Wednesday, January 23, 2019

January Secret Agent #31

TITLE: Conventional Magic
GENRE: YA Magical Realism

I promised Aunt Jodie I wouldn’t hex anyone this Con.

But it was very tempting. Especially when one second a red shirt Trekkie, can be hitting on you in Klingon and the next minute he’s trailing after a pink Power Ranger, leaving you with a towering mass of boxes in your arms and a closing door.

Even though the Con hadn’t officially started, it warmed my heart when vendors arrived in cosplay. It lent a certain energy to set up day. Half of me wished I was outfitted in my working cosplay but wings make it extremely hard to unload all the boxes and set up the pergola all by myself.
However, my heart cooled a little when people forgot the art of common decency; like opening up doors for people whose arms are laden down with heavy objects. Those people were in danger of being hexed.

A slight breeze of AC hit my face. I twitched my nose and the slowly closing door flew open.

“Psh, who needs help,” I said to no one in particular, flashing my vendor badge to the Con security team.

They waved me through without a glance. I wasn’t a weapons vendor and therefore to them posed less of a threat. It’s amazing what a smile can do.

“What’s with the door?”

“Been doing that all day. Probably the wind.”

No, no my dear fellow, not wind. Witch. I’d forgive him for not understanding, just this once.

 “Hey Gwen, hold on!”

My witchy senses tingled in a new alert.


  1. I had to read the first line a couple times. Then understood the context later on...perhaps a clearer opening line would be: 'I promised Aunt Jodie I wouldn’t hex anyone this year's ComicCon.' (or the title of your Con)

  2. I love the opening line! The mention of hexing draws me in, and the reference to a “Con” makes me read on to find out what it is.

    Remove the comma after Trekkie?

    I LOVE how the MC wants to hex people with bad manners!

    The voice is candid and fun. I really enjoyed reading this.

  3. What a great hook! Love the idea of a witch as a con vendor.

    Small thing: I'd add an 'at' in the first line ('at this Con'). I get that it's probably an annual event, so saying 'this Halloween' is natural, but cons are location AND time based. Just a small thing that will improve the flow of the first line!

    I'm worried that the magic nose twitch is a little too Bewitched--HOWEVER, I haven't read enough witch stories to know if this is an accepted general trope now. So it could be fine :b

    The line about about 'it's amazing what a smile can do' makes me wonder if she's smuggling in contraband, but because there's been no other indication of it, nor of her being worried about getting in (other than physically making it through the doors), makes it ring oddly. The security should have no reason to stop her...

    And finally, paragraphs 2-4 are a bit confusing with regards to the action that's happening, and the language/imagery slightly repetitive. Maybe try writing them fresh, now that you know the character and the set-up, rather than line-editing (that always helps me).

    Hope that helps! I'm always a fan of witch stories!

  4. There's like 4 references to the MC feeling somehow victimized by others not helping her with her heavy boxes. I would prefer if she was not feeling so entitled to others helping her, especially as she is a witch, can't she lighten her own boxes or something?

    I also agree about the similarity to Bewitched.

    Hopefully this character can move on to bigger and more important things and I might get interested!

  5. I liked the opening two sentences. They definitely got me interested in reading this entry. I would suggest clarifying things a little. Perhaps make a specific convention name. I assumed that's where the MC was since I'm a con-goer, but others might not immediately make that connection.

    I think you could slow the pacing down a little. I assumed the MC was in the midst of the Con, but then it hadn't started yet.

    Clarification is my biggest suggestion. Make me feel like I'm at this convention. What's it for? Is it a broader type like Comicon? Does it focus on a specific genre? I also don't have a clear sense of the MC. More sensory and personality.

    This is definitely off to a good start.

  6. So well done!! This is a great example for other folks! You take your time, bringing your point home in time without beating us over the head.
    This is super minor, but Conventional Magic may be a little too close to Practical Magic and I’m not sure if twitching the nose may be just slightly too Bewitched for editors who are looking for originality, but these are minor quibbles and wouldn’t hinder anyone requesting the full.
    Very cute tone. I have little to add. It’s well done. Please ignore some of the other comments.

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