Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January Secret Agent #30

TITLE: Letters From Rome
GENRE: Romance

I kept looking over at the handsome man across the Piazza. No, I thought to myself. He’s not just handsome. He’s exquisite. Tall, dark hair, dressed in jeans and a shirt that fit so perfectly. You could tell that he was fit, athletic. He also had that Italian masculinity, an air of confidence about him. I nudged my friend and pointed my head ever so slightly toward him.

“Is it my imagination or is he looking over at us?” I asked.

“He’s definitely checking you out.”

“You think? He is really gorgeous. Totally out of my league though.” I glanced over at him and he looked my way at the same time. We locked eyes and he smiled right at me. I shyly looked away. When I glanced over again, he appeared to be deep in conversation with two other guys. They started strolling in our direction.

Claire and I had just walked over from Via dei Coronari where we had bought gelato and we were relaxing in the sun in one of my favorite places, Piazza Navona in Rome. “Oh, my god. I have died and gone to heaven. I just love gelato. I cannot get enough of the stuff. How much do you think we have eaten this summer?” asked my friend, Claire.

“Probably enough to gain 20 pounds,” I said as she laughed. It was one of those magical days – sunny and warm, with a vibrant blue sky.


  1. This is a good start. You've got the meeting set up nicely. I think it would be better to put the gelato stuff before they realize he is checking her out. This puts a small break in the action and gives us more of a relaxed Roman afternoon feel. Plus I think they would be distracted from Gelato once the guys start walking.

    1. Thank you. I actually had that at the start originally and changed it. But how you put it makes perfect sense!

  2. The setting was vivid and I almost felt like I was there (great choice, by the way). I agree with Silas that the gelato part should have been in the beginning and I wanted to see more interiority vs. physical telling to get a better sense of the character. I did like the line "Totally out of my league though." It made the character feel more geniune.

  3. I love the setting. I can really imagine the gelato (maybe add flavors?) and a warm Italian summer. Nice!

    I'd agree with the others to start with the gelato and talking to the friend, then moving to checking out the guy. I think you could strengthen the part about checking him out by making it more immediate, instead of in progress. Instead of "I kept looking over at...", maybe something like "For just a second, dark eyes locked on mine." Like it just happened.

    Then you could go into the description of how he looks. I don't think you need phrases like "you could tell" or "not just handsome" or "He's exquisite." The other descriptions (tall, dark hair, fit, athletic, air of confidence) you have are more specific and paint a good picture.

    I also like the little back and forth of looking at each other until he starts walking over. Good luck with this!

  4. I agree that the last two paragraphs should be the first two paragraphs. Then it would flow well. I mean, once those exquisite men start walking over, they're not going to start discussing gelato.

    I also thought the addition of "said my friend, Claire" was weird. We already know she's her friend. I don't think it needs to be stated so clearly, especially by then.

    Other than that, I liked this! It felt natural, had a great setting, and I can't wait to see what happens next!

  5. I thought the description of the guy was overdone and too clinical. You don't need to throw it all in up front (particularly in the opening paragraph which is precious real estate). Build in his description slowly.

  6. Having some “man candy” show up on page one is a nice way to start a romance (at least for me!). It’s great that you show how the MC interacts with her girlfriend too, so we get a sense that she’s someone we’d like to have as our gal pal. The pacing and suspense is thrown a bit off by interrupting the stare-down though. It’s delaying that either swoon-worthy or terribly awkward first conversation we’re hoping for between her and the Italian.