Thursday, February 14, 2019

First Kiss #2

TITLE: Stoking Hope
GENRE: Adult Historical Fiction

Frances and Joe are college students, dating for two months. They take a walk after their chemistry class on a cold March day in 1941.

Frances scanned the treetops, searching for signs of spring but the trees were bare, the glass spires of the conservatory clearly visible.

Joe stomped his feet. “Let’s go inside.” He emptied his pocket, handing the coins to the gatekeeper.
She opened her mouth to protest. Joe being indulgent with his scant funds filled her with guilt, but the warm and perfumed air was so enticing. She closed her mouth. They wandered through damp rooms overflowing with exotic plants and flowers, pausing to read the small identification tags and trying to pronounce the long names aloud.

“Glad I’m trying to be a chemist, not a botanist,” Joe said, squinting at the words printed beneath a tall plant with leaves as large as elephant ears, hairy vines snaking up the trunk. He pushed open the door to the Orchid Room.

“Mmm,” Frances mumbled, overwhelmed by the intoxicating scent. Dozens of blooms in dozens of colors, quivering atop rubbery stems. She bent, her nose inches from blood-red petals. Two women approached, the only other people in the room, and Frances murmured a greeting, straightening to let them pass. She worked her way into the tight space, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. Feeling Joe at her side, she opened her eyes. The women had disappeared; they were alone. She raised her chin and Joe leaned down, his eyes a brilliant green, mimicking the lush plants. Her first kiss. Everything was as she dreamed—heart pounding, lips tingling—except it wasn’t Mickey.


  1. Great closing line. Poor Joe; it's not his fault he's not Mickey.

    A few sentences feel kind of long. Maybe they could be separated into smaller, tighter sentences. I'm curious about the choice of words like elephant ears, hairy vines and rubbery stems -- not usually the sort of romantic imagery you see leading up to a kiss. Is that a deliberate way of illustrating that Frances would rather be with someone else? I'm intrigued.

    Good luck!

  2. I loved the very vivid description of the environment. But most of all, I need to know WHO MICKEY IS? Very interesting and I want to read more.

  3. Great little passage here. I agree with the rest on who's Mickey and long sentences. Try to make them shorter. I love the atmospheric chemistry between the two of them and the description of the scenery. One nit: try not to start sentences with -ing words and rework Feeling Joe sentence a bit. Nice job!

  4. I think the characters and situation are well described, and I really liked the twist that he was not Mickey. That hints at lots of angst to come and draws me in.

  5. There's not much description of the kiss itself here. It happened so fast I wasn't totally sure it had happened. Other than that, great job!