Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October Secret Agent #10

TITLE: Walking Away
GENRE: New Adult

Mia was perfectly happy living a rather solitary life, an introvert by both birth and training. She was also a people pleaser. Not because she wanted people to like her, but because it was effective. Mia hated conflict and so she did whatever she could to avoid a fight. Go along to get along had become her life motto.

That’s how she found herself walking down the sidewalk in a clump of girls heading toward the row of parties that circled the campus. She didn’t want to be wearing other people's clothes, a shiny tank top and shorts. She hadn’t wanted to sit and have her hair curled and sprayed and styled and teased just to look like she had woken up and rushed out the door. She hated the gloss slicked across her lips and the mascara that made her lashes feel heavy. But Sarah had left her no choice. Go along to get along.

Just an hour earlier, Sarah had commanded, “Put these on.”

Mia felt the clothes fall into her lap before the words processed, covering the book she was reading on the couch. She rarely studied at the house she shared with four other girls for just this reason.

“Why?” she asked, holding the sparkled tank top up for inspection.

“Because I said to,” answered Sarah. “You are going with me on a party crawl.” And with that declaration Sarah turned and went back into the bathroom to finish her primping.

“Isn’t it a little late?”


  1. Hi. I like that your MC is an introvert. I can relate and feel for her already. I do, however, have a suggestion. Maybe start your novel with "Put these on" instead of backstory. I like the commentary about the MC, but maybe you could show us instead of tell us? Just a suggestion, though. Best written wishes to you.

  2. I agree with Vanessa. The way you're telling the story makes your MC seem like a sap. As a people-pleasing introvert, I can relate to Mia in a way, but I still want a character I can root for. I think by starting with Sarah saying, "Put these on" and then showing Mia going through the motions with her roommate (I assume that's what she is), your readers will be able to empathize with Mia.

  3. I like where you're going with this and I think it'll be a fun read.

    And I agree with the previous posters; start when Sarah drops the clothes in her lap and weave in the other stuff with her actions later.

    Best of luck with it!

  4. I'm not so sure Mia is "perfectly happy" with her life. In fact, I'm guessing that her choice to basically subvert her nature to the social norms of extroverts is a big source of conflict here. And yet, since it's the opening line, and we are told this, it has the impact of being fact. If this is not fact, consider changing it to something like, "Mia considered herself perfectly happy..."

  5. I like the first line, but the paragraphs after that don't pull me into the story enough make me want to keep reading. Can you condense this a bit?

  6. I agree with previous posters. I would cut the first paragraph altogether with the exception of the "Go along to get along" line... you could start with some version of that line - although I also like the above suggestion of starting with "Put these on."

    Even without the first paragraph character analysis, I definitely get that Mia is an introvert and a people-pleaser from the rest of the excerpt. You do an excellent job of showing already - so there's no need to "tell."

  7. I'm not a fan of starting with broad statements describing the main character's philosophy and personality. Add that to an almost immediate flashback and I'm shaking my head, saying, "No, no, no." But if you started with Sarah commanding her to put these on, it would be much more engaging. You could demonstrate her introversion and her people pleasing instead of having to tell us about them. Also, you tell us she's wearing a shiny tank top then mention the tank top again when Sarah drops it in her lap. Cutting the first two paragraphs would avoid the repetition. (Also also, shiny and sparkly don't paint the same mental picture. Which one is it?)

    This sounds fun. If it were tweaked a little, I'd enjoy reading more.

  8. I like how this starts with the character about to go to her first college party. That really sets the tone for the genre. Good job.

    Can you show us instead of tell us these various aspects of her personality? And not all at once. Let us get to know her one situation at a time. It's when you put a character through her paces that her true colors will show through.

    Also, I strongly advise not to put a flashback in your very first scene. It halts the action and brings the story to a screeching halt. I think the flashback you have here should be the beginning of your story, only make it happen in the now instead of in the past.

    Good luck!

  9. I agree with the comments about starting with "Put this on." That's your story. And as others have said, you can show, through her actions, all the things you tell us in the first two pargs.

    You might also eliminate the line of her being perfectly happy, because she's not living a solitary life that satisfies her. As we see here, she's being bullied into going to a party she doesn't want to attend, and she's wearing clothes she doesn't want to wear. She's not happy with the situation at all, but is just going along. And how solitary is her life if she has friends dragging her to parties? She seems neither solitary or happy.

  10. This is a good “type” for new adult. Mia coming out of her shell could be an exciting journey. We hope the line about Mia hating conflict is some foreshadowing of lots of conflict to come, which will be great for Mia to try and cope with.

  11. I like Abbe's suggestion to cut the first paragraph and show your main character in the setting where she can be observed by the reader doing introverted things rather than being told it. The first paragraph might work in context later in a scene, though if you are doing well at showing those elements, it won't be necessary to spell it out. The details about her clothes and makeup could easily be worked in with the scene among dialogue and action. Mia tugging at her too short skirt, her hair feeling too big or it not moving naturally.

    I agree with the Secret Agent that this seems like good New Adult themes to explore.

  12. I agree with those above regarding that first paragraph. Cutting it out will bring the action forward, and already shows her personality, rather than telling it. We'll also find out right away if she says yes, which would be telling. :)

    Good luck with this!!!