Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August Secret Agent #1

TITLE: Also Known As Lexi Frost
GENRE: Erotic Romance

“What’s done is done, stop dwelling and get your mind in the game, Teri,” Nicholas said. “And find your keys.”

“They set the street on fire, Nicholas,” Teri turned her back on him, searching her camera bag for her car keys. She was going to be late. She would be late and the client wouldn’t wait. He’d tell his friends she was unreliable, she’d lose business, have to close the studio, lose the magazine and the camera shop, and go bankrupt. All because her fourteen year old son and his eighteen year old friend wanted to experiment with explosives.

“Lean into that camera bag just a little more,” Nicholas suggested, “I don’t think your nose hit bottom yet.”

Teri stood upright and glared at him.

“Also, did you know your shoes don’t match?” He gestured slightly with one finger, a slightly embarrassed look on his face.

Nicholas frequently nagged Teri about her wardrobe, insisting she should wear skirts or something feminine while working instead of the dark tailored suits she preferred. Considering he was probably gay, she couldn’t figure out why he was so set on her showing more skin. He never got excited when she did. She explained years ago since being the photographer meant being behind the camera, her attire needed to allow her to move, not get her a date. The explanation made no impression, and didn’t stop him from nagging, so Teri simply ignored him. Except...

Unable to resist, Teri glanced at her shoes. Nicholas laughed, they were fine.


  1. This was a good start, but I wasn't quite sure of the setting. Where are they? I like the "gay" best male friend becoming the hot and steamy romance hero, and you've set up the potential for some chemistry.

    BTW, why would someone behind the camera who needs to wear clothes she can move in wear tailored suits? That doesn't make sense.

  2. It's a decent beginning, I mean there are some grammar issues like the double useage of 'slightly' in one sentence when he tells her the shoes don't match.

    I got a feeling her the character, but I wondered how a tailored suit was easy to move in. Maybe that's picky of me but it didn't sound like how I picture photojournalists to dress. It made her seem uptight to me. Which might be the point!

    I'm not entirely sure I'd read on thought, it didn't quite pique my interest.

  3. I think you've got an interesting premise here- I'm intrigued, but there were a few things that lost me. Starting a book with dialogue generally loses my attention because it has no context. I say take the opportunity to really grab your reader with something snappy/intriguing. Goggling first lines of novels can show you some great ones. Also, the characters saying each other's names feels too deliberate. The final thing is just a line edit issue- accidental rhyme with "late" and "wait" in the second paragraph. Otherwise, I'm interested to see where this goes!

  4. I liked it. The MC is frazzled, incoherent and ready to tear SOMEBODY's head off, which pretty much indicates the start of my day, minus the fire.

    A few of the minor details need to be ironed out, but I know how it feels to prune opening pages to grab the reader's attention. Words get repeated and sometimes omitted. Good luck!

  5. Interesting start, but I am a bit confused. Is Nicholas her son? If so, a son asking his mom to show skin is kind of creepy. As I read it, there is an explosion caused by her son. She is late because of it, and Nicholas is telling her to relax. So, if Nicholas is not her son, where is her son? Was Nicholas with them during the explosion?

  6. I liked this beginning. I thought it was a great initiation to the characters. I did wonder where they were so a suggestion of place would be helpful.

  7. Two things bothered when I read this.
    o It seemed like a pretty big leap from being late for a client to bankruptcy. I took from it she's overly dramatic.If she's that dramatic, maybe she should just say this aloud.
    o The sentence about her behind the camera seems a bit awkward in construction. Consider revising to simplify.

  8. I just got distracted by the grammatical issues. P2 has a comma after Nicolas and it should be a period. "She was going to be late. She would be late..." Why the repetition? "He'd tell his friends..." is too long of a sentence and I think Teri's assumption is inplausible simply because she is late for an appt.

    P3 has another issue with a comma after "suggested." It should be a period.

    How are tailored suits comfortable to move in? Didn't get that?

    Also, "He never got excited when she did." confused me. Are they lovers? And she only considered he was gay? Hmm...

    Lastly, in your final sentence, "Nicholas laughed, they were fine." should be two separate sentences IMO. Sorry for being so nitpicky. Just trying to help.

  9. I think this is great. Written well. Who is Nicholas though? Not her son, or his friend right?

  10. I thought it a little strange that something as dramatic as setting the street on fire took a backseat to her being late for her client. Where is her cell phone? Why can't she just call the client? Of course in the opening paragraphs it's sort of hard to tell which of these things is going to move the story the most - the boys or the client, but I might focus more on the most important one initially instead of just throwing them both in there.

    Not sure if I'd keep going - nothing too unique yet to pique my interest.

  11. We all know you can begin the odd sentence with a conjunction and
    break grammatical rules within dialogue, I wouldn't do it in the very
    first sentence of a novel without a good reason. “They set the street
    on fire” is a clichĂ© (unless it's meant literally in which case I'm
    very much confused by the way the dialogue sails right on by), and
    again, while you can get away with a lot in dialogue, this is very
    early to be doing that. All that aside, this is just two people
    chatting about everyday things. Nothing to get me interested as yet.
    Just my opinion, but I would look at what action or event likely
    appears later on the page and leap right to it.

  12. Hmmm - I was intrigued by the delinquent son experimenting with explosives.

    However, it sounds like she's stressing about the wrong things. Her son literally set a street alight? And she's worried about running late? Not just worried, but dramaticising the consequences from running late to losing her studio/ business and go bankrupt?

    Surely the kids' legal bills from a neighbourhood class action would achieve that?

    Not plausible. But I enjoyed the shoe exchange stuff.

  13. I like the mix of dialogue and reflection. This moves well and I have a sense of where the story is heading even from this snapshot. I think you could find a stronger opening line than the dialogue. Something referencing the explosion related to her lateness would be compelling. It could skew funny or dramatic, depending on the tone you want to set.

  14. Thank you, everyone, for your comments. They're really helpful and I appreciate it.

  15. I think there have been some great comments here. I would just add a few comments. I realize that the character is melodramatic, but the list of negative things that could happen because she's late really don't resonate with me yet because I'm not invested in her as a character. I don't know her so, I'm not worried about her problems.

    There are also some grammar issues and some of the sentences need tweaking, but others have commented on that.

    I agree that in hindsight, she SHOULD be more concerned that her child set the street on fire with explosives, but that could have happened a few weeks prior.

    Finally, Nicholas needs to be given more development in this opening scene other than he teases her about her shoes and the fact that Teri thinks he's gay.

    Keep working at it.