Wednesday, January 23, 2019

January Secret Agent #32

TITLE: The Unfairness of Us
GENRE: Adult Suspense

   I’d love to start counting right about now, maybe even out loud.  But I know well enough to reserve my coping skills. After all, no one wants to realize they are trying my patience. Instead, I am genuinely attempting to stay cool, calm, and collected.
    “Do you need help with your bags?” the middle-aged, impeccably dressed woman enquires in far too sweet a voice. Before I can answer, she predictably adds, “Not that I could assist you, but I’m sure someone here might.”
    I reply firmly, “I’ll be fine.” A lie in the grand scheme of things, but concerning carrying up a duffle bag, a backpack, and my cross-body bag, yeah, I got this.
    She ushers me to a mahogany staircase, which is so clean, and substantial that they appear to have been installed in the nick of time for my arrival.
    She grasps me, preventing me from continuing further. The grip heats my shoulder, and her intent to welcome me has the opposite effect. Instead, I envision myself flying up the stairs leaving her far behind, but that is not the case. I must play nice. I need a place to stay and her home, a step above an average Airbnb, fits the bill nicely.
    The room I am renting is meant for visiting professors or high tech geniuses, in town for short periods of time to fix big problems. Someone like me, with my plans, should not be here in such a charming home.


  1. Oooh, I like this. Obviously this young woman has developed a coping mechanism - counting - to deal with some very stressful life situations. And I'm assuming then that she must have experienced many such situations already. I get the feeling she's at this place to perhaps hide out since her plans are not typical of those who usually stay at this residence. I am very interested in knowing her background and why she's at this rental place and why is the woman pulling her back from proceeding up the stairs?
    Good job.

  2. I can't connect the grasp preventing her from continuing further, with the intent to welcome her. That doesn't seem very welcoming! Hopefully we find out quickly what the MC's plans are. I do kind of like the MC so far, but it would entirely depend on what she is there for!

  3. I assume the MC is a woman? I'm left wondering who 'someone like her' is ... so I'm curious enough to read a bit more. But I had to read through the text a few times to connect with it, and I think it's the volume of 'internal commentary' that may be a bit off-putting for me. A part of me thinks, okay, the MC is just tired and grumpy, but another part of me does not like this person, and since the story is told in from her POV, I want to like her.

  4. You have a great hook and a nice opening. You made me want to care about her. Your narrator seems likeable and caring enough for me to read more.

    Minor nits: use contractions like I'm and they're in prose. Use adverbs sparingly and not with tags. Can you show how her voice was firm, how she was genuine, etc. You need a period after firmly. Overall, I would read more. Good luck.

  5. I am confused why their patience is being tried at the opening. Not sure how they have been annoyed so maybe start with that? Then go into the exchange. I was thrown off when I realized they were at someone's house bc I thought the woman who talked was a airport employee or hotel maybe. Then I wonder why she randomly grabs the person carrying a bunch of bags. I am intrigued at the end though, what is "the plans"?? :)

  6. I think this is a bit all over the place. It’s hard to tell where she is, who she is, what she wants, what concerns her. We finally get an idea of where she is near the end with Airbnb, but I have no idea why she’s annoyed. Is this impeccably dressed woman the Airbnb owner? That would be unusual. The staircase is so clean and big that is seems like it was installed in the nick of time for her. I’m sorry, I don’t think that makes much sense. She grasps me… perhaps “grasps my shoulder” more appropriate here? The way it’s phrased, it sounds like the impeccably dressed woman is halting her to try to tell her something important or to convey something, but then it doesn’t actually go anywhere, and it definitely doesn’t seem to have anything to do with being welcoming.

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