Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July Secret Agent #1

GENRE: Contemporary Women's Fiction

I was gearing up for a well-deserved and long-overdue climax when my husband whispered three words no woman wants to hear during sex: "You wanna minivan?"

If that wasn't a euphemism for some mind-blowing tantric move he'd read about in Maxim, Mark was a dead man.

"You've got to be kidding me." My enthusiasm trickled away like the proverbial sands through the hour glass and all hopes of seizing the elusive "O" evaporated. I pushed Mark off and rolled over to my side of the bed, facing away from him.

I suppose I should've been happy to be having sex at all. Mark and I had been married for almost nine years and he traveled so much with work that it seemed we were rarely in the bedroom at the same time. And awake. And feeling energetic or aroused enough for more than a chaste kiss good night. And without our five-year-old son, Sam, sprawled across us.

Thinking of how slim my chances were of getting any action didn't help my mood.

"How can you think about buying a car right now?" I demanded. "And a minivan... ?" I honestly didn't know which was more insulting--that he thought we were a minivan kind of family, or that he thought about it during sex.

Mark sighed in the semi-darkness of the room as he reached over and pulled me towards him into a spooning position. "C'mon, Anna," he murmured in my ear.


  1. I'm hooked. This opening made me laugh. It has all the elements to build toward a good story: developed characters, clear setting and conflict. I suspect the slightly irreverent tone wouldn't be for everyone, but it gives a nice sense of voice and what to expect from this story. I would keep reading.

  2. Nice! I like the voice and the mc - I'd definitely read on :)

  3. I'm hooked. The voice made me laugh and I totally get where she's coming from. I would definitely read on.

  4. Made me laugh right off the bat :D
    I really enjoyed the scene and the POV. The dialogue rang true as well. Good job, I enjoyed it!
    Ninja Girl

  5. Anything that makes me laugh is a winner :) Good job!

  6. My thought was, what if you showed this scene? Right now, it's all told, so while we're getting her voice, we're not getting the total let down she feels.

    What if you showed them having sex? Nothing too lurid. But if you show them in the act, and the moment is building and building (like her climax) then at the crucial moment Mark says "You wanna mini-van?" the reader is going to feel her total deflation, and that laugh is going to be bigger because we were there with her, thus experiencing it with her. As is, we're hearing about it second hand, we're one step removed from the action, so instead of feeling what she feels, we get the "Oh I can just imagine!" reaction. If you show it, it will be a much bigger moment.

  7. I'm still giggling. I loved the humor beneath her frustration. It was very well done.

    I'm with Barbara, showing would be nice just because you'd get a better understanding of her frustration. I could see the set-up and I could feel the emotion but showing would make it that much more powerful.

    Overall I adore Women's Fiction and you nailed it.

  8. This has a fun, confident voice, and while I agree with the folks above that it'd be good to see more showing than telling, the telling you do here is breezy and funny, which lets you get away with it.

    Since you have such a focused scene, the setting material isn't as important, but I hope you'll include setting material throughout, since even a good 1st person narration can become ungrounded without setting details.

    Though I'm not the audience for 'woman is frustrated and unfulfilled in marriage' stories, being not a woman, married, or unfulfilled, I enjoyed this excerpt and would happily read more.

  9. You've got a great voice and a memorable opening scene. Once I went back and re-read the title, I felt like I had a better idea of where your story might be headed.

    I agree with Barbara's statement about a little more "showing," but also Turbo's comment about the lightness of your "telling." Not the right genre for me, but it could easily be a crowd-pleaser!

    Good luck!

  10. MH87: Great voice and sense of character right from the get go. I love the opening line. I'm not sure where this story is going from the excerpt but I would definitely read on despite that.

  11. I am with everyone else. Love the voice, but would enjoy the scene more if it was "shown" and not "told". I did love the line about "I don't know which insulted me more..."

  12. Hi!

    This is definitely funny. But, there is a bit too much "telling" as others have mentioned. I think it would help if you cut out the paragraphs of, "I suppose" and "Thinking how slim." That would make it tighter.

    I would also make sure, as you go, to have Anna be extremely likeable. Based on this sample, I'm not sure she will be.

  13. I laughed, too--it's a great hook--but I did wonder if the story would be likeable. I hadn't gotten as far as wondering if I'd like the character.

  14. This made me L.O.L. I'm hooked.

  15. Funny! I love the humor. But I also, being a mom and married and all, might find the story not exciting enough. Maybe if you, tell us about it, like others have said above. And you can do it just enough to make it hot and then kill the fire with the minivan line.

  16. I'm not crazy about women's fiction, but I'd read more. I loved the voice and since I can relate to the scene, I wanted to know know what would happen next. I agree that showing would have involved the reader a little more, but I'm not a fan of detailed sex scenes and likely wouldn't have continued reading if there was one right at the beginning...