Wednesday, August 19, 2009

41 Secret Agent

TITLE: We Have to Play!
GENRE: High-concept women's fiction

“What do you mean, b*** j**s don’t count?” Andrew’s voice was so loud that the entire New Year’s Eve party came to a screeching halt.

“I can’t believe it,” Barbie scolded as she made a beeline across the living room to where Sophie and Andrew were standing side by side. “Sophie, not only is this a twenty-year-old argument, but now you’re debating it with my son.” She knew she needed to explain to her other guests what all the shouting was about.

“Wait a minute,” Andrew said, laughing. “Who knew the subject was even up for discussion?” “I knew,” Barbie said, giving Sophie a dirty look. “And Sophie, you’re fifty-two years old, you should know better.”

“It all started one night,” Barbie began, “when Sophie, Brenda, Renee and I were playing canasta. I can’t believe I’m even telling this story.” She paused to give Sophie another nasty look. “Okay. Sophie and Renee decided to see which one of us was the most promiscuous. So, we decided that the only way to figure it out was to count the bodies. We each got pencil and paper and agreed on the rules. Anyone that we ever slept with in our whole life had to be written down. But, when we were all done, Sophie had a shorter list than Renee. Renee asked Sophie…what about this one, and what about that one? Renee claimed that when she and Sophie were in the Catskills, Sophie had been very active, if you get my drift.


  1. Why would this woman need to explain this to the party and why would she give the explanation outlined here? It doesn't read as plausible. Also, I don't understand the comment "Who knew the subject was even up for discussion?" Didn't he just make a comment loud enough for everyone to here? Definitely not hooked.

  2. not hooked: the characters and their perdicament just didn't interest me

  3. Uhm... why would she be describing this at a party? :O

    The other thing is the last paragraph reminded me of those logic problems you find in puzzle books.

  4. It feels like I walked into a conversation that I shouldn't have. Either that or chapter two. If your going for shock, you've got it but it's not really a believable shock. I can actually see this might happen if Barbie just turns to the party goers and says, "Sophie's a whore." I need a little more than just the dialogue for this opener. Maybe the ambience of the party? Starting it with unbelievable shock isn't going to work.

  5. Interesting...

    Well, I'm not sure that high concept women's fiction would normally begin this way. LOL. I've seen and read this type of scene before and rolled on the floor laughing. With this, I sort of felt embarrassed.

    It didn't hit the mark for me. What I did appreciate was a novel with women over 50. So keep working on this. I get the sense that you haven't hit your stride with this sampling.

    *Tapping my drink your way!*

  6. Well I wasn't sure what the flood of *******'s in the first sentence meant,but if it was something antisemitic (Catskills?) then just spit it out.

  7. Not hooked. The subject matter doesn't interest me, but I'm also having trouble imagining what kind of party they'd be telling this story at. Or why they're explaining for anyone.

    I also didn't get a sense of anyone else in the room with them, so I didn't feel grounded.

  8. This didn't grab me, not because of the subject matter--which is fine--but because of the uninteresting dialogue at the beginning. The material haa a chicklit/henlit feel, whereas publishers are looking for more depth and sophistication in their women's fiction right now. Also, exclamation points don't work well in titles.

  9. I got confused by what the asterisks were supposed to be (slow brain, I know), but then enjoyed the rest of the excerpt. It seems like it will be a fun, raunchy sort of book. I don't mind not knowing more about the characters since the conversation is sure to reveal a lot about them anyways. Hooked.

  10. Siobhan--I still don't know what the J word is!! I guess I'm too naive.

    I'm not hooked by this. The writing's not there yet. It's too much, "As you know, Bob."

  11. It's always difficult when you have to **** something out, especially in a sentence as important as the first. Also, the first exchange of dialog was a bit bland, ramping up to the last paragraph that actually started to get into what was going on there.

    While I liked that a couple of the speakers were older, I didn't get the sense that they actually were older from the dialog. It sounded more like a couple of college girls talking about something they did last month rather than a look into a story 20 plus years old.

    Sorry, I wasn't hooked.

  12. There's a big infodump here and it's not hooking me.

    Those of you wondering about the asterisks, I think Authoress stars out naughty words. :-)