Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March Secret Agent #14

TITLE: With Back Straight and Head Held High
GENRE: Women's Fiction - Historical

The feeling of loneliness is almost palpable as I sit on my comfortable tufted carriage seat, gazing down upon an abandoned, dilapidated house by the river that at one time was my home. Home is not the correct word. House? Shelter? Sad dwelling that I wanted to be a home, would be more precise, but who cares anymore? Certainly not me. Not my family either. The mother and father who gladly gave me up to a man twice my age, a man they did not know, for a couple acres of bottom land, land that was fertile, land which would help feed their growing family, or at least make a few coins that could keep a roof over their heads. Oh, well, that is not why I came back to Pennsylvania. It is time to leave this place of immense sadness, which I feel even now. My heart races as I tell my driver to take me into town. No one will recognize me and that is in my beat interest.

What would that young scared girl who was brought to this house think of middle aged me? A woman who killed a man in a fit of anger, a woman who conducted a multi-year sexual affair with a married man and looking back, believe that both were morally acceptable; a young poor girl looking at the older woman in an expensive automobile, one of the riches women in the state of Ohio.


  1. I am very intrigued to know what is going on. However, I think you could do without the rhetorical questions. It seems that they can frustrate the reader because the narrator is asking questions that we clearly don't know the answers to (yet). Your first two lines are golden, but I think you can smooth it out a little more from there so it's a little less confusing as to what's going on and a little more gripping.

  2. Think about ways you can show the loneliness and sadness more than telling it. What is it about her old house that looks lonely? Why is the place filled with immense sadness?

    Be careful of typos (last sentence should read "best" not "beat" interest.

    There is a lot of information given in the second paragraph, maybe a little too much. Consider hinting at it more to draw the reader in. Or pulling back on some of the specifics. Saying she killed a man is intriguing; mentioning that it was in a fit of anger might be too much for the first page. Maybe build up to that more.

  3. This has nice tone and voice. The second paragraph might be a good place to show some setting, along with your character's reaction to what she sees. This could then show us about the character, while getting her out of her head explaining things.

  4. Chekov had a wonderful quote: "Don't tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint on the broken glass." I'd say that dilapidated house has lots of broken glass - edges that cut and probably are still sharp because - despite the mc's claim she doesn't care - she came back to Pennsylvania to see it. A few specifics tell us so much more than a general statement.

    I like the last paragraph - sounds like interesting!

  5. So things really heat up in the second paragraph, eh? There is a HUGE difference between these two paragraphs because the first one is packed with a lot of description that doesn't, ultimately, tell us very much, while your second gives us character age, a compelling conflict, a sense of the character's personality, etc. I don't think you really need the majority of that first paragraph. That said, I would probably rework that second paragraph a bit more so that she's being a little bit more reflective and you're giving the reader time to catch up to these revelations. I'm certainly intrigued!