Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March Secret Agent #15

GENRE: Upmarket Women's Fiction

The painting opposite the grill was missing. Sold. It matched the one I already owned—a homeless musician embossed over skyscrapers. Together the two works would have provided a private concert of city life dissonance, great architecture clashing with Dallas’ forgotten souls. But I owned a single piece, a hollow song of solitude. I considered the artist of both paintings my rival, only she never knew it.

Above me in the near-empty club, came the sounds of scrambling and thumping and then soft padding of feet down the unpolished steps. What I noticed when I had first met Moonrock Nick was his tangled mess of curly, blond hair. The second thing was underneath the ravages of fifteen years of continuous drug usage, he had the warm, chiseled features of a seraph. If it wasn’t for drugs, Nick’s beauty would have been painful for mortal eyes. As it was, the shame of his loss was painful for me to see.

Nick gave me a warm hug, holding me tighter and longer than was comfortable. I struggled against the urge to break free. After he let go, shyness crept across his face. He looked as though he had been caught staring at the pretty girl in class. A certain endearing innocence clung to him, but I could never love him, not in the way he wanted.

“What happened to the painting?” I asked.

His gaze lingered over what was no longer there. “I’m sorry. I tried to hold onto it for you.”


  1. A potentially intriguing situation. I don't know much about the protagonist, the voice, but Nick seems to be a believable character and a good foil.

    Still, I don't have enough of the tone/voice to draw me in.

  2. I'm quickly intrigued as to why your MC feels that the artist is her rival. I like the setting of tone with "Dallas' forgotten souls" and "hollow song of solitude." Something tells me that this has something to do with why she can't love Nick. I'd be eager to learn more.

  3. It's a bit hard to judge this because I don't yet have a sense of where it is going, but I like the way you describe Nick, especially the physicality of that long hug. I will say that your voice feels like you may be writing a bit tight. The first paragraph, especially, feels like you were possibly putting a bit too much pressure on yourself to get it right (totally understandable!), which makes certain moments feel a tad forced to me. It's clear you can write, though. I'd be curious to see how the selection unfolded if you tried writing it a bit more relaxed. I bet it would still be evocative, but might flow a bit better.

  4. This isn't one of my favored genres, so take this with a grain of salt. I felt like there wasn't enough tension or precursors to conflict in this section. Hints of conflict came and went, but I didn't get a clear picture of who the main character was or what her story was going to be like.

    I was also confused by the first paragraph and had to read it a couple times to understand. Namely, I still am not sure if the missing picture is identical to the one she owns or if it's a companion piece. (Nor am I sure that it matters, which is partly why I got stuck.)