Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July Secret Agent #36

TITLE: A Heat Of The Moment Thing
GENRE: Contemporary Women's Fiction

'This. Is. Masochism.' What on earth had possessed us to come here on a Saturday?

'Oh God.' Jo held her forehead as if it might fall off.. 'Too loud.'

Hangovers are never fun, but in this noise and this heat? I shot her a pitying look. 'You won't hear it once you're swimming,' I offered.

She didn't dignify it with a response.

We cut across to the lockers.

'Hey,' I tried for distraction. 'Like my new highlights?' I held out a couple of coppery locks.

She gave them the barest of glances. 'Great,' she monotoned, and slumped against the wall.

Lucky I had a thick skin.

I removed my contact lenses, then we stashed our bags and headed to the lane pool.

'Maybe this isn't such a good idea,' she muttered.

'Coffee, then?' I asked, ever-hopeful.

'No. Swim.'


We reached the shallow end and stood surveying the lanes. Think M25, eight a.m.

'This is the pits,' I said.

'Yeah. Never again.' I couldn't tell if she was referring to the crowds or the hangover.

A shrieking kid raced past. Jo flinched and brought a hand up to her dark, close-cropped spikes.

Was it just the lights or did her face look green? 'Hun, if this is too much for you, don't swim. I'll still respect you in the morning,' I quipped.

'I'm okay.' She took a deep breath. Released it slowly through tight lips. 'I think.'


  1. Hooked, mainly because I like a lot of dialogue. Except I would rather have maybe a little bit more background, even just a few sentences as to time and place in teh beginning. The term 'blast,' is also something I haven't heard since the book "Little Women," so maybe a differant word there or is it something historical?

  2. I like the funny set-up of them all hung over at the pool. That made me smile. It's just a bit choppy--I'd try to smooth it out some. Like end at "forehead." (heads fall off, foreheads don't...) What's M25? I wasn't sure about that... might want to choose another analogy--?

    It's a nice start, though! Best of luck,

  3. Great dialogue, and I get a really good sense of the characters. I too wanted just one or two sentences of background to figure out where these two are (I thought they were at the beach until you mentioned the lanes). But filling in detail is much easier than writing good dialogue, so you shouldn't have any problem with that!

  4. I was a bit confused. The opening made me think neither of them wanted to be at the pool, so I thought they had an obligation to be there.

    Then it started to sound like 'she' didn't want to be there and had only come at 'I's' insistence.

    But then 'I' starts talking as though it was 'she's' idea to be there.

    I guess I want to know why they're at the pool if neither of them wants to be there. I also wonder why they don't have names. We do learn 'she' is Jo, but only at the end of this, and we never learn who the MC is.

    And so far, all I have is - 2 hungover women go swimming when they don't want to. It's not enough to pull me in. Give me a hint of what the problem is. Better yet, make it obvious.

  5. I have to say I agree with most of the other commenters. I don't need an explosion page one, but nothing is happening. The lockers, contacts, etc. are a laundry list of activities you don't need. Start at the problem - hangover at the side of the pool - and hopefully build to a point. The coppery lock description seems 100% superfluous - it reads like a way to shoehorn a description of the heroine onto the first page. I don't care what she looks like - I care about what happens. The voice is nice - good luck!

  6. I like your dialog, I think it felt really natural.

    I only have one ridiculously nitpicky comment. Whenever I read "Hun" I think of Attila the. I think it should be spelled "Hon"

    I only even mention it because I wouldn't want someone to be distracted from your story by a tiny little detail like that.

  7. The dialogue felt really natural to me. Plus, it was really funny. Hangover at a swimming pool is a new one! I would like some sense of the stakes though.

  8. I was wondering the same thing as Barbara - why are they there? At first it sounds like the MC is trying to persuade Jo, then when Jo turns down a coffee, the MC isn't happy. I'd like some indication of why they've dragged their hungover selves here - are they training for a race, made a New Year's resolution they'd swim every day? Because they're right, a crowded pool would be a lousy place to be when hungover.

    I'd also like a sense of the stakes. At the moment, the only thing at stake is whether or not they'll throw up in the pool, and I'm not sure I want to know the answer :-) I know it's only right at the beginning, but some hint of a bigger problem would be good.

    Your writing style is good though, and I could read on easily if I was hooked.

  9. Well done short descriptions of the characters, well done action tags. Still, as a beginning, this doesn't get me. Later in the story, it would probably be fine, but like other commenters, I found the unbroken dialogue choppy, and I'm not clear what the larger picture is: why are they there, and why should I care? The dialogue is real, but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

  10. semi hooked. I like your style, but you need to tell the reader up front where the heck they are - the pool. I thought they were in some club, then in line for something, and all sorts of in between.


  11. Sorry, but I wasn't hooked by this one. The dialogue felt a bit much to me, and I didn't get any sense of the larger story from this excerpt, which made it difficult for me to connect with the story. Aside from the hangovers, I'm not seeing what the compelling issue is that will drive the story forward.

  12. This piece has a nice light-hearted tone to it and the interplay between the two friends is fun.

    I wonder if this is the best place to start the story though for two reasons:

    1) I don't know anything about the characters, so it's hard to care about the dialogue.

    2) I also wonder if two friends with a hangover makes a good story beginning.

    Maybe there's a better starting point? I like the writing and reading fun light fiction. Good luck.

  13. Not hooked. I wanted more action and this felt like talking heads. I don't think the dialogue moved the story forward. Though these are first paragraphs, nothing really happened to pull me in, and I didn't get a sense of the characters in their own world. Or if this was their own world, it seemed, well, shallow.

    Though I do like a lot of dialogue, I would like to see more fleshing out of the scene. The scene, however, should dump us in the middle of the action, rather than a prelude to action.

    I hope that's helpful.