Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Secret Agent #11

GENRE: Adult HIstorical Romance

Miles City, Montana - 1944

Years later, I thought, No one would believe what happened. I knew The Daily Star reported it because I wrote the story. At the time, I doubted it would go any further. No one would want to think their town could be bombed, and by their own army. That’s why, now, I want to get everything down, in writing, before I forget something important. But before I get ahead of myself, I’d better start right at the beginning. It was almost spring when I arrived here.

            “Miles City,” the bus driver yelled out. “There’ll be an hour layover here so I suggest you take care of your personal needs and get something to eat. We’ll go straight on to Billings from here. No stops.”

            I got my beat-up valise down from the luggage rack, checked the seams on my stockings, adjusted my newly purchased lady’s fedora and walked off the bus, head held high. I was ready to conquer anyone or anything that tried to prevent my career from blossoming, my bravado belying the sweat running down my back. The Miles Howard Hotel stood directly in front of me. A giant boot spur jutted out from its marquee. The Stockman’s Bar sat on one side of the building, the Golden Spur Bar on the other, and the Montana Bar was a few feet down the street. Guess I know what to expect from this burg.

            The nondescript two-story hotel told me this was a no-nonsense town.


  1. I like the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs, but the intro gives too much away without really drawing us in. I'd either turn paragraph 1 into a single sentence, or get rid of it altogether.

  2. I'm confused by the subtitle at the top. Is that the time and place of when she's writing this story (which is where it starts) or is that when/where she's flashing back to? If the latter, the title should probably come when she's flashing back.

    Also, I'm not sure I would both with this tiny flashback intro unless it's going to be a regular thing in your story (meaning, she's going to alternate between these journal entries into the past and today's life).

    Good luck!

  3. I didn't care for the first paragraph. I know it sets up what's going to happen, but I'd prefer to see the story just start, in paragraph 2. And I think you do a great job in setting the scene - I felt fully as though this was happening in 1944. The tone seemed just right!

  4. This first paragraph is giving a lot away (that she will ultimately write a story on the town being bombed) and the idea of “I’d better start at the beginning” seems unnecessary. I’d start right in the action rather than a flashback—and instead use that information to create tension in the early pages. Why is she traveling to Miles City? What is she hoping to accomplish there? We are getting a lot of small details setting the scene, but nothing outside of the first paragraph to make us want to read on to see what will happen (and the first paragraph, I’d argue, is potentially giving away too much).