Wednesday, November 4, 2009

51 Secret Agent

TITLE: Curve Ball Baby
GENRE: Romance

The pain felt as if it was splitting her open. Karly Huffman took a deep breath and tried to focus on the nurse moving purposefully around her hospital room. She was desperate to think about anything other than the growing intensity of the contractions curling deep insider her belly.

“You’re doing a great job, Karly.”


“Yes. The doctor will be here any minute. You’re close,” the nurse said with a warm smile.

“Okay,” Karly managed, her eyes watering as she searched the hallway outside her room once more. She knew her mom and sister were caught in traffic. Going into labor two weeks early, at four o’clock in the morning no less, was not the most convenient thing to do. She was truly alone, and it felt like the impending birth of her son was more punishment for the mistakes of her past. Nothing was as it was supposed to be. Her trusted doctor was away on vacation. The support of her family was missing, and the pain she was experiencing had to be worse than normal.

“Good morning. Are we ready to have a baby in here?” A man’s voice interrupted her misery as he walked into the room, his back facing her as he grabbed some gloves and leaned over to study a clipboard sitting on the counter. Karly watched him, her breath catching as the stunning color of his disheveled hair sent shivers down her aching back. She would know that hair anywhere. It couldn’t be. She fisted her hands in the sheets on either side of her hips and listened as the frantic beeping of her heart monitor accelerated. The doctor turned to face her, a look of concern on his face until his eyes met hers.


  1. Very nice job creating tension here. I would definitely read more to find out who the doctor is and why Karly is so freaked out by his presence. A minor detail -- you mention going into labor at 4 in the morning, yet her family is stuck in traffic. I live in a pretty congested area and even here traffic doesn't really get hopping until after 6 a.m. I realize her family could be coming from a distance ... or she waited three hours to go to the hospital or call, etc., and that may be explained in subsequent paragraphs.

  2. Hooked! I definitely want to read more. Like Gigi, the traffic sounded odd, unless you mean 4pm. Who's the doc?

  3. Don't tell me it's...???

    I will be honest, the childbirth scene kind of went a little long and too much back story, but I sat up when it said, disheveled hair looking familiar.

    Good hook, but I wish there was some way to really catch reader's attention in opening paragraphs.

  4. I'm not as captured. The dialog seems trite and it feels too much like a soap opera to me. I also was taken out of the story, wondering who gets caught in 4 a.m traffic.

  5. Oh, that last paragraph was a great hook. I'm intensely curious, guessing and absolutely want to know more.

    The ramp up was a little long, as previously commented. Time and traffic were odd points, but I do appreciate the feelings expressed about being alone without the support of family or doctor. It made me very clearly wonder where the father was.

    I think this could be a great opening if the beginning was made a bit more concise to give the great hook a little more impact.

  6. Agreed with above comments about why family not there- traffic not as good a reason as unplanned.
    I fear you telegraphed too much about who doctor was - father? by not mentioning where the father was. You might do better to let his voice versus his face affect her. She may have her eyes closed during a contraction but his voice brings her back into focus.
    I thought your description was great. It painted a good picture of what she was going through.

  7. Great tension building. Watch your words--you've got "insider" when I think you mean "inside" in the first paragraph. I definitely want to know how Karly feels about this guy--but I hope that she doesn't forget about her pain the process, because I can tell you it's not possible to forgot at that moment!

  8. I was losing interest in the childbirth scene (and wondering how her family was stuck in traffic at 4am) but started to get hooked when she realised the doctor was familiar. I'd read on to find out who he was.

  9. I can't say I'm hooked, sorry. Some typos, Telling rather than Showing, and passive voice, plus the big chunk of infodumping in the middle didn't engage me in the scene. Also, the "stunning color of his disheveled hair" felt a bit overdramatic to me as, unless it's dyed blue or pink or some other outrageous color, how is it "stunning?"

  10. Hooked. But the action that happens in the last paragraph is where your story starts, I think. You might consider reworking it so that her recognition of the doctor happens in the first paragraph instead of the sixth.

  11. Not quite hooked. Here's why: I think this is a great start, but it needs editing. I suggest you join a critique group. It will help you refine your writing skills so that this story really flows. You've got a lot of promise here. Thanks for sharing!

  12. I really liked the mystery surrounding the doctor. Although, when I first read it, I thought, yeah right, she's going to get shivers in the middle of labor. I think it works though.

    Good luck!

  13. So who is he to her? I'm hooked enough to want to know what bomb is about to drop.

  14. I'd read on, just to find out how the doc and her react to each other, and I don't read romance. My only niggle is, I'm not sure of her age, for some reason I got the impression she was pretty young, not much above a teen.


  15. The thing that knocked me out of the story was " he walked into the room, his back facing her as he grabbed some gloves..."

    The four a.m. thing didn't bother me--lots of ways to explain that, but the doctor's entrance here...?!?

    Fix that nitpicky bit of physical action and I'm up for reading on, at least to discover who they are to each other.

  16. OK, I'm hooked by the mystery doc. And to the commenters who were bothered by the 4AM bit, rare is the first time mother who delivers rapidly. Support could be trying to get there for the end, not the beginning.

  17. This reads like a first draft. Some sloppy errors and things that should be cleaned up before sending it anywhere. Huge overuse of the word "was". On the other hand, it could be polished up to become a gem. A little more work needed.

  18. I'd read more, but I also questioned her family being stuck in traffic at 4am... seems a little unrealistic. But I want to know how she knows the doctor so good start! Good luck!

  19. At first I was worried it was another "birth" scene, which we've seen so much of in movies and on TV. So the opening didn't grab me, but the twist with the doctor has potential. Although what's the worst that could happen? He's an ex-lover? Wouldn't she have some foreknowledge of the doctors on call? My wife knew every single doctor in the OB-GYN practice--and her doctor WAS on vacation when she gave birth. First sentence has a danger word: "felt." It's a "telling" word, not a showing one, plus the pain itself didn't feel anything. Show us how she feels through her thoughts/actions, don't tell us she felt something.

  20. OH, my....the 4am thing. I know. In later paragraphs, Karly's family arrives. They live about four hours north, and by the time she called them on the way to the was almost 5am. They are caught in morning rush hour/Los Angeles traffic by the time they're even close to the city. Thank you to EVERYONE for the wonderful comments. They've all been very helpful.

    This is definitely a contemporary romance, and I'm comfortable with the "soap opera" comment, because I have no issue admitting that's what I write. ;)

    For those of you wondering...the doctor is the father of Karly's baby. An uncharacteristic but intensely passionate night led to the baby's conception, and he was called away to the hospital, leaving her with no contact information.

    The rest is backwards family and trust building, conflict, conflict, and more sappiness.

    I only noticed the typo, "insider", in the first paragraph after about 10 proof readings and, of course, just after I submitted...just a testament to the need for a fresh set of eyes when editing.

    Thanks again to everyone. It's been amazing to participate in such a wonderful contest.