Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March Secret Agent #33

TITLE: Wild Flower Fields
GENRE: Women's Fiction

Alex Kent strode toward the public defender’s office of San Diego County to reclaim his life. His Italian shoes hit the sidewalk in regulated steps, like a soldier’s marching into battle. He entered the Centre City Building and his eyes surveyed the geometric floor, the tall curving archways, the gold leaf that covered the brackets supporting the plaster ceiling. The baroque architecture seemed out of place in an office building that served the indigent. But then, so did his Gucci briefcase.

In the elevator, he smoothed his tie. His gold wedding band caught the light. He told himself this meeting was a formality. His confidence was high — he doubted that any of his competitors had a U.S. senator on speed-dial. Yet these familiar surroundings reminded him of what he had lost. A longing gathered in his chest. He pushed it down. He had to stay focused.

The elevator reached his floor and he stepped into the hallway. Glancing down at his watch, he rounded the corner and collided with Karina Fields. Her folder slid from her grasp, and she teetered on peach-colored pumps. Alex seized her arm to steady her.

“Sorry.” His face warmed. It had been a year since he’d seen Karina, his ex-wife’s sister. “It’s good to see you, Kare.”

Karina gaped, then blinked. She straightened her nutmeg hair, worn tucked behind her ears as if she were always listening.

Alex retrieved the papers strewn across the hallway. He held the file out to Karina.


  1. I like the opening. The writing and pacing are great.

    I'm confused about the genre. It's stated as Women's Fiction but has a male MC? I think the idea of women's fiction is to have a female MC. Is it a romance? I'd be curious what secret agent says about it.

    Great opening and I'd keep reading but I do wonder about the genre. The writing is really stellar.

    Good luck with it.

  2. Hooked. I like the opening and pace. It doesn't bother me that the protag is a man. I would keep reading.

  3. I liked this and would read more.

    Try editing out some of your pronouns though. There are lots of he/his. Try cutting some of them or substituting 'the' in some cases.

    Good luck :)

  4. I liked the small touch of the wedding band catching the light which is made meaningful by the introduction of Karina where we learn for the first time that he has an ex-wife - yet still wears a wedding band. Very nice. I want to know more like what are the circumstances causing him to reclaim his life at this point. But, I can wait as long as they are soon to follow. I will focus on the scene to make an observation of the first line he walks into an "office" yet that cannot be since in paragraph 2 - he has gotten on an it would seem he is in a building and not yet reached an office at that point. Very good writing with the promise of an interesting story to come that would make me read more.

  5. Almost hooked, I'd like to read more but I'm not jumping in all the way. Very nice writing. I found the physical descriptions a bit heavy, but this may be standard for the genre.

    Keep writing!

  6. NOt quite hooked. Although women's fiction is a category I don't read a lot in, I'm especially thrown off by the male MC in a book labeled as such. There were nice touches here and there: the wedding band, though he's divorced, solid description of the setting that relates back to the character. You get a good feel for him in that first paragraph. I'd read more just to find out what someone with so much money was doing at a public defender, but the bump in with the sister of the ex makes me wary.

  7. The writing is good, but it's bogged down with too much description. Pare down just a bit, and then I think you have it.

  8. Form rejection. For me, there's too much focus on the descriptions and the sentence structure gets repetitive. The time spent on describing him, I believe, could be better used to show us what he's nervous about and where he's come from where he's got all those expensive accessories.

  9. From the author: Thanks for your feedback, everyone, it's tremendously helpful. This opening has been a tug of war between one group of critics saying there's not enough description (so I add more), and then the next group saying there's too much (so I take some out)...Now I realize that I'm relying too much on description to reveal the character. Alex is the antagonist, so I wanted him to be enigmatic in the opening. But that won't work because it's in his POV, and the reader wants to know immediately what's at stake for him. It's a simple fix now that I know what the problem is.

    Good tip also about replacing "his" with "the" to get rid of some pronouns.