Wednesday, October 14, 2009

17 Secret Agent

TITLE: Daddy Complex
GENRE: Women’s Fiction

My heart feels like it could explode in my chest. Something is terribly
wrong and I feel like I need to do something, but what can I do? Did he
have an accident? Did the guys go out for a drink afterwards? Is he
even thinking about my feelings at all? I really hate to get this
feeling. Every woman knows this feeling, the one where you don’t know
what to do and feel completely out of control. I am light headed and my
heart is pounding so loudly that I can actually hear it inside my head.
I know something has happened but I don’t know what it is. I am
terrified to know what it is.

As I pace back and forth in front of the picture window, it is hard to
believe that it is only 7:00pm. It feels much later. From this vantage
point, I can see all of the drive-way and a good distance down the street
but there isn’t a car in sight. The street lights are just starting to
come on. Old Mr. Matheson from the next block is walking his ancient
Boston bull dog. Acorns drop from the stately oak tree in the front yard
onto the pavement making a familiar plunking sound. The cat across the
street at the Johnson’s house is chasing the same imaginary squirrel that
he chases every day but never catches. The late summer Georgia heat
makes everything feel like it is being viewed through a veil of cheese


  1. Good descriptions but not much action. In your first paragraph you need to find another word for "feel." Who is she waiting for? Her daddy, husband, brother, son?

    As they don't tell. Maybe phone calls to check up on the a cigarette with shaky hands....drinking....some kind of action to reinforce the anxiety.

  2. I agree with the PP that you need to illustrate her fear more. I also don't think you need to tell us that she hates this feeling - that would be pretty obvious. Maybe show her trying to read or watch tv, and she can't - show her feeling sick to her stomach - show her hands shaking while she's drinking coffee - that sort of thing.

  3. I'm not sure if we're waiting for her husband. When I'm wondering where in the heck my late not-so-better half is, I'm so racked with anxiety and anger that I don't think I would even notice an acorn droping from a stately oak tree, but maybe that's just me.
    And maybe I am presuming it's her husband she's waiting on.
    I may read on to find out why the jerk is late and what his excuse is.

  4. A little hooked. I think you need to tweak your first paragraph. I would start with "every woman knows this feeling.." then proceed with "my heart feels like it could explode..."

    I also don't think you need to tell us twice her heart is pounding.

    I really didn't connect with the MC. Someone is late, but I'm not feeling her nervousness.

    Normally, I like detailed settings and descriptions. But, five (the cat, acorns, Mr. Matheson, the heat, street lights) is too many. I would cut it down to three.

    I would read a few more pages to see what happens. I hate when people are late. But, there needs to be more action.

  5. I don't like not knowing who she's talking about in the first paragraph, and I agree with the first comment that you need more action. The descriptions are good and you get the sense of place and time, but I don't connect with the charachter. Good luck!

  6. The first paragraph caught my attention because I wanted to know who she was waiting for. I was disappointed that it wasn't revealed.

    The description is good. It erased the woman's worry, though.

  7. A little too much telling to catch my attention. I tend to not like stories that start with questions. Start with an action, not a reaction. Start by showing us what she's doing while waiting. Is she really just walking back and forth in front of the picture window, noticing the scenery? What she notices tells us a lot about her state of mind, so use your scenic description wisely.

  8. I agree with the above comments. I think you should cut back on her "feelings" description and tell us who she's waiting for.
    The 2nd paragraph could use some trimming in unnessecary details and maybe insert more action.
    Otherwise, not too bad.

  9. You have the word feel or feelings eight times, six in the first paragraph alone.

    A bit overwritten as well. Showing her nervously waiting for someone would have hooked me more than telling me.

  10. I'd suggest telling us who she's waiting for, and as others have said, insert some action.

    The second paragraph needs reactions. How does she react to all these things she sees? How she reacts will tell us about her state of mind. And you don't need as many as you have.

    And if an acorn falls, is she really going to hear it?

  11. I don't care for the questions in the first graf. I'd rather see the MC experience things and do things than hear the questions in her head.

    In graf 2, there is more to latch onto, but it would be much stronger with some editing - take away the assumptions like "from this vantage point" and "old" and "ancient" and show us what the MC sees, don't tell us.

    Too many adjectives and adverbs for my taste, I prefer writing that is tighter.

  12. Not hooked. I don't know why she's upset that he's late. You're withholding too much.

  13. I think this is well written but too much is withheld. A few more details would be more likely to hook.

  14. I loved your imagery in the last sentence (although the wording itself is a little awkward). That said, there's nothing here that draws me in.

    Also, I couldn't really relate to the main character, even though she assures us that "every woman" knows the feeling of not knowing what to do and feeling completely out of control. Honestly, that sentence turned me off a bit.

    Not hooked.

  15. You do present tense very well, not easy to pull off. I liked the sense of anxiety you created here, and this might just be me, but I was a little uncomfortable not knowing who she was waiting for. Her husband, probably, but because of your title, a small part in my thought that she might be waiting for her daddy, and that turned the whole set up uncomfortably.

  16. You're capturing a moment that many people have experienced and I can relate! But I'm not hooked, sorry. In general, descriptions of feelings are not compelling in an opening paragraph. "My heart feels..." "I feel like I need to do somthing..." "I really hate this feeling..." "I am lightheaded..." Etc. etc. etc.

    There is so much repetition also. One commenter already noted the numerous uses of "feels" and "feelings." Twice in the first paragraph she talks about her heart pounding. You've got about ten sentences to tell what you could easily tell in two or three. Better yet, it would be so much nicer if you showed us. What is she doing here? A couple of well-written actions would be so much more interesting than this internal monologue.

    When she starts looking at the street lights, the acorns, the cat... those are really nice details and in another context I'd think they were good writing. But here, I'm already frustrated that there's nothing happening, so these details don't hold any interest. Plus I find it implausible that in her state of mind she'd be able to notice those details.

    I have no idea what's happening here besides a woman waiting for a man who's late, but I need it to begin totally differently. You clearly have some writing talent, so figure out a way to draw us into your story more compellingly.