Wednesday, October 14, 2009

22 Secret Agent

TITLE: An Irish Adventure
GENRE: Women's Fiction

Max was the boyfriend I had wanted all my life. He was cute and funny, with a mop of curly wheat-colored curls and a bohemian dress-style of frayed cords and moth-eaten argyle sweaters. He read complicated, eclectic books like “Being and Time”, wrote poetry and composed songs. And he was an amazing kisser. He just had this incredible innate skill in knowing what felt good. I could kiss him for hours.

Unfortunately, Max also liked to smoke up several times a day. He would smoke a bowl as soon as he got up and seldom had a waking hour where he wasn’t high. Before we started dating I hadn’t minded his pot addiction, since he always seemed just as witty and sweet whether he was high or not. But after a while, I got fed up with the way his life centered on the next time he would be lighting up a joint.

“Just go through one day without smoking up,” I begged him one night. “It would mean so much to me.”

“You really think you’d like me better if I didn’t smoke up?” he asked.

“I really think I would.”

He promised that very next day would be totally drug-free.

The following afternoon we walked to the park by the lakeshore and climbed around the rocks lining the beach, enjoying a rare warm spell during the usually bitter Chicago winter.

“See?” I told him, “You don’t have to get high to have a good time.”

Max laughed so long and hysterically I began to feel suspicious.


  1. I'm not sure what is so loveable about Max. He sounds like an immature idiot. I would keep reading to see if she dumps him. Also, this title doesn't seem to match what I've read so far. Leave Max in the dust and let's hear about the Irish Adventure. Good luck!

  2. I like your voice but it feels like you're starting your story in the wrong place. I'm assuming your MC dumps Max and goes to Ireland at some point. Perhaps you can shed some light on her druggie (ex-) boyfriend later on in a flashback or a conversation with someone else. But if Max isn't pivotal to the plot, cut him out of the first page.

  3. I think if the MC is not a pothead like Max, I wonder if she would use 'smoking up.' I almost get the feeling she's trapped in a Cheech and Chong movie and hope someone throws her a plane ticket to Ireland to get the heck away from Mr. Bong.

  4. A little hooked. I liked the first paragraph.

    However, I'm curious where this is going. I would read a few more pages to find out.

  5. Pot smoking hero? Doesn't really do it for me.

    You might consider "toke" to replace some of the "smoking up" lines. Although, I have no idea if that is a termed used anymore. :-)

    Unless Max is from Ireland, I don't see the connection to the title. Not sure where this is going.

  6. Too much telling not enough showing. I hate the title, sorry to say...sounds like a 1970s travelogue. I rather like the idea of a girl's romance with a pothead, although his clothes sound really really unattractive.

  7. Though I enjoyed the opening paragraph and descriptions, the rest of it seemed like an anti-drug commercial. Would maybe work later in the story but as an opener it doesn't hook me. Sorry.

  8. I enjoyed the excerpt. The title sounded a bit cliche to me but the intro was unconventional and pulled me in.

  9. I don't really like the title either. I agree with Annarkie - the part I didn't like was the anti-drug commercial. I can hack a slacker hero, up to a point, but the rest of the section didn't match the lovely tone set up in the first paragraph.

  10. You have an interesting set-up here, but it seems a little slow for an opening. There's a bit of conflict, as she wonders if Max is really the best choice, but not conflict I can see being sustained for the length of a novel.

  11. I'm not sure how old the characters are, but the term "boyfriend" seems very young to me. If these are teenagers it works. I think your ending dialogue here is what is the kicker - the hook - the protag being suspicious of a pot smoking boyfriend.

    Maybe I'm old but is "smoke up" a term most people know? You use it several times so I assume it's popular lingo.

  12. You have an easy, reader-friendly voice, but the characters and this setup don't inspire me to continue. I'm not interested much in pot addicts and their codependent girlfriends. Also, the book title BEING AND TIME should be italicized; quotation marks set off the titles of smaller pieces, like articles.

    Not hooked.

  13. Not hooked. Your heroine is with a man who is doing something she disapproves of, and when she asks him to stop what he's doing, is surprised to learn he's lied to her. To me, that says immature, dependent and needy. I don't want to read an entire novel about that kind of woman.

    I understand the novel may not be about that kind of woman, but that's who I'm seeing in these first 250 words.

  14. This does seem the wrong place to start your story, though without knowing what comes next, it's a bit hard to tell.

    I'm going to assume, from the title, that she'll dump Max and go to Ireland. I think someone else suggested starting there and flashing back to Max. Already in 250 words we have a lot of telling and two scenes. It's a bit much to cram in.

    One nit with the writing: curly curls is a tautology.

    I agree that you have a good voice.

  15. The first paragraph is promising, although with Max being so great, you just know something has got to be wrong! Once I found out Max was a pothead, I started to lose interest. But when she started going on about how she hadn’t minded his addiction before, but now she’s fed up with it? You totally lost me. It’s clear this is a book about her, not him. And she seems pretty clueless, not like the strong heroine I enjoy. Any woman who thinks it’s okay that he’s a drug addict just because she’s all hot for him… but then expects him to change for her… well, I can’t stand that!

    Maybe I’m wrong, maybe she is going to step up to the plate and kick him out on the next page and go off on an Irish adventure. That would be great!

    I’d read a couple more pages to find out. But if Max sticks around and his pot smoking does too, I’m outa here.