Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January Secret Agent #13


The produce section was Allie’s favorite in any grocery store, but especially in this little market with its soft lighting and hardwood floors. The fruits and vegetables were organic here, therefore they weren’t the vivid reds, greens, and yellows with the shiny wax coating that seemed almost cartoonish under the glaring lights of the chain store down the road. They seemed earthier here, more like real food.

She scanned her shopping list: one garlic bulb- check, one white onion- check, bunch of carrots- check. Only one more item to go and she would have all of the ingredients for Daemon’s favorite dinner- baked spaghetti, made with her homemade sauce and fresh pasta (store bought fresh pasta, that is. She loved the man but let’s be reasonable). The tomatoes for the sauce were the last of her garden’s output for the season. The other vegetables had ceased growing weeks ago.

Too small, too soft, too wrinkled, Allie picked up and scrutinized one green pepper after another. The wooden bin was overflowing with the vegetable, she could afford to be selective.

“Aha.” She plucked a flawless specimen from the mound and held it up like a prize. Firm, smooth, vividly green, and extra large. She set it atop the package of fresh pasta in the basket hanging from her arm. The work day was done and now so were the errands. She could head home, start cooking, and wait for Daemon. Their evenings together were what she looked forward to all day


  1. Nice. I would keep reading for sure!

  2. I did like this - nice writing! You might consider cutting the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs to give you the space to hint at the conflict to come. Maybe her guy doesn't appreciate all the time she puts into cooking for him, or maybe he's overly grateful and she finds it annoying. Life seems a little too perfect right now, but I'm sure you pull the rug out from under her shortly! :)

  3. Very polished writing. Vivid rich description. Off to a well-written but slow start.

    I think the closest thing I've read to urban fantasy would be Shipbreaker, which is not UF, so take my thoughts with salt. It seems very domestic and common, which I'm hoping is in contrast to the craziness and other worldliness that is approaching. I would keep reading though.

    It might be helpful also to give us some hint of Allie's age. Is she in her 20s or 30s or 40s? IF she's making dinner for a fella then she's grown, I'm guessing. If this is totally off, it might be good to give some aspect of her age.

    Good writing.

  4. I found myself wondering what genre was this opening - maybe present one fantasy element sooner than the 'daemon' she'll cook for.

    Also, I kept waiting for the action to start, beside from your mc picking produce to cook...

    I'd suggest to start with your incident, to get us involved right away into your story.

  5. Love the details...sounds like me going shopping.

    I agree with the others. Seems too common place to be urban fantasy. Give us at least a hint of conflict and what's fantastic about her world.

  6. As someone who loves cooking and produce, I connect with this scene right away and would keep reading. It does feel slow to me though, and the only tension so far is whether or not she'll find the perfect pepper. I don't think you need to introduce the main conflict right in the first page--maybe you're showing us that she really does have a contented, easy life and she's about to go home and find a massacre in her house. But I would like a little bit more info here than just browsing veg for one page. What's she thinking about? Is she exhausted, stressed, zoned out? Why is she making Daemon's favorite dinner? Did he do something special?

  7. Nice writing. Just one little nit - she starts by dissing pretty veggies grown with chemicals - bright colors, fake looking, then at the end, chooses a green pepper that sounds exactly like the fake ones she disdains. Just something that threw me out of the story - which I might have dismissed if this was a normal situation where I would have read a back cover and had different expectations!
    But again, I enjoyed the writing and would read on to find the fantasy aspect!

  8. SOme nice writing here, but I thought the opening was too slow. A woman picked out vegetables. Perhaps give us a hint of the trouble to come, or the main problem. Find a way to insert some conflict or tension. I'm sure something is goin to happen soon, and perhaps that's the place to start.

  9. I too struggled with the quotidian nature of the opening. The writing's great, but there's nothing here that makes me want to keep reading, other than the slight hint that maybe Daemon isn't who she thinks he is, but I feel like I might be making that up as I grasp for a foothold.

  10. 1000 points to the commenter who worried over the "quotidian" nature of the opening...this feels more like an exercise in developing descriptive writing than something balanced between painting a picture and moving a story forward ("only one more item to go and she'd have all the ingredients for Daemon's favorite dinner" is a very not suspenseful version of a suspenseful sentence construction, you know?) More Daemon (though if he ends up being a demon, I'd change his name!) less diet!