Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October Secret Agent #34

TITLE: How Ugly Macey Greenwald got Sexy and Got a Man
GENRE: Contemporary Woman's Fiction

Macey usually got home precisely at five-forty-five, feet aching from a set of red velvet heels that were a birthday gift from her sister and head aching from her boss who is a jerk, but none of that happened today. Well her boss is still a jerk, but she had worn the blue heels today, instead of the red ones and as it turned out that made all the difference. For one thing they hurt a lot less than the red ones, but more importantly Mat had noticed the change.

He said, "Hey are those new shoes?"

Macey blushed and said, "Why yes they are."

Unfortunately that's as far as the conversation went with Mat however Peter had asked her out on a date and that's why Macey came home especially early today. She parked the Toyota her dad gave her last year for Christmas in the driveway and trotted into her apartment with a big smile on her face. Kicking her heels off at the door, she strode into the kitchen and made a sandwich before jumping into the shower. Her pits were very hairy because she hadn't had the opportunity to get laid for at least a year and Macey firmly believed in not shaving unless she had a man, which was remarkably hard since she kind of looked like a man. She fingered the razor while hot water splashed over her chest.

"Is he worth it?" She said. "Well I might as well shave my mustache too."


  1. Though the content was amusing, the writing seemed awkward.

  2. Agree with B. Like what's going on, but was kinda hard to get through.

  3. I agree with the comments above. Also, I think there are some grammatical issues.

    I think Macey could be an interesting character with an intersting story, but I can't get past the grammatical errors and somewhat awkward wording/flow.

  4. You spend the whole first paragraph setting up for Mat noticing the change in Macey's appearance, and then he just disappears. Does he need to be mentioned at all? There are also some tense issues going on here that are pretty jarring.

  5. The tense here definitely needs some work. Also, you should try to start with what is happening NOW and not what happened (or didn't happen) before now. It's better to flash back after the reader is settled in the situation. In this case, this means you would start with her parking her car at home and then explain why she is shaving in the shower.

  6. There are major grammar issues here that would have stopped me at the first sentence if it were published work. You need to work on your verb tenses, run-on sentences and commas. Especially the commas: the way it is right now feels to me like a breathless monologue, and that's not fun reading.

    You don't seem to like your main character at all. You call her ugly in the title and make fun of her appearance towards the end of the excerpt too. If you don't like her, why should I, and why should I care if she gets a man?

    Not hooked.

  7. I'm bothered by the logic of not shaving till you get a man. It seems counter productive if your goal is a date - it's a small detail, but I just remember dating all to well and it keeps me from getting in the main character's head because it just doesn't make sense to me. But, there are all sorts of quirky MC's in fiction, so maybe not an impossible sell, just my own little hangup. Also, the red velvet heels sound really skanky, so I'm trying to figure out *where* this girl works so that she can wear those to work...

  8. Dittos to the other comments. Good content, writing needs smoothing.

  9. I agree with the don't shave your legs when you are dating and you want to make sure you don't "get involved" with someone too soon.

    If you want to "get involved" then you would shave.

    I really don't get the point and why does she have a mustache?

  10. You crack me up. I can see this getting nutty. I like your Macey in a kind of half-baked Lucille Ball way.
    Mat however .... should be// Mat. However, etc. (new sentence and easier to read.
    Hooked, because I just know she's going to fall on her face a few times and probably end the world as we know it.

  11. The concept seems entertaining, but I have a lot of the same problems as the other readers. Grammar problems (switching between present and past tense in the first few paragraphs, run-ons, using "said" when you mean "asked").

    I also wondered at some of the same things as the others. Why avoid shaving if you're hoping to get a man? Where on earth does she work where red velvet heels are work-appropriate?

    I'm also left with a sense that she's an unproductive character. Her sister buys her shoes, her dad buys a car. She can't be moved to shave unless she has a sure thing planned.

    I'm sorry--not hooked--but wish the best of luck to you!

  12. A lot of run-on sentences. And needs more suspense/conflict. Keep revising.

  13. The title turned me off, but I thought I'd see what the story entailed. The grammatical issues were too cumbersome to overlook, so I went back to the title. Why does someone have to fit into societal definitions of pretty to be sexy? If the heroine has to lose weight and quit wearing glasses, you'll have some major issues.

    You show a glimmer of humor and I think with a new set up and title, you'll be able to get this story out there. I highly recommend an editor though.

    Best of luck

  14. I had to force myself to even finish this. The narrative is full of long, clunky and unimportant sentences. The dialogue is still (and it's only 2 lines).

    Who cares about who gave her the shoes - and do we need to know in teh first 250 words what she drives and who gave it to her.

    Also, 6 words - How Stella Got Her Groove Back. I wouldn't pick this up off the shelf with that title - then I'd put it down after even glancing at that first chapter.

  15. I love this. Granted I wrote it, so I'm probably not allowed to say so.

  16. As Claire said, there is indeed a glimmer of humor, and that's a good start. Having said that, I think that it would help tremendously to join a critique group and a writing workshop. You'd be amazed at all the constructive feedback you'll get. (I wish I still had my critique group in NYC and the Gotham Writer's Workshop).

    More suggestions for improvement:

    Definitely lose the title.

    You don't always have to use dialogue tags. It's okay to write:
    "Why, yes they are." Macey blushed.

    Tell us what kind of sandwich she made.

    No need to mention who gave her the shoes and the car.

    Good luck!

  17. OMG, I'm still laughing over the last line. Macey sounds a bit crazy, and I like her.

    The first para about the red shoes went a bit too long. Perhaps shorten it to: Not wearing her regular red shoes to work made all the difference. Or something like that.

    Unfortunately that's as far as the conversation went with Mat(.) However, Peter had asked her out on a date(,) and (she left work early to prepare.)

    This needs some work, but it made me laugh, so I'd read more.

  18. I won't go into the technical stuff since that's already been covered. I thought the run on sentences kind of worked for this type of story and chalked them up to style. The big issue for me was that it wasn't serious enough to be taken seriously, or funny enough to be taken as humor. It was just very middle of the road.

    I did love your last line. That one did make me laugh!

  19. Women NEVER shave their mustaches. Wax is the only way to go to avoid the daily shave. It's very upsetting to me that I know this bit of info.

    Best of luck

  20. So, I think that the commenters above have addressed some good points but I'll add some of my own here.

    One important one is that I don't think you've made Macey ultra likeable. For me that's almost an automatic no in women's fiction. If I can't relate to the character in some way, it would be hard fro me to fall in love with the material.

    Another thing is that I think there is a huge element of escapism in books. Especially in romance-esque books. People want the characters to be flawed yes, but to take them out of the hum-drumness of their own lives. I'm not sure macey does that.

    Also, you build to this big point about how Mat noticed the change of shoes, and then follow it up with two lines saying the exact same thing. I feel that one piece could have been left out.

    I think there are a lot of run-on sentences and it's all mashed into one paragraph and it makes it hard to follow.

    Personally, I'm not much of a my pits are hairy kind of gal, but I understand this is Macey, but again, she just doesn't really appeal to me. But I do agree with the commenter who said you wouldn't shave a mustache. You would wax. Don't be upset, that thought popped into my head too.

    I think you've got a style here that's your own and there's humor which I really like. I think a critique group can help you fine tune some of the grammatical/writing issues and also will be a sounding board for what people may or may not respond to.Z

  21. There's a lot of information in the big second paragraph that I don't feel we need to know on the first page. The fact she drives a Toyota, and her Dad gave it to her for Christmas and that she made a sandwich are details that might be ok later in the book, but on the first page you need every word to try to hook the reader. If I had picked this up in a bookstore I wouldn't have got to the bit about Macey in the shower, debating about whether to shave. This is the unique part of your first page. Without knowing what happens next it's hard to tell, but I'd start with Macey in the shower, getting ready for her date. This will make sure the humour of your piece isn't lost in mundane details.