Wednesday, March 10, 2010

44 Secret Agent

GENRE: Romantic Women's Fiction

The last time Angelita Barros saw her father was six years ago, the day he threw her out of the house. So when she drove up to her boutique and saw him fingering the shoes she’d created, the same shoes that made waves in the industry where names like Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo were synonymous with style and fashion, her stomach dropped to her knees. One look was all it took and she knew everything she’d built since then--her business, her success, her sanity--meant nothing. How dare he--after everything he’d done, after everything he hadn’t done--come trespass on the life she’d built despite him?

There was gray in his hair now, just a dash around the temples, and she saw a paunch around his beltline that hadn’t been there before, but everything else was the same. After all these years she’d recognize Davi Barros anywhere. But what was he doing inside her store? Her shoes were fun, frilly, and fabulous, the tag line Atlanta Wears magazine intended to use in their upcoming spread. From flip-flops to low-heeled sandals to drop dead gorgeous three-inch heels, Angelita Feet was becoming the brand everybody wanted, and the brand she wanted everyone to know about. Everyone but him.

Lita watched him smile at Sophie, her business partner and best friend, the only one who knew the sordid details of her past. To Sophie, Davi was no more than a stranger, a customer who deserved the best.


  1. Good hook. I'm interested to find out why her father elicits such a visceral reaction.

    One nitpick, I'm thinking this line: "the same shoes that made waves in the industry where names like Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo were synonymous with style and fashion"

    you could cut the "were synonymous with style and fashion." The whole sentence is a little bulky. Even if people aren't familiar with shoe fashion, you do a good job indicating that her shoes are fashionable, along with Blahnik and Choo. Even if people don't know who they are, we can assume they are big wigs in the shoe fashion industry.

    Hope that helps. Would definitely read more.

  2. I liked how it introduced the past at the same time she was struggling with seeing her father in the present. I also like the how the MC seems to have made a life for herself on her own and I am curious to read on and see what happens to her.

  3. I think your writing is very clear and crisp and I felt like I was in the hands of a capable writer. I would have broken paragraph two up a bit, beginning with "Her shoes were fun and fabulous" but other than that I have nothing but glowing compliments. I'm hooked!

  4. I really enjoyed this -- it's well written, fun, and the dark undertone with the father would keep me reading.

  5. I agree with V.R. Leavitt about the 1st sentence, it is a bit long. I would either cut what she suggested or break it up into two sentences.

    Other than that I loved it! :)

  6. I think your premise is strong and I like some of the details, but it seems like too much tell and too little show.

    I would like to see Angelita parking her car, eyeing him through the window, seeing his paunch and how he simpered in front of Sophie. Feel her fury in her clenched fists, etc.

    Keep up the good work!

  7. I agree with womenswrites - more show would really punch up this passage.

    I liked it - and the whole daughter-father issue had me hooked, but I agree that breaking up the first two paragraphs more would help the flow.

    I have another thought - and this is something I'm currently struggling with in my own writing. You provide a great set-up for what she's feeling when she sees her father. And I realize that you can only submit 250 words, so you need to hook your reader right away. But...for me, it's almost too much information right away. I tend to prefer books that don't give out too much in the opening scene.

    I'd almost like to read that she's tense when she sees her father - so the reader knows something isn't quite right, but not much more than that until later in the chapter or even the next chapter.

    It's tough - because you want to hook the reader right away, but you also want to leave something for the reader to wonder about!

    I'd continue to read this...I want to know what happened between them, and what's going to happen to her now.

  8. whoa! whoa! whoa! Too much information in the first paragraph! I love the first line and the following two paragraphs, but all that detail! The info dump has got to go and either fill the reader in as the story goes on or put the details in a prologue.

    The voice in your second paragraph reads wonderfully, yet is too different from the almost conversational voice of the first paragraph. IMHO, drop everything after the first line in the first paragraph, and you've got a great hook.

    Good luck!

  9. I think the second sentence is too long. I'd cut everything about the waves the shoes are making in the fashion world and just leave it at him fingering the shoes and her stomach dropping to her knees. I also agree that there's a bit too much information in the first and second paragraph, and not enough showing. I like the hook of the fun and fabulous shoes though, and the name of the magazine was a nice way of letting the reader know where the story is set.

  10. I'm into really crisp first lines and catchy first paragraphs.

    This would lose me, but I think the material is there to make it work.

  11. I like your tone and hook. I'd suggest using the first sentence as a stand-alone opening paragraph, then pruning the subsequent detail down to her view of him fingering her shoes. I enjoyed the tag line about the shoes -- it reads just like magazine copy to me. The final sentence I had to read twice, b/c of the juxtaposition of Sophie's knowledge and her ignorance of Davi's appearance. I understood the preceding sentence but would change the last phrase to "the only person Lita had told the sordid..." for clarity's sake. Nice work.

  12. I love your hook. I'd definitely keep reading!

    Like a few others, I agree that:
    "So when she drove up to her boutique and saw him fingering the shoes she’d created, the same shoes that made waves in the industry where names like Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo were synonymous with style and fashion, her stomach dropped to her knees."
    is way too long. It's too wordy. It would have more of an impact if you broke it up and cut it back a bit.

    The only other issue I have with this is in the second paragraph. You go on to describe her shoes. I love your descriptions, but it almost feels like you're saying the same thing again. Maybe take the bit about Manolo Blahnik and Jummy Choo and combine it with the bit in the second paragraph.

    Just my 1.5 cents. Hope it helps!

  13. The set up is interesting but too much tell for me. The second sentence didn't bother me except for the "her stomach dropped to her knees". I guess I've just seen too many writers use it or something similar that it's almost cliche to me. The sentence that follows tries too hard to explain her reaction and why.

    "After all these years she'd recognize Davi Barros anywhere." This jumped out at me. It's only been 6 years and he is her father! Is there some reason to believe she wouldn't recognize him?

    She's passive here--watching. I'd pare down the tell and get right to action in the story.

  14. Agree with Lia: Great opening line that becomes an info dump. Much of the writing feels like telling.

    I want to be inside her skin and feel her emotions viscerally. She's proud of what she's accomplished. And she's obsessed with shoes, fashion and success. How can all that come to mean nothing, if he fingers a shoe?

    Wouldn't she fight even harder to prove to her absent Dad that it means a LOT?

    Sorry but this line would lose me: "the only one who knew the sordid details of her past."

    Keep at it! Don't give up! You clearly have passion and good eye for details.

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  16. Well, I would say to myself. Not another successful business woman whose been getting goals fulfilled daunted by a cruel father book.

    I'd have to say no. There was a lot of tell not show. And starting off with too much shadow information. Too much reflection IF this is 1st page Chapter one.

    My answer would be no, but I do hope you didn't write Harry Potter if you know what I mean. You need something that intrigues me and this hasn't.

  17. Not hooked. A woman stood outside a store and thought. That's what happened here.

    You've got tons of great info in these 250 words. but it's all told to us, like a summary of her life so far.

    Let it all unfold slowly. Show her drive up to the store, show her seeing her father, show her reaction, show what she sees, (what does dad look like) show her go into the the store and deal with him. Give us some dialogue. "Never expected to see you again. Not after you threw me out." It gets out the same info you gave us, but does it in a more entertaining way. Keep the story moving.

  18. I like the hook, but I thought it more telling than showing. I agree with some of the others that you could show with action, dialogue and thoughts instead of telling the story.

    The first sentence would be great, if it was a thought instead, but also show some body language. Maybe show her looking in the window and her face burning when she sees her father, then her thoughts.

    In the second paragraph is also telling, but the third one wasn’t. Also I would show the reader her feelings at seeing him smile at Sophie.

    If it had more showing, I would read on. I think you have a great hook here.

  19. I like the hook, but I also feel that it could have been wrapped up in one paragraph, not two. It's almost like you say the same thing twice? You say how much she's accomplished since she left, then say that she doesn't want him to be a part of it. You need to pick one of the paragraphs and stick with just that. I felt his description in the second paragraph, contrasting her shoes' description worked best. It was the most vivid. But what did stop me was that she suddenly started using his name, instead of father. Pick one or the other and make sure you start using it from paragraph one.