Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February Secret Agent #49

TITLE: Teaching the Cowboy
GENRE: Romance

“I’ve been holding my tongue for the past minute afraid you’d bite my head off, but, s***, honey, I think we passed it.”

Veronica Silver kept her eyes locked on the deserted highway ahead and said nothing. She meditated on the hazy horizon ahead. She ground her teeth. With a quick flick of her gaze to the right, she growled.

“Yeesh.” Her co-driver, and best friend of more than two decades, cautiously extended a hand and gave her shoulder a squeeze. “Ronnie, that means we have to turn around,” he said in that pedantic, patronizing tone that always made her wonder why they were friends at all.

She tightened her grip on the steering wheel and eased her foot off the accelerator. “I know what it means, Phil.”

He eased his hand away and reoriented the paper map he held on his lap. They’d picked it up at rest stop somewhere in Nebraska. Phil thought it’d been funny when Ronnie’s phone lost 4G, 3G, and golly-gee, for that matter. He’d laughed and made some quip about how his network had more cellular towers than any other carrier in the country. He’d navigated them from the point of Ronnie’s cellular dead zone in Ogallala to Kimball, and then his majestic cellular bauble took a crap, too. They were navigating in analog, and doing so was testing the mettle of their longtime acquaintance.

“What time are they expecting you?”

Ronnie performed a three-point turn in five points before answering. “Eleven.”


  1. First, I really liked the voice, especially the cell phone humor in the last paragraph. I think you could play around with the tension between the characters in the first few lines a little bit more, but definitely nice beginning!

  2. I like the connection between the characters. Can see a little conflict starting. I like the first line.

  3. I like the back and forth dialogue, but I actually found the cell phone bit a tad unessecary

  4. I guess I'm not really hooked 'cuz I don't get a sense of conflict. I get that they're lost and late, but what should make me like the MC enough to care?

    It may just need a little rearranging, I dunno. I've been warned by agents not to start a story with dialogue. Start with setting and establishment, they said...

    I think it's personal preference, but you may find people would rather not read conversation when they don't know the characters yet. Maybe rearrange?

  5. I like the first line a lot, and your characters seem like people I'd like to get to know better. The only thing that tripped me up was in the second paragraph--the line about Veronica meditating on the hazy horizon. To me, meditating sounds peaceful and happy, so it didn't seem to match the rest of the paragraph where she's clearly tense.

  6. A good opening scene. Good enough so I'm resorting to some picky details. (That means it's really worth tweaky a bit.) So here goes. Ignore all this if it doesn't work for you. In the opening line, I'd delete "for the past minute." I just don't think someone would say it that way. Without that phase it sounds more authentic to me. In the next paragraph --maybe you could fix what appears to be a contradiction by saying something like..."she ground her teeth and tried to meditate..." In the fifth paragraph you might delete the word "paper". All picky things. But a good piece of writing deserves a close read.

  7. Loved the first line and cell phone humor, however I am not sure I would continue to read. I am probably the only one who thought this, but the entire part before the cell phone bit...primarily the growling by Ronnie and cautiousness by Phil gave me the sense that Ronnie has some sort of menatl or physical disorder. I am wondering where they are headed...I am thinking a medical specialist just from the "sense" I got as I stated above. Missing "a" in: They’d picked it up at (a) rest stop somewhere in Nebraska. I also agree that delete "for the past minute" should be deleted. I do find your writing has good flow over all and I do like your humor.

  8. What stuck out for me here was that Veronica seems very bad tempered. I'm not sure I could stick with her if she's going to be like that the whole time. And Ronnie seems nice. I didn't get that he was pedantic and patronizing.

  9. Sorry^ I meant to say Phil seems nice.