Thursday, May 2, 2019

First 100 #16

TITLE: Elite Justice
GENRE: Adult Mystery

According to my ex-husband, I had mastered what was commonly referred to as Resting Bitch Face. This came in handy when dealing with unruly children - my own, suspects at work - I’m a Homicide Detective, and overly talkative new gym members - I loathe people when I’m on the treadmill.
With RBF firmly in place and brightly colored earbuds wedged into my ears to discourage conversation, newbies with the misfortune to hop on a machine next to me and attempt such were quickly shut down when faced with my glare up close. No shame, I’d been known to make gang members weep.


  1. I love the first line. I know the narrator is older (as opposed to YA) and she is humorous. Sometimes a first line relaxes me as a reader as if the narrator is saying, “Don’t worry, I got this.” It’s nice. In the second sentence the punctuation is not quite right. Unruly children, suspects at work, and talkative gym members form a comma delimited list. I’m a homicide detective is an aside that you would separate with em-dashes. In the next paragraph, I like calling it RBF and the brightly colored earbuds wedged, but then the whole discouraging conversation feels rehashed as it has already been said above. The final line is great, making gang members weep. So, overall, this is nice and shows lots of promise, but punctuation is important. I do get a sense of the snarky female detective, a character I would enjoy reading more about, I’m sure.

  2. The beginning of this is all telling and backstory. You can get away with some of this if it's woven into the action, but I wouldn't start with it.


  3. How about starting with your line..."I loathe people when I'm on the treadmill." Then build your action from there as suggested above.

  4. Other than the first sentence, I don't think the first paragraph is necessary. That can all be discovered through context. I like the attitude, though! I think if it gets to the action sooner I'd keep reading.

  5. cbchannell@yahoo.comMay 3, 2019 at 1:58 AM

    Your voice is strong. I have the sense of a well-rounded character almost immediately. However, your rhythm is staccato. This can be jarring and doesn't need to be at the introduction. Also, as this is a mystery, you want to keep the jarring feel for those high-tension moments; otherwise, you'll fatigue your reader. Again, though, strong voice. Let it speak.

  6. The voice here is consistent with the hard-ass I imagine the character enjoys being.

    I did have a hard time understanding what was happening in the first paragraph, until I realized the hyphen (which I didn't initially read as an em-dash) wasn't connecting all the words following it until the next hyphen. IOW, I was reading "unruly children - my own, suspects at work" as if the suspects were also unruly children. I'd suggest using parentheses instead of the hyphen/em-dash [eg:"unruly children (my own), etc] for more clarity. I was also thrown by the use of "such", at first thinking it referred to an attempt "to hop on a machine".

    So, while the voice and the characterization are strong, I'm afraid the parsing problems would keep me from reading on.

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