Wednesday, January 23, 2019

January Secret Agent #46

TITLE: When I Know Your Name
GENRE: Adult Romantic Suspense

Run. Get away. Now!

Listening to that inner voice, the primal thing that is instinct, Elena turned and ran. Flooded with adrenaline and vision cleared, her mind sharpened only the essential senses. Head down andfists pumping, she gained crucial momentum.

Her early morning alarm seemed a thousand years away, as was her decision to go for a run to cleanse her body of the wine she had polished off with Charlotte.

That was her first mistake.

Her second mistake was leaving her flat without her phone, assuming it was tucked in her pocket.
As she stared into the face of the stranger, she remembered him. She’d noticed him standing across the street from her apartment building on a couple of occasions. She’d discussed it, but nobody believed it was anything to do with her. But she did. Deep down, she believed it was everything to do with her, but she’d brushed it aside not wanting to make the same mistake as before. Stupid, given her family’s circumstances.

She hadn’t seen him approach as she stretched, ready to start into an easy jog, hadn’t noticed him blocking her path as she looked up to see him walk towards her. She wasn’t sure if it was the slight sneer in his smile or the car that slowed in the road behind him, but something wasn’t right.

Something was very wrong.

She bolted up the steps to her apartment building and he matched her speed with startling efficiency.
‘Not so fast.’


  1. I think this is great! I think a lot of people have similar thoughts when they go out for a run/walk. Or maybe I'm just paranoid.:) I like that you added in there something about her family, leading me to question what her family's circumstances are! You also mention a mistake that she made before, and that makes me want to read on as well.

    My only suggestion is to tighten the big paragraph (Her second mistake...". It has a lot of great information, but can be condensed a bit.

    Good luck!

  2. I love how this starts off with her internal thoughts and her decision to run. I also enjoyed how you list off her mistakes and also how we're plunged into her thoughts and pov right away.

    For me, though, the chronological order seems off. You say she turned and ran, but then you have her staring into the stranger's face--which she can't be doing if she's running away from him. Then later you say that she hadn't seen him approach-- but you already say she saw his face. I think reordering or rewording some of that will help with the order of what happens. Or maybe just deleting the sentence "as she stared into the face of the stranger..."

    I am also curious why she goes for a run alone if she's seen this guy hanging around and suspects he's got something to do with her. Be careful not to make her seem too foolish here.

    The ending of this section makes me really want to keep reading. Good job building suspense.

  3. Hi! I enjoyed reading this and definitely want to find out what happened to her in the past (her family's circumstances) and what's going to happen after she hears, "Not so fast."
    But you start out with: "Head down and fists pumping, she gained crucial momentum."
    And then below you say: "As she stared into the face of the stranger, she remembered him."
    This is a little confusing because if she's bolting away from him then something should happen before she's staring him in the face.
    I think just a tweaking of the order of the paragraphs would help the reader understand better the logical progression of events.
    Good job!

  4. I am very intrigued by this, particularly her family circumstances. As others have mentioned, there are a few inconsistencies and things that can be tightened up to make this stronger writing. What are her motivations to run despite this guy lurking around? I want to read more!

  5. I think the compelling idea in your opening is that the character believes the stranger is there because of her. Most women have probably experienced this kind of thought, and the fear that goes with it. The writing is sometimes confusing, but I think it's just a matter of giving the action closer attention.

  6. Something seems out of order here, or something. She's doing a lot of thinking for an opening.

    Also, "hadn’t noticed him blocking her path as she looked up to see him walk towards her." doesn't make much sense to me. She saw him or she didn't, right?

  7. I like how you subtly drop hints about her family situation and other really details. This is off to an exciting start!

    I second some of the other critiques about the "Not so fast" line confusing me a little. They're both running at top speed at this point? So if he's talking, he'd be gasping out the words, not sounding so nonchalant? Or shouting them at her back? Alternatively, I could see him saying something like this if he manages to get in front of her and block her.

  8. You’re jumping around quite a bit. Mentioning the wine she had last night and forgetting her phone and observing primal instincts… it all distances us from the action. If you’re going to start with her running, then just say something about adrenaline pushed her to run faster, how could she be so stupid, she’d seen him twice before outside her apartment and dismissed him, Elena rounded a corner and dared a glance behind her, stupid, so stupid, especially given her family’s circumstances, etc., etc. Or something along those lines. If you’re going to start with action, commit to the action.

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