Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February Secret Agent #4

TITLE: Pursuit of Craze
GENRE: Contemporary Women's Fiction

Allie loved browsing the produce section of this little corner market, with its soft lighting, faux hardwood floors, and piped-in classical music. Unlike the chain store display down the street where the cartoonish reds, greens, and yellows glowed under the harsh lights and looked ready to stand up on tiny legs and break into a song and dance routine at any moment, here the produce calmly maintained its dignity.

She scanned her shopping list. One more item and she would have all of the ingredients for Daemon’s favorite dinner- baked spaghetti.

Allie picked up and scrutinized one green pepper after another. The wooden bin overflowed 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, medium- sized, evenly green. She dropped it in the basket hanging from her arm.

Nowadays, the minutiae of their life together brought her the most pleasure. Buying a green pepper, folding laundry, buying Daemon’s deodorant. Not that she’d ever admit to the deodorant part. She could picture her assistant’s reaction to that tidbit- hot stepping away from her with palms raised in fear of her Stepfordness becoming contagious.

The thought made her grin as she tucked her grocery list into the pocket of her jeans, swung around to head to the registers at the front of the store, and promptly collided with another shopper.

“Oh my goodness, excuse me, I…” Allie looked up, and the apology dissolved on her tongue.


  1. It's low-keyed, but it's sweet. I like the MC's tenderness towards Daemon, and the Stepford line was funny. Your second sentence is too long, but it had a great punchline. I would suggest re-working that sentence to make it easier to read. Maybe break it into two sentences. Great job. I would love to read this.

  2. First four paras don't do much for me. Story seems to start at fifth para, where we learn that the minutiae of her life with Daemon give her the most pleasure -- now. Add in the assistant/Stepford line, and I'm curious to read on.

  3. I'd lose interest after the first paragraph, not much going on and the second sentence is way too long...
    I would start with "Aha."

    Because I did read through, the cut off sentence has me curious for more.

  4. I loved the first para, although I also thought the second sentence a bit long; didn't draw the eye through, but the dignity was chuckle-worthy and very witty. We can hope for lots more of that in your MS.

    I thought you would be better served to get through the minutiae a little faster and get a little farther than the apology dissolving on her tongue in the first 250 words. In another place in the book, lingering like this would work well, but not right at the beginning. We're curious to know what (more likely who) she's reacting to, and whether it's deserving of our attention--so I think it would serve you well to pull that forward a bit.

  5. I LOVED your first paragraph... LOL. You took something as mundane grocery shopping and made it fun.

    I would cut a bit of the pepper thing though. It slowed for me their.

    I have to admit I was JARRED when you started the "Nowadays" paragraph. If you could smooth the transition, it would flow better.

    Otherwise I enjoyed the voice, humor, and mystery of this excerpt.

  6. I tend to not stray into women's fiction that much, but I wasn't turned off by this. (That's a compliment... I'm not good at them.) The second line was funny, but too long.

    I thought the writing was pretty clear, but I got bored by the green pepper paragraphs. I don't like to shop myself, so I really don't want to watch someone else do it in minute detail.

    The last line would have pulled me to the next page, though. I want to know who she's bumped into and how that's going to disrupt her blissful existence.

  7. I did like the anthropomorphizing of the vegetables, but thought the green paper selection went on too long, and was also jarred by the Nowadays transition. But the collision at the end, and her speechlessness makes me want to read more, to see if there's trouble brewing in paradise!

  8. I think this is beautifully written, and I would read more simply for that fact. I appreciated getting to know the MC and her relationship in a subtle way.

  9. I love how you get me into the main character's head in so few words. Her world, her motivations,come through in a strong voice. Some of the paragraphs could use some smoothing, but there's a gem in there.

  10. I agree with cutting a few of those paragraphs after the first, and get to the part about her love interest. You've already set up the visual of the grocery store, and we don't need to see her examining the produce. Then we can get to her meeting whoever it is in the store a little quicker. Good luck!

  11. Loved some of your lines - especially about the produce and its dignity! The and dance routine went on a little too long for me, as did the pepper (at this time, later in the story this detail would work).
    Love to read more.

  12. I liked this all the way through, so I'll just offer a couple of small tweaks:

    I'd drop "calmly" in the dignity sentence; it just isn't necessary.

    I'd cut the second and third sentences of the third paragraph and merge it with the fourth, just to move things along.

    That's it. I really enjoyed the rest, and I would definitely turn the page.

  13. I like how you set up the tone of their relationship, which seems very caring; Allie takes her time in selecting the ingredients for Daemon's favorite dinner. However, I would agree with the other comments that some of the paragraphs could be combined and tightened. For example, you could probable leave out the third paragraph, and mention the green pepper in the paragraph that follows.