Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January Secret Agent #2

TITLE: Greed & Jealousy
GENRE: Adult Romance

Wind blew my hair and a large, black hill of snow melted and ran like a river through the parking lot as I silently chanted I hate my life over and over again. I stopped by the river, lifting my eyes to the stale concrete building ahead of me and back down again. My mother once told me, “Find what’s real. It’s not in words.”

I hiked up my jeans… and jumped.

A blast of air-conditioning hit my bare arms as the glass door to the DMV closed. The fact I wore a sleeveless shirt in early April, as the snow melted was a true oddity in Minnesota.

My eyes slid over the crowd. Packed in chairs, Mothers soothed crying children, old people bickered in supposed hushed voices, and across the room a man, with dark curling hair stood with his back to me.

Taking up residence at a tall counter and digging through my purse, I searched for my form and only found Andrew's, I cursed and muttered something about ripping it to shreds until I found my own.

Charming, I know.

Someone appeared in my peripheral vision. Without looking up I called out, "Do you know the date?”

"It's Thursday," said a voice laced so thick with honey it reminded me of sweetness slowly dripping from a spoon. Enamored, I lifted my head and peered into eyes a light clear blue that mimicked ocean water and winter sky. The voice came from the man across the room.


  1. "Ocean water and winter sky." Wonderful imagery! I also like that the first paragraph begins with movement and action.

  2. I liked the action, but I got confused by a few of the images. Black hill of snow was unusual since dirty snow is usually brown or gray. The other was the honey one. His tone might be better said to be so laced with sweetness that it reminded her of honey dripping off a spoon. I know absolutely nothing about weather in Minnesota other than it's cold in winter. I know up here in the NE we wouldn't have AC on in April though. I wondered about that. I like how you're drawing in the reader using their senses.

  3. I really like the voice here. I can feel her annoyance nicely done by describing the bleak weather, Andrew (whoever he is at this point, but clearly he's pissed her off), and of course, being at the DMV. Note that "Mothers" is capitalized, which was a tiny bit distracting since she just quoted her mother and I thought for a split second she was present. Here’s where I got stuck for a bit: I had to re-read the first paragraph. Somehow the progression of stopping by the river, repeatedly chanting that she hated her life, quoting her mom, then jumping, made me think for a beat, that she was indeed by a (real) river trying to end her life. Maybe drop the river metaphor there and perhaps call it what it is (since river was already used as a simile) and make her jump over the puddle? Otherwise, strong voice. I already have an idea of what she’s like this early on in the story. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  4. This is a promising opening. I'm not sure that what I thought was a suicide attempt at an actual river next to a parking lot sets the right tone for this story. Otherwise, I'm able to follow the excerpt pretty well. I'm not sold on the use of commas where periods might serve better. (For example, after "Andrew's.") I'm also not sure that she's able to look into the nicely-described eyes of the man who's across the room. (The voice seemed close, but he gets transported by the final sentence.) It's only 250 words, and criticism can confuse a lot of issues. I'd be willing to read more. Good luck!

  5. I'm not much of an expert in the Romance genre, but this looks interesting. To begin with what looks like a suicide attempt is enticing. I love the imagery you create. The black hill of snow flowing into the parking lot is kind of surreal and beautiful. However, I got confused when she jumped and the next line puts her at a BMW. The honey-sweet voice is interesting, and I wonder if it might be more inciting if it comes right up behind her. I hope this helps!

  6. Wow. Romance isn't my genre, but you had me the whole way. Even from the first couple of lines I had a strong image in my mind of who the character was. Loved your imagery. I would definitely like to read more.

  7. For me, the action was too jumpy - she's in a parking lot, then she's by the river, then she's jumping, then (anticlimax) she's in the DMV (whatever that is - might be that I'm Australian?).

    Then we jump to a pile of people sitting around, then she's at the counter looking for a form - all too short and sharp and no real connection between any of them - I found myself zoning out about half way through. You didn't show me anything about the protagonist except a disjointed trip to the DMV.

  8. The first sentence is quite long and not as clear as to what’s going on as it could be. I’m not sure if it’s intentional or not, but it sounds like she’s jumping to commit suicide—I was a bit thrown off when suddenly she’s at the DMV. It also is a bit of a bleak opening for a romance novel with this dark imagery (and suicidal tone, even if that’s not what you were going for). It would be nice to tweak the opening so we connect with the MC about having to go to the dreaded DMV and interject some personality with more of the “Charming, I know” sass you hinted at.

  9. I think your first sentence is too long. Choose the description of the wind or the melting snow. But its an intriguing sentence. Probably something teens can relate to. Oh wait. This isn't YA. Mentioning her mother, and the overall voice, your MC sounds young.

    After the second paragraph I'm a bit confused. She's at the river, thinking about her mom and then suddenly she's jumping into the DMV?

    Again, with the voice of the man, too much description.

    Re-reading I realized perhaps she's jumped over a puddle in front of the DMV. But you want that to be clear from the first read.

    Best of luck with revisions!