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Friday, March 19, 2010

Crit Friday - First Sighting #3

“So I gather his expertise is white collar crime,” the blonde said.

“Uh-huh.” A raven-haired woman pulled back her lips to examine her gums and teeth, ruffly sleeve falling away from her arm.

“Did you know our legal expert made ‘Chicago’ magazine’s ‘Hottest Under 40?’ And honey, he can eat crackers in my bed anytime.”

“Hansel and Gretel would choke on the crackers he leaves behind.” The blonde fanned out her hand to inspect her nails.

“Hear about the fountain thing?”


“Well, he was photographed with some actress in front of Buckingham Fountain.”


“She was nude.”

Let’s hope the tour bus full of seniors wasn’t there, Lesli Jensen thought, concluding the only man they could be talking about was none other than Mr. Bling, a.k.a. Xavier Calder, her new supervisor.

“That’s why he couldn’t be on the show last time,” the blonde said. “One client threatened to go to another law firm after a tabloid ran the photo. In fact, our bad boy shouldn’t be here today, because he’s supposed to keep a lower profile. But I begged him to help us out.”

“I bet you begged,” the brunette teased.

Lesli cleared her throat, tapping the door. The two women gave her a critical once-over. Great. Her hair was probably frizzing from the humidity. Lesli straightened, tucked the coin into a side pocket. Accustomed to mom-wear of elastic waistbands and cotton tees, she felt alien in her fitted cranberry suit and three inch heels. Since the separation, she’d lost ten pounds. This morning, in front of her bathroom mirror, she almost didn’t recognize herself. “I’m, I’m a little early,” Lesli explained. “Someone said I could find Mr. Calder here.”

The blonde smiled. “Yoo-hoo! MIS-ter Calder!”

A dark, striking man emerged from the adjoining kitchen, tugging on white tissue wedged in the white collar of his dress shirt. Judging by his muscular build and military officer’s posture, he was in his late twenties or early thirties. At the opposite end of the long table was a ringing cell phone. Grabbing it, he flipped it open. ”Lindsey? All right. Les-lee.” His eyes scanned the room, landing on her.

Lesli felt like she was caught between crosshairs. He ripped off the thin white paper around his collar, impatient when the tissue stuck to his ring finger, flinging it at the wastepaper basket like a spitball. “How do women wear this gunk?” He had a husky, broadcasting-quality voice, the kind of voice that could talk the pastor’s daughter into going under the bleachers.

“We barely put any on.” The black-haired woman protested, following him to a large bathroom where he switched on the light. Lesli had a better view of the bathroom and could see it was a penthouse quality, with a sleek light fixture and two sinks sunk into granite. Still holding the cell, he plucked a wet wipe from a marble dispenser with his free hand, and removed the make-up.

In the cabinet mirror, she could see he was not peering at himself but at her, his eyes sizing her up, moving from her heels and crossed legs, over her body and lingering on her face. She wasn’t sure if it was mild sexual interest or whether he was assessing her like an opposing counsel.

JERRICA: Very nice excerpt. I have no idea what's going on, but I'm definitely intrigued. LOL!

Just a couple things: "flinging it at the wastepaper basket" - grammatically this needs to be "and flung." "Judging by his muscular build and military officer’s posture, he was in his late twenties or early thirties." I'm not sure that build and posture can give away a persons age. It's typically facial features that help us judge that. You may consider revising slightly to indicate he has that build and posture, but that something else makes her think he's in his 20s/30s. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this! Great job!

HEATHER: Thanks for submitting to Lady Scribes. I know this is only a sample of a much longer story, but the reference to the coin really threw me at the beginning. And since it isn't mentioned again I'm curious whether she tapped on the door with it.

The second question I had related to Leslie's crossed legs. I had thought she was standing. Was her ankles crossed or had she sat down? Overall, an interesting exerpt and I hope to read more of this story in the future.

AMY: I agree with Jerrica that build doesn't really give a person's age but facial features are a better indicator. I thought she was standing until the end when she crossed her legs. When the blonde called for Mr. Calder I was under the impression she was calling across the room or something and he heard her and came out of the kitchen, yet he picked a cell phone and said her name and saw she was in the same room. This kind of confused me. Overall, I thought this was good and it intrigued me.

CATHERINE: I'm with both Jerrica and Amy about the build. To me, that doesn't seem like a very good indicator of age. Also, I got a little lost during the opening dialogue sequence as to which anonymous character was saying what. Adding just a couple of dialogue tags interspersed through that section will help the reader follow the exchange a little better. At times, I felt that there was great Deep POV and characterization for Lesli's character ("Great. Her hair was probably frizzing from the humidity.") But at other times, you could improve this by removing little things like "she thought," etc. Overall, I'm curious to read more after reading this snippet. I don't entirely understand what is going on, but there is enough here to sustain my interest.

LYDIA: Coming into the middle of a scene is always so hard for me. So, it was probably really clear that she was eavesdropping on the conversation in the pages previous to what was posted, but that threw me. It could also be that I'm doped up on cold medicine right now, so take anaything I say with a grain of salt and feel free to laugh at my expense if I sound loopy. I liked the interaction between the two women and you did a great job in describing Xavier sizing Lesli up. Like the others, the sitting down/crossed legs threw me. I'd envisioned her standing, but again had we seen the previous pages, I'm sure that would have been clear. Good luck!

JULIE: Thanks for submitting your a sample of your story to us. I love the line about Hansel and Gretel. I like the dialogue between the two women. It seemed very natural and real. I did have a bit of a hard time following rhe exchange because of only seeing the women through their hair color, but I'm not sure how you could fix it other than a little more description of each woman. Overall, I enjoyed the excerpt and would defininitely be interested in reading more.

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