya!

    LOVE the voice in this. There are only a few places where it jarrs, but honestly it really draws me in in the way that urban fantasy is meant to. Your first line is classic and I love how you instantly set up the supernatural element so that we can move on with the story.

    I'm not convinced by Taryn's dialogue, which feels stilted compared to your fantastic voice from Lexi's perspective. I think the line 'Earth to Lexi!' feels like a teenage cliché, and The line 'Your eyes are all wide, like someone caught you doing something naughty' doesn't sound like something someone would say. I would either cut 'like someone doing something naughty' or replace it with something more natural.

    I'd definitely read on if Taryn's dialogue was fixed, and I'm wary of UF's normally, so really good work there. Good luck!

  2. Hi there,

    Intriguing premise and I like your opening sentence. I have a couple of critiques though--one, I agree with Vicorva. Taryn's dialogue seems a little 'off'. Maybe because it's just such a long sentence--I'm not sure exactly, but I think it could be improved. I also got tripped up on the part about the weather. There's a cool breeze, but it's hot and they need the AC. Maybe you could clarify here. Best of luck to you!

  3. Hello! I agree with Vicorva, the voice of Lexi is awesome! There are definitely places where Taryn's dialogue could be changed up a bit, but all in all I enjoyed reading and would read more. Plus It's nice reading about west palm as I grew up in jupiter ;)

  4. I agree with the others, great voice! However, I'd make your first paragraph less bulky, more punchy by reducing it to something like:

    I should join a carnival, because I’m forever a freak. All I'll have to do is tell them about my visions of the future and they'll welcome me as one of their own. Probably have me bunk with a bearded lady—

  5. Good job with the first person perspective. The flow is good with the way her musings are interrupted. It really keeps the story going. You might condense the first paragraph just a bit. I would get rid of one of the "abouts" in the opening dialogue. Very good description and I love the humor and the way she plays of her absent mindedness. This shows great promise and, as a reader, I would definitely continue to read on. Good luck!

  6. The opening sentence is very intriguing. I really like it. However, in my opinion, much of the initial excitement is lost in the second paragraph. Maybe consider deleting the whole second paragraph so that it jumps from "I should join a carnival, because I’m forever a freak." to “Hello? Earth to Lexi!”. That would keep the flow going and the reader's attention caught.

    Just a suggestion.

  7. I don't know how much this matters, but thought I would mention it. I'm pretty sure the "In a car thinking" is one of the cliche opener's (less common than the waking up and looking in the mirror ones) That being said, I think it would be fine if you jumped into the dialogue sooner and maybe cut out the obvious "this is my story paragraph" But the first line is great and I love the circus stuff.

    It's a hard choice on whether or not to take out that second paragraph and feed those lines in somewhere else.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. I had a hard time connecting to this one, and I think it comes down to the dialogue — it doesn’t feel authentic to me for just-out-of-high-school kids. The ruminating in a driving car is one of the more cliche openers — not as bad as waking up, though. Just make sure you keep the opening (if you have it in the car) as something fresh and give it a unique spin so it doesn’t feel quite so cliche.

    The last paragraph feels a bit odd to me, the mention of considering her visions. Why would she have a weird look on her face just from thinking? It’d be something, I feel, would be easy to interrupt a train of thought, rather than, say, a vision.

    It’s something I’d read on a bit to see how the visions play into the title of this.

  10. This is done well and written nicely, but I just don’t buy the setup.

    It seems we have a girl who wants to be an actress but believes she can’t be because of her visions which make her a freak. However, she wants to be an actress so badly, she’s willing to admit she has this freakish ability if it will get her a job at a circus, which is acting of a sort.

    If that’s true, why wouldn’t she head straight for CA or NY and get herself on a talk show? She gets instant recognition as everyone debates whether she’s a fake or fraud, and she uses that to get her foot in the acting door.

    Or, why doesn’t she just try to be an actor anyway and keep her visions a secret?

    Or, if she’s willing to expose her ability to circus people, why is she even worried about it at all?

    Or, if the problem is that her parents want her to go to college and she’d prefer to go to Hollywood and be an actress, why wouldn’t she just go? If she’s willing to run off and join a circus, she should be willing enough to run off to Hollywood to follow her dream. If there’s something stopping her, besides her visions, let us know.

    It may be that I’m just not getting your opening, but to me, it seems like there isn’t a problem. If she is going to end up in Hollywood soon anyway, perhaps that would be the place to start the story. You can get in her age, her visions, her desire to be an actress, and the fact that she feels like a freak, anywhere.