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Garcia and Gracie A - 2/3

by BellaRoma

II: The Smartest Plotters Work Alone


Anyone who knew Garcia used the same vocabulary to describe her: larger than life, bubbly, chatty…. So far during today’s briefing, she’d kept very much to herself and barely made eye contact with me once. I’d hardly even realised that she could be this quiet, let alone when it was obvious to her that something was going unsaid.

Normally when she was unable to speak, you could practically see Penelope swelling with tension, as if she were holding her breath, not her tongue. Why wasn’t our promise driving her to distraction? There was no way this wouldn’t bring it to the forefront of her mind. Every other time we’d talked of it, she had spent a good five minutes glancing over her shoulder at me afterwards, whenever she thought I wasn’t looking.

Nothing calmed Penelope’s nerves like having a witty response prepared, so I swallowed at the thought of whatever she was certainly cooking up to throw at this problem. Worse still was the fact that she would attack it from an angle that no one would think of until she was done.

I believed for just a second that she might follow convention and protocol when she raised a hand to signal Hotch. “With your permission, sir, I’d like to make Grace lead analyst on this case. You can spare her in the field, can’t you? It’s the next logical step in her training as shadow technical analyst.”

“I think we’ll manage fine without her in the field,” replied Hotch. “In fact, you might need the extra pair of hands more than we do. What do you think, Grace?”

“No!” My hands struck the table with the rattle of dozens of black wiry bangles on either arm shifting. Wincing, I shook the shooting pain of the impact off with much the same sound. “Don’t remove me –”

I had attracted every gaze in the room, but only Penelope’s knowing scrutiny kindled annoyance. How could the innocent confounded looks of the others be aggravating? Realising I was on my feet, I sat back down, cringing. I was sure my cheeks were warmer than the coffee left in my cup at this point.

“Grace?” probed Morgan. “What’s up?”

“You know, sometimes we forget that you’re just nineteen, and might need a little time…” added Prentiss, whose round-eyed look seemed to suggest that she wanted to reach across and squeeze my shoulder in sympathy, except Penelope was in the way. Her typically shoulder-length dark hair made even the slight tilt of her head obvious.

The joke’s on her, though, I thought coldly. She has nothing but the illusion of ‘understanding’, and no idea how much better off she is for it.

“I’m fine. Did I smudge my eyeliner or something?” It was instinct to dab under my eye with a finger, to see what came off. And nothing. If I got truly emotional, the as yet unbroken kohl line would be ruined. All of my make-up would. “Pen, I, um…. I’m very grateful for the offer – you have every right to ask – but I would prefer to be working in the field.”

“No, what I have a right to is my shadow analyst when I need her,” she argued back. “Not to mention this is for your benefit as much as mine.”

“Do you really think I care what’s in it for me?” No, she couldn’t believe that, surely. We knew each other well enough. “I’m not spending the case holed up! You might feel safe surrounded by walls and computers. Good for you! Say I contribute as TA all you want, but when you always seem to have things under control, my job becomes an attempt to be useful, between waiting and keeping up with you.”

“There are so many facets to this case! That means widening the search for the undiscovered victims, sifting through any and every type of record,” Penelope soon became quite animated, looking about her with similar vigour to make sure she didn’t hit me or Prentiss during her gesticulations. She filled her personal space, and then some, with the billowing of her loose chiffon sleeves. “It means paper trails and common denominators, all of which might answer one or two questions, and I’m sure present far more before we can even say ‘next lead –’” With a deep breath, she halted her rant. “Help me out… please. I’m only asking you to do what you signed up for. No more.”

She tucked a few stray pink-streaked blonde curls out of sight behind her ear and fuchsia glasses frames, nibbling her lower lip. The progress bar on a significant search would produce a very similar effect, as she reclined in front of her digital command centre during an investigation.

Penelope cocked her head towards a silent but puzzled looking Doctor Reid. “What’s eatin’ ya, Boy Wonder?” she drawled, her relaxed dialect now showing through the formality of the occasion (or what was left of it).

“Garcia, I don’t understand what’s going on. You openly ask for help for the first time in my memory, then Grace refuses you! None of us can deny that under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t be happening.”


Excellently played, Pen. Commendable! I’d counted on her laying a trap, but was I crazy, or had she set it up for everyone but me? For profilers, these guys sure were well wound around her finger...

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1634 Reviews

Points: 67548
Reviews: 1634

Thu Mar 03, 2016 6:39 am
Deanie wrote a review...

Hey Bella!

Back again to review this part! I don't really have too much to say, actually because while I was reading I didn't really feel compelled to take any notes. I think you did pretty well with the actual writing of this one. I don't have any nitpicks at all to pull out and the writing flowed smoothly. We have switched person here as well, so we are in a new characters mind and seeing everything from a different perspective. I'm just so curious to see how the solving of this case and everything is going to be summed up in the third part? It doesn't seem like much for the big mystery here that is on their hands!

I think my main issue here would be that in this chapter we're seeing things from another persons perspective but I'm not really getting a change in voice or anything at all. In fact, Grace seems to think, feel and act exactly like Garcia did. Ideally, I want to be seeing a change in voice. At the moment I feel as if we weren't told there was a switch by the name at the top of the chapter I wouldn't have realised anything. At times like this you should look at the two character profiles and think of what the most distinct thing is that makes these two characters different to each other. And then amp that up in your writing in their voices and make it more blatant to the reader as well.

My other point would be that this chapter felt a bit... cloudy? I think that this is the only word I could use. Although I do understand that there is a secret brimming under the surface here which is why the reader isn't entirely sure what is going on... I felt like there needed to be a few more hints so that the reader is still engaged. It's good to have mystery and intrigue that the reader doesn't know about to get into their curiosity side... but there needs to be enough information in to keep them grounded. It's hard to perfect that balance but we need some more information being given to the reader. For example, when she mentions that Garcia is playing a game, I didn't really get it. Was Garcia aware that she would already refuse? Why did she need a public refusal?

All in all, this was a very well written, good chapter that adds to the build up and suspense. As a reader though, I felt a bit distant from the storyline and a few little things are needed to clue me in. That's all the chapter needs to make it epic!

Let me know on my wall or somehow when the third part is out. I want to know how this all goes down!

Deanie x

BellaRoma says...

Hey! Thanks, as ever :)
All I can say is that I think I want to go over this again, and it may be four parts now, to cover everything. I don't really plan on solving the case (it's not exactly about that), but I'll take your advice about hints when I go over this. Very hard to explain stuff any more without spoiling it!

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260 Reviews

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Reviews: 260

Fri Jan 29, 2016 6:49 am
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TriSARAHtops wrote a review...

Two reviews in the one day? What is this sorcery?

Hey again Bella. Here's the review part two.

I think there was a nice difference in the voices between this and Part One. It wasn't a glaring difference, and I feel like you could maybe work on making the two voices a touch more distinct, but there is a difference, which is good to see.

“Do you really think I care what’s in it for me?” No, she couldn’t believe that, surely. We knew each other well enough. “I’m not spending the case holed up! You might feel safe surrounded by walls and computers. Good for you! Say I contribute as TA all you want, but when you always seem to have things under control, my job becomes an attempt to be useful, between waiting and keeping up with you.”

I think you needed a bit more of a build-up of tension before Grace snaps at Penelope here. I kind of feels like she goes into full-on rant mode out of nowhere, which made what she was saying kind of lose its potency. How you do this can vary - you might do it through dialogue, with the dialogue getting more and more tense and angry over the course of a few lines back and forth and then have the more explosive block of dialogue. You can also do it in the narration, through the character's thoughts and actions (clenching fists, glowering, thinking angry thoughts XP), which is maybe a little trickier, but still effective.

On the same bit of dialogue, another way to make it sound a little less rant-y and out of the blue would to be to split it up. You sometimes have to be careful with big blocks of dialogue in writing, because they can feel a bit iffy unless they're done right, and when you've got a few exclamation points in there it's like insta-rant. But if you split it up, you can maintain the intensity (maybe even aid it), and not have it feel so chunky. A vague example could be:
"I'm not spending... Good for you!"
*people gawking/Penelope glaring/Grace taking a breath and making eye contact/something else to break it up*
"Say I contribute... keeping up with you."

Or something like that. I've noticed that it IF as well you have a tendency for characters to get angry and blurt out everything at once, and for characters with a lot of pent up rage like Mercy, this can work, but often you need more of a build up, or else to split it up a little. This point's gotten inordinately long, so I'll leave it there.

You've got some nice character descriptions here, which I thought were woven quite neatly through. I didn't notice the paragraphs as being too big, and I liked how generally the physical descriptions said something about the characters' personalities.

Flows quite nicely from Part One. The transition feels quite natural.

Wouldn't mind a stronger sense of place. It's not bringing the piece down, but a stronger feeling of where this is taking place, what the room both looks and feels like (which is partly to do with the room's own vibe and the atmosphere created by the moods of the people in it). Having a stronger sense of place (sense being the key word, it's kind of like creating atmosphere) would bring this up to an even better level.

I think you've created a nice sense of intrigue here. Given us enough clues so that it doesn't feel like drowning in the unknown, but at the same time most of your clues also just create more questions. I have a couple of theories (none that I'm quite committed to yet), so I'm really interested to see how this gets resolved.

There's something I can't quite put my finger on in this story yet that feels a teensy bit iffy. It's not a glaring flaw, but there's something in the style that maybe feels a little disconnected, perhaps? I think it's probably a case of you not being quite in the character's head 100% yet, so it sometimes feels a teensy bit distant. Probably something that you can work on as you edit and get more familiar with the characters and the voice.

Can't see anything else that warrants pointing out. Another strong piece of writing from you. It's really cool to see you improving with each piece, and it's a pleasure to watch your writing develop from where it was in those first couple of chapters of IF to where it is now. Keep it up, and let me know when you post part three. :)

BellaRoma says...

What are your theories (I really want to know)? I love seeing where readers think this is going...
Perhaps enspoiler them in a reply to this?

BellaRoma says...

PS. Thanks for reviewing again :)

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102 Reviews

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Reviews: 102

Thu Jan 28, 2016 8:42 pm
BellaRoma says...


I hope you guys enjoy! Just letting you know you should probably read the new draft of the first part if you haven't already.
Let me know what you think. I hope the blocks of text aren't too bulky (I was trying to add description and emotion)

PS. Now can I post the song lyrics in my teaser properly? I think they sum up what I'm saying in this work.

You say you feel like a natural person
You haven't got nothing to hide
So why do you feel imperfection
Cut like a sword in your side?

Once you have read a book you care about, some part of it is always with you.
— Louis L'Amour