Wednesday, November 4, 2009

42 Secret Agent

TITLE: The Snap
GENRE: Women's Fiction

When the idea hit her, Robyn’s eyes widened and she gave an involuntary “Oh!” A tiny voice deep down warned that Mark wouldn't like it, but now she couldn't think of anything else. This was too good not to act on. She decided she would stand as soon as the rather comprehensive best man finished his toast, which would give her legs time to stop trembling.

The glazed eyes of the guests worked in Robyn’s favor, as no one seemed to notice the glasses vibrating on the table just above her knees. She glanced over at Mark again. His face was blank too, just like the past twelve times she’d looked at him.

The best man finished with a flourish, and just in time: the glasses teetered at the table’s edge. People clapped and then did that stupid clinking thing to make the couple kiss. Yes, yes. All very predictable.

Finally. She stood, holding onto the edge of the table for support, sure she looked like a cat in the car on the way to the vet’s office. Heads turned towards her, wondering who she was. The bride’s sister, perhaps? A close friend? A cousin? Mark looked up at her, his eyebrows raised in surprise.

She flashed him a smile, hoping to reassure him. He shook his head in warning against whatever she was going to do, but she had to keep going, especially now that she was standing. Before Mission Control in her head could morph the movement into a trip to the ladies’ room, she lurched for the microphone.


  1. If this were in book form, I would definitely keep going. I'm pretty sure the next paragraph or two will reveal what her idea is, who Mark is, heck, who Robyn is. And I'm interested. Maybe a little work with a few unnecessary words, some slightly awkward phraseology (the cat in the car is a bit clunky, though the image is excellent; "the past twelve times" also seems like a mouthful--but these are easy).

    Overall, very good. I'd keep going, with interest.

  2. Agree with Elizabeth. Love the cat image (maybe just take out the "in the car" part to make it less wordy?). Overall, though -- hooked. I am definitely curious to see what happens next!

  3. I also like the story picture so far other than some cliched body language that could be written fresher (such as "flashed him a smile" and "eyebrows raised in surprise" and "finished with a flourish"). How can you make that more interesting?

    It seems Robyn is going to make an unexpected toast, and I want to know why and what she's going to say.

    Nice job. :)

  4. I'd definitely read more to find out what she's about to say. And who she is to the bride.

    "Comprehensive best man" sounded odd to me. Agree with Julie Two on the body language. "Mission Control in her head" seemed out of place here. Or awkward. But I want to continue reading.

  5. What idea? I need to know what she's reacting to else I feel like I'm being teased to keep reading.

    How does she know her eyes widened? Is she looking in a mirror?

    2nd paragraph, eyes again

    finished with a flouish seems cliched

    I read that agents and editors hate colons, but I could be wrong...

    maybe delete adverbs and weak -ing verbs and replace with stronger/more active verbs: finally, holding, hoping, going, especially, standing

    Like the Mission Control bit...put in more of that and less of flashed a smile type of comments.

    How does he know what she's going to do? Can he read minds?

    Has potential, but needs tightening.

  6. The writing could be stronger, but I'm interested to read what she has to say. And who Mark is and why does she care just a little about what he thinks. I'd take out the line about the cat in the car on the way to the vet's office. Does a cat even know where it's going? A dog maybe, since it's smarter. :)

    Maybe more details about her. Does she wipe sweaty palms against a cotton-candy pink dress best worn by preteens? Does she teeter unsteadily on dyed-to-match shoes? Just a little more...

  7. My cat knows where she's going ... it's the only place she ever goes outside the house. :) I got the visual right away, so have to disagree with others on this.

  8. I really liked this. You obviously know how to write/how to pace the narrative, and you've sucked me in. Hooked.

  9. To make this stronger you can take lines like "She decided she would stand as soon as the rather comprehensive best man finished his toast, which would give her legs time to stop trembling" and remove "she decided" because that's assumed. With a line like "She flashed him a smile, hoping to reassure him," I find it obvious why she flashes him a smile. Tightening the writing will make the action come to life.

    I'm not sure I'd continue because there is a lot of editing that needs to be done, but that's just me.

    You seemed to have hooked the others. Good luck with the SA!

  10. I like how the scene appears in layers -- first with this odd image of a woman saying "oh!" and then metaphorical-camera-panning out to show Mark, the toast, the other wedding guests, etc. Neat effect.

    I agree with the comments about ways to tighten the prose. This felt like a wordy 250 words, but I'd read on.

  11. Not really hooked, sorry. This feels like it rambles around making a point, but never gets there. There's a lot of set up for what Robyn wants to say, but she never actually does. And you kinda lost me with the rather comprehensive best man finished his toast.

  12. I think it needs tightening but I'm hooked. I want to know what she is going to say into that mic.

  13. It feels like disaster is looming...something really embarrassing. I am not sure I am totally hooked but I do kind of want to know what the punchline is in this scene.

  14. I agree with Sally. It could use a little tightening but I'm hooked and want to find out what the heck she's going to say. To play Devil's Advocate, I liked the 'comprehensive best man' bit - it told us he was rambling on without saying so.

  15. I'd read more, at least to find out what she's about to do, but I agree there could be some additional clean up with the scene to make it even stronger. Good luck!

  16. The awkward phrasing at the beginning lost me.

    Perhaps 'comprehensive' should have modified the speech and not the man.

    Similarly I was puzzled with the
    'glasses vibrating on the table just above her knees.' line.

    I liked this line better. 'His face was blank too, just like (?as it had) the past twelve times she’d looked at him.'

    She's obviously got some connection with this Mark character

    I enjoyed the cat reference too. That one made me smile.

    Finally, I'm with the folk who think that we are in for a train wreck of a speech when she gets to her feet.

  17. I really liked this. Many people can relate to those moments when you think you have a good idea and later realize - not so much. I liked the cat reference, but agree w/ Gigi to take out "in the car". I assume that she has had too much to drink and is about to really embarrass herself as well as Mark. I would keep reading.