Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August Secret Agent #38

TITLE: I'll Love You Until
GENRE: Women's fiction

It's almost impossible to explain the way impact feels. I can say the sound of metal crunching as another car's fender molds around your own is insanely loud, because it is. And I can say your eardrums and the rest of your body ache long after impact, because they do. But it's difficult to fully understand how your body feels, to comprehend the way your heart pounds in your chest with such force you think it's going to tear right through your skin, unless it has actually happened to you.

Unfortunately, it did happen to me.

And as I stood there on the corner in my pajamas, watching tire after tire crush the sparking shards of glass into the pavement while waiting for the police, only one thing kept going through my mind. This would only happen to me.

Until a particular car drove by, that is. The driver resembled an ex I hadn't seen in years, which was when my thoughts shifted from to a much more important thought to consider - could it be?
An hour after impact, the police finally arrived, and minutes later I climbed into my glass-littered car. There was even glass in what had been a full cup of coffee. Needless to say, the controls on my radio were fried.

Naturally, I did what anyone would do when driving from the scene of an accident. I picked up my phone and made a call.


  1. I am really confused. The first paragraph makes it sound like she was in a really bad accident - it's very intense - but apparently she's not even hurt. (I'm assuming MC is a girl, though I don't think you say.) And how on earth could it have taken the police an hour to get there? And then driving from the scene of the accident? Did she get a ride? Is she actually driving- and if so, why is she using a phone?
    The great thing is that those are just minor confusions which need very little work to answer. :) The rest of it is intriguing. I'm wondering about the ex and who she calls, so I'm mostly hooked.

  2. I'm also intrigued. I liked the first paragraph very much. I did wonder why she was not hurt; and also her shift to thinking "could it be" felt a bit contrived, surely she'd be in too much shock to register the driver? Or think the thought in another way? But I do want to read more!

  3. The situation is intriguing, but like Bethany Elizabeth, I'm a little confused. When the paragraph "And as I stood there on the corner in my pajamas" began, I didn't know at first whether this was immediately after the accident, or later. I didn't understand why she would be driving in pajamas, which made me wonder whether she was the driver or just a sleepy passenger.

    And I didn't understand why she deems the question of whether or not the other car contains her ex to be "much more important." Maybe this is meant to be a joke, but it's early enough in the story that I don't know what's important and what isn't. I'm thinking maybe there's a very significant history with this ex?

    I did believe the police might take an hour to respond, but I found myself doubting that no other drivers or pedestrians would stop and ask her if she was ok.

    The writing feels great and I love the joke in the final line. Good luck with this!

  4. Teetering on the edge of greatness. The first paragraph is incredibly compelling. Sadly, you hold me in the palm of your hand, heart beating, then lose me. Woe is me.

    If I could be so bold as to suggest cutting all the could happen to me's.
    And just a little reworking after seeing the ex. Like, why an hour for the police to arrive? Stops the action. Is she hurt? Were there other victims? I feel like it loses oomph because suddenly she is more concerned with an ex than the repercussions of what is in front of her.

  5. I feel very much like the others who posted comments. Loved the first paragraph, but had similar questions about police arriving, why no injuries, and why thinking about an ex at this particular time? For some reason, I like the change of attitude between the first and last paragraphs - it makes me want to know more about the MC. I couldn't help but wonder if the MC is a male? Keep up the good work - best of luck and thanks for sharing!

  6. I had to go back and read this a few times because I was confused with what was going on. I think the first paragraph is great. Perhaps you can do without the line 'unfortunately it did happen to me' and just go right into the part about the pajamas. I agree with other comments that the first paragraph made it seem like she was hurt, and then she wasn't, which added to the confusion. But I like it that in the midst of this horrible moment she thinks she sees her ex. It's kind of funny, actually. Is that something she could remember later in more detail? Or, better yet, go into more detail in that very moment? It seemed too quick. It's hard to say without knowing where you're going, but maybe you just need to take these moments a little slower and really expand what's happening in this scene.

  7. One thing I'm still confused about is, why is she driving around in her pajamas?

    And, having been in a bad car accident, I'm wondering ... is this actually a bad accident? From the sound/damage description in the first paragraph, you're building it up into a big accident. If it was that big, she'd be sent to the ER for a quick exam to make sure there's no internal bleeding / head injury. And her car wouldn't be drivable - especially if there's so much glass shattered - must have been a windshield, and if the windshield is gone, I doubt the rest of the damage would leave the car drivable.

    I think you need to work out exactly how much damage is done, and adjust the balance of everything else to match. You start us out imagining something horrible, and then minutes after the police arrive she's driving away in her PJs calling someone?! The paperwork alone would take more than mere minutes! Tickets, getting both sides of the story, etc etc.

    Your readers who HAVE been in car accidents will know exactly what you're talking about, and will know when you're wrong. :)

  8. I agree with the others, the shift from the accident to the MC standing outside left me confused.
    I also agree that it would sound stronger without the 'Unforunately, it happend to me', that voice pulled out of the story.
    But, still, I liked it, would probably read more.

  9. not hooked, only because you are verging on the side of overwriting. And who is this character? Take out the one liners second paragraph. This TELLS us whats happened. Don't tell, SHOW. Show us standing there looking at the mess that used to be her car. We the reader will fill in the lines. That will SHOW us what's happened.

    and I might be stepping over the lines, but your title is great and would flow better if you used 'till instead of until. just a suggestion.

  10. I wasn't hooked. I was confused.

    The first two pargs. are all about what impact feels like, but you don't try to explain that or show how she felt in the moment of impact. In fact, she doesn't feel anything at all, so those pargs. don't really relate to anything that follows. If you're going to lead with that, there should be some follow up.

    She's just been in a car accident - what seems to be a very bad car accident - and she has no reaction to it. No tears, no thank God I'm all right, no aches or pains. Her only reaction is the lecture on what impact feels like.

    And why is she in pajamas? Was she driving in them? If so, why?
    And then a car zips past and she recognizes the man inside as her ex. Seems a bit unbelievable. I'd think she'd be too shaken up to be watching the passing cars.

    Then she gets in her wrecked car with no windshield (All that glass everywhere, even in her coffee.)
    and drives away. While talking on her cell.

    I don't mean for this to sound harsh, but the only thing I believed was that it took the cops an hour to arrive. I really think this needs a bit more thought.

  11. i was too confused. first i'm led to believe she's in a terrible accident, then it seems no big deal and she's more concerned about an ex?
    i also think the whole opening with a car crash thing is getting a little tiring, but that is my opinion.

  12. I am totally confused. Is she in the accident or isn't she? Is she standing on the corner or in a car driving by? This doesn't do it for me.

  13. I'm confused about what's going on here. Is this a theoretical car accident your protagonist is talking about, or is he or she in an actual accident? I'm pretty sure you're going for an actual accident, but I was confused about one car fender wrapping around another, yet no serious injuries to anyone. And the last line didn't pack much punch for me - I imagine that if I had been in an accident one of the first things I'd do is call someone (or several someones) so that part was one of the few elements of this submission that made sense to me. Not hooked.