Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April Secret Agent #4

TITLE: Porcelain Monkeys
GENRE: YA Science Fiction/Fantasy

Callie paced furiously back and forth, and tried to ignore the stares as people trickled in to the open-air marketplace on the outskirts of Perpetuity City. She wiped her cheeks dry and snatched a rusty red leaf as it fell from a maple tree, then crushed it to dust in her hand. As if falling leaves actually meant winter was approaching. The endless autumn was almost as disturbing as her love life.

Moments earlier, Callie had been at Blacwyn’s, delivering his weekly pile of freshly pressed white t-shirts, and anticipating an amorous welcome. She threw open his bedroom door and instantly regretted it. 

 He wasn’t alone.

She blinked into the dimly lit room. The white sheet was not enough to conceal the long, slender figure that clung to Blacwyn like a leech, and it didn’t hide the luxurious spray of black hair on his adjoining pillow.

Callie stood, frozen, in the doorway. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to scream or cry, but slinking away without being seen was an option until the woman sat up. She took a long, appraising look at Callie. She smiled.

Blacwyn wasn’t just cheating again: This was a betrayal. A betrayal with the worst possible person.
She dropped the stack of Blacwyn’s crisply folded white t-shirts that were tucked under her left arm, and ran.

13 comments:

  1. Hi! Honestly and respectfully, I think this opening starts in the wrong place. Instead of re-living it, I think it'd be stronger if the scene opens with Callie actually walking in on her crush with another woman. That way we experience the tension / pain alongside her, and the pacing goes from o to 60 within the first few sentences! Instead of hinting at the worst possible person, I'd just say it to increase the tension, unless it's part of the plot that needs to be revealed later. Otherwise, the set-up makes me feel bad for the main character right from the very start, and my heart goes out to her! I want to read more to see how she reacts / what she does.

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    1. Thanks so much, Ali. Great suggestions!

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  2. I agree with Ali - I'd reverse the sequence of events. Have that first moment be slowed way down, frozen in shock, then follow Callie and her thoughts outside, then trickle in the backstory so we know why Callie's still doing laundry for a cheating scumbag like Blacwyn!!

    Obviously my interest is grabbed as a reader, so you've got that going for you in a major way - but I'd switch the timing.

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  3. I also agree with Ali. Through all but the last sentence of the opening paragraph I was in the mindset of adventure and intrigue. Why was the narrator in a public place if she didn't want to be noticed? Did she have to be there? Was she looking for someone? Waiting for a contact? I was with her in this space, in the season.

    Then came her love life, which felt ... odd. Ali's suggestion might solve this.

    You did a great job of setting up Blacwyn's character, so I also agree with Audrey.

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  4. I was a little confused by the time line of the story. I kept wondering why she was crying in the first place if she hadn't arrived at Blacwyn's yet. Then I wondered if she went there, saw them, left and cried and then went back. But when I read it again, I understood that she was remembering what had happened.

    I don't think the flashback is needed. The way it was set up may make it hard for the reader to follow and then they'll have to reread like I did and some may lose interest if they're confused right off the bat. I would start with the second paragraph and then put the first paragraph as the last paragraph so it'd flow better and to showcase her pain a little more.

    Thanks for entering!

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    Replies
    1. Good feedback...pretty sure I had it without the flashback in an earlier version, and I agree it's much simpler that way.

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    2. Rewrite! Thank you, I like this much better:

      Callie shifted the pile of freshly pressed white t-shirts beneath her left arm and grasped the door handle to Blacwyn's apartment. A thrill of anticipation tickled her spine as she pictured the thin fabric clinging to his chest like a second skin when he entered the arena for battle. She tiptoed across the living room, smiling with anticipation. He'd be grateful, and amorous. Callie threw open his bedroom door and instantly regretted it.

      He wasn’t alone.

      She blinked into the dimly lit room. The silk sheet was not enough to conceal the long, slender figure that clung to Blacwyn like a leech, and it didn’t hide the luxurious spray of black hair on his adjoining pillow.
      Callie stood, frozen, in the doorway. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to scream or cry, but slinking away without being seen was an option until the woman sat up. She took a long, appraising look at Callie. She smiled.

      Blacwyn wasn’t just cheating again: This was a betrayal. A betrayal with the worst possible person.

      She dropped the stack of t-shirts, and ran.

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    3. Good rewrite. Much better! :)

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  5. Great suggestions, thanks everyone!

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  6. I agree with everyone else. Since you're showing us the cheating scene anyway, show it as it happens, rather than telling us about it after the fact. It will always be more compelling in real time. A general rule of thumb - no flasbacks in chapter one, certainly not on the first page. You want to involve the reader in what's happening now, not what happened before. And great title. Very intriguing!

    Perhaps also change rusty red leaf to rust red leaf because the leaf isn't rusty, it's rust colored.

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  7. I don't know why we have one paragraph of current action and then a flashback, when just the flashback itself is much more interesting. There is nothing so compelling in that first paragraph that it needs to lead your novel!

    Interesting set up, I hope you reveal who the woman is, and Blackwyn's reaction, very soon!

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