Wednesday, August 19, 2009

27 Secret Agent

TITLE: A Man Of Few Words
GENRE: Romance-Contemporary

“Hot younger guys ahead. A night of passion could be in your near future.” Katy pulled Susan close as they navigated up the wooden stairs of the dance club. “It’s not the night to show your crazy. Just enjoy.” As if Katy knew what went through her friend’s head, she added, “And, your daughter is fine. Your parents are the best babysitters.”

"I know. But this?” Susan agreed to a night out as a celebration of her new position as a chemistry professor. She dressed for a dinner, curling her long blond hair and donning a black skirt and light blue knit blouse that her mother thought was too low cut. Instead, Katy convinced her that a sedate meal was not a real celebration of a big step forward. She insisted on the dance club that made up a string of bars along one side of Pensacola’s Seville Square.

Katy, dressed in tight jeans and snug-fitting black sweater, flipped her blond-streaked brown hair and pirouetted on the steps. “This is celebration! It’s Eric’s idea. He’s meeting us here with friends.”

“Friends?” A yell from the lead singer drowned out her groan. Colored lights pulsed to the beat of an 80’s cover band as people danced on the brick floor. “You promised, Katy. No set ups. I'll hit you if you try.”

"I didn't even discuss it with Eric.” Katy flinched at Susan’s pinch. “I swear. Meeting the guys was his idea. He says they’re lonely. Just like you.


  1. The first two paragraphs were confusing, especially the first one. In the first paragraph you need to correct "your" should be "you're." “It’s not the night to show your crazy. There are so many people thrown into the first paragraph I got lost.

  2. I would read more. However, I had no idea who was talking at first. The first paragraph confused me.

  3. I liked it. I'd read more. I can relate some, single mother going out which is a rare occassion obviously, worried about daughter. Dreading the dating scene. I'd read more, definitely.

  4. Ugh.

    *feels a lot of sympathy for Susan*

    I'd really hate being dragged to a club and set up with 'lonely' guys.

    Yes, tentatively hooked.

  5. Okay, I'm in the tentatively hooked column also. I like Susan but didn't like the bit with Katy in the first paragraph. Suggestion, what if you kept paragraph one close to Susan, with Katy only saying, "Your daughter etc". I think it would have switched my opinion.

    Also the intro to her profession seemed awkward and clunky. Maybe a personal comment such as, "Why would Katy drag me here to celebrate my new job? What part of Chem professor screams party animal?"

    You do have a problem as you've presented it, if Katy is truly a good friend and confident. Wouldn't Katy know this wasn't something that Susan would like? Doesn't it seem extremely manipulative? Which is okay-but then we need to see more of Katy's personality.

    I guess in your first 250 words, I would concentrate solely on Susan--who she is, her comfort zone, her irritation, her worry over leaving her daughter etc then move on to katy and why she really is a good friend.

    My take only. Good luck with it. I felt that I could identify with Susan, which is probably why I wanted to see more of her and less of Katy.

  6. Hooked. I loved the idea of a single mom/chemistry professor being dragged out to a night club by her friend. I just feel for her and want to know more!

  7. I was confused by who was speaking in the first paragraph and who was the main character. I think that's an easy fix of dialogue tags and paragraph breaks.

    I do like the voice here. It's also clear that Katy is trying to draw Susan out of her shell and Katy is hesitant. I'm hooked to read more.

  8. I'm hooked, but I think some of the info could be dropped in later. Like the outfit info, right at the front end like this it slows me down reading it.

  9. Not hooked. I wanted more from Susan. It's supposed to be her story but we get far more of Katy, and Katy's thoughts and opinions than we do of Susan's. I felt I was learning about Susan through Katy.

    I think you have to give Susan a stronger voice. Not in the sense that she needs to be loud and outgoing, but she should have more of a presence.

  10. I wasn't really hooked. I thought there was too much description of the clothes and not enough of how much Susan is feeling--I assume she's the protag, at which point I'd like to know more about how nervous she is, what her hands are doing, whether she's shaking, or if she's just annoyed. Whatever, tell me.

    I also thought it was odd that her parents were saying her shirt is "too low cut." How old is Susan?

    But I think this could lead to a good situation overall, you just need to give me more of Susan. :)

  11. I agree with rhea about the first sentence. I began for some reason to think it was a fortune teller.

    All in all I liked it though I don't read romance. Is it normal to describe hair color right away? It seemed like a lot of hair discussion in the first 3 paragraphs. I personally don't need to know what they look like right away- but as i said, if it fits the genre-leave it in.

  12. The "your crazy" part in the first paragraph is meant to be that way. Katy is referring to her friend's propensity to over think situations, which she calls her "crazy" (as in a noun). It's slang, and now I realize that it is confusing.

    Thanks for all the comments. All of you noticed things that my crit. partners didn't. Many thanks.

  13. I wasn't really hooked. There was too much description and back-story and not enough action. All that really happened on this page was them walking down some stairs. I could have used a little more talking, at least.

  14. Yep, I have to agree with some of the other comments. I found parts of it interesting, but was really turned off by the infodump of paragraph two.

    Just so-so for me. For this type of story, I'd really like to see more voice.

    Good luck!

  15. Grr at misuse of "you're."

    The end of the first paragraph read very much like "As you know, Bob."

    I'm sorry--the writing isn't there yet.

  16. I'm afraid I'm not hooked but I see the potential. I agree with some of the other comments about "more voice" and Susan's POV. I did, however, understand the "your crazy" phrasing.

  17. This seems like the beginning of a sweet contemporary, something that could work for one of the Harlequin category lines. Alas, I'm not handling contemporary romance, but I will say that the language isn't bad, though it could use another round of edits. Instead of "as a celebration of", why not simply "to celebrate"? Susan also seems rather naive, someone who still lets her mother influence what she wears, and that's not as appealing to me as a strong, kick-a**, Alias-style heroine.

  18. I commented on this one, back when there was only four comments...but somehow it seems it was never entered! Sorry about that!

    Let's see...I think I commented that the opening line confused me. I couldn't figure out whether it was someone speaking, or a billboard, or magazine heading, etc.

    I was also a little pulled out of the story by the fact that the story starts, then backs up for two paragraphs before it keeps going. If you can keep the pace moving forward, I think it would really strengthen it.

    Am I hooked? No...but I think that's more to do with the fact that the premise isn't my usual style.

    Good luck!