Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September Secret Agent #29

TITLE: "Minus Me and You
GENRE: Women's Fiction

June Parker saved everything: theater tickets from a first date with her husband of 30 years, shoes from her wedding tucked away in the original box, medical bracelets her children wore home from the hospital. All of it was special and had a place in her home. Grace Parker did not inherit her mother's

When June called to announce they were moving, Grace was shocked. She couldn't imagine her parents living anywhere other than her childhood home. She was even more shocked when June said that she should come for her things. Grace didn't even realize she had things at their house. She took everything she wanted when she moved out after high school. That was eight years ago.

Grace stood in her old, crowded bedroom. An empty bed frame. A dresser. Six hefty storage totes. She should have known her mother would have carefully preserved her childhood in plastic containers: baby clothes, toys, artwork, pictures, yearbooks, and trophies. Grace had been staring at it for fifteen minutes when June approached the bedroom, wiping her hands on her waist apron.

“Find anything interesting honey?”

“Mom, why did you save all this stuff?”

“I thought you might want it someday.”

“Can't you just take it with you?”

June sighed, “You should at least look through it. You never know what you might find.”

“That's what I'm afraid of.” Grace said quietly to herself as her mom walked out of the room.


  1. I found the opening confusing, because the first words are a name, which I assume to be the MC, and I had to stop and read it again before I realized we were actually supposed to be in Grace's head, not June's. On second read, I kind of liked the way you interrupted our expectations. It would help if you made "Grace did not inherit..." a new para, standing on its own.

    I really like the end of the excerpt...very intriguing.

  2. I agree that the beginning is a bit confusing at first glance. I think in the second paragraph with "She was even more shocked when June said.." if it were changed to "She was even more shocked when her mother said" it would lay a bit of more concrete foundation that June is Grace's mother, but continuing to call her June somehow seems a bit distancing. Just my opinion.

    Love the last bit - really makes me want to keep reading to know what Grace is afraid of finding! Interested to see where this is going. Good luck :)

  3. i think this story is going somewhere good, you might just want to pick up the pace at the start. let us know what grace has to lose in this issue of her mom's saving everything, or let us know more of her thoughts on her mom's sentimentality, etc.

  4. Hmmm, what is she afraid of? Intriguing. :)

    I do see a bit of telling instead of showing, though, and some passive voice. So, I think in those areas you might be able to tighten up the writing.

    I'd also love even a sentence more to tell us about the conflict or the problem here.

    I really love the contrast in personality that's set up between Grace and her mom right off the bat.

  5. What's great here is the contrast between mother and daughter and the central event of the mother moving out of the family home.

    These kinds of events are full of poignancy and resonate with most female readers of a certain age, making it a great way to start a work of women's fiction.

    Having said that, I think the writing needs a little work. It feels a bit like a rough draft.

    But definitely something I would keep reading and be interested in.

  6. I really enjoyed the descriptive nature of this opener e.g. How Grace's mother packed her things. And, I wanted to read more when I discovered that Grace was "afraid of what" she might find in those things. Very intriguing!

  7. I liked the ending, that Grace was afraid of what she might find, but I would have liked a little more, like did she have some dark hidden secret or something.

    The beginning did confuse me for a momemt as to who the POV character was, and there was something about the names Grace and June. Maybe because they're both short and one syllable. I don't know, but I had to keep telling myself June was the Mother, Grace was the daughter, so maybe referring to June as mother or mom would help with that. (Or maybe it's just me.)

  8. I've read this piece a couple of times, and each time I feel like I am misled. When I start reading, I am lured into believing that the story is about June, but as the lines unfold, I realize that it is about Grace. For me, as a reader, this is disturbing.

    I remember being told once to indentify the pov character in the first sentence. Perhaps you can rearrange the text a bit and introduce Grace first? Maybe refer to June as “Grace’s mom” or something, or perhaps slide the first paragraph down.

    I like the end because it leaves us wondering just what she has found, making us want to read on to find out.

    All in all, good job. Thanks for sharing!