Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October Secret Agent #2

TITLE: Sorry Too Late
GENRE: Adult Commercial Fiction - Women's Fiction

A best friend. Do you have one? That one person who; when you think of him or her, you get a Cheshire cat smile across your face. It is the one person who knows. Knows what? What it is that only the two of you share. You have friends that you talk to everyday, maybe share a meal every month or at least send a holiday card to; with a long letter recapping your year. Those are not the people I am talking about. The person I am referring to could be someone you spent two weeks with at camp or have known since birth. It is a special bond that keeps your secrets. Someone who will never share that one thing; that thing you will never share either. Why? Because if you let go of the secret; you will lose the bond. You lose the thread of connection; that thing when everything else in life abandons you, keeps you linked to the world. It is what you believe keeps you part of the human community. A key that ties your past to the present and allows you to believe in a future.

What you and your best friend share could be one of a billion things. They are all something that the two of you did. Was it some way you were able to pull the wool over someone else's eyes? Was it done with spite, a malicious intent, or just in good fun?


  1. You are 250 words in and have no storyline or characters. This monologue is fine as written, but we need to at least know who is thinking it before you start.

  2. There is some nice description of friendship here, but so far there's no story to keep me hooked. I also think it reads a little more YA than adult women's fiction.

    I also have a problem with the questions and narrative directed toward the reader -- it's distracting.

  3. I'm a little lost.

    The opening evokes good images in my head of my best friend, but after that I was really confused.

    Could you layer in some action to keep my thoughts on the page instead of my friend Kelli?

  4. I'm not really hooked to this story only because I don't know who the character is and where we are and what might be happening. I wonder why this person is asking me about my best friend instead of telling her story.

  5. This doesn't sound like a story at all. A personal essay maybe.

    Not hooked.

  6. Sorry, I'm not drawn in. No character or situation to grab on to. I'm not a huge fan of a novel starting with questions to begin with (I'd much rather be the one coming up with the questions). I think you need to give your reader a little more grounding at the onset with something more specific.

  7. Who is your story about?
    What does she want?
    Why can't she have it?
    Who or what stands in her way?
    Where and when is she?

    None of these questions are answered in your first 250 words, and while they don't all 'have' to be answered that quickly, some of them should be, particularly who, when and where. You haven't introduced anything for me latch onto, so there's no reason to read on.

  8. A LOT of time is spent defining friendship, but I have no idea what the story is about. I'm assuming friendship.

    Start with the secret the two people share. All the definition of friendship is back story that can be spread throughout the novel.

    Sorry, but I'm not drawn into this, but I am prepared to tell the author one of my secrets.

    Best of luck

  9. Ugh! Blogger ate my post.
    I am going to have to agree with everyone else. I am not drawn into the story because I am too busy thinking about my best friend and the secrets we have.

    That doesn't make me interested in the secret ( I am assuming) will be revealed here.

  10. I think this style (asking the readers questions) works only when they are interested...and you haven't drawn them in yet.

  11. I'm also not a fan of asking the reader questions right off the bat. I don't have a real feel for who this person is talking to me. I'm assuming her conflict has something to do with her best friend, but that's all I know at this point. I'm not sure I would keep reading.

    I would definitely find some action to begin the story.

    Don't take all the comments from everyone too hard though. One of my first attempts at my current manuscript started like this, and I got these same comments. I've reworked the beginning no less than a dozen times, and I finally have one I really like. Now when I look back, I see how those first versions didn't work.

    Stick with it and find some action to draw the reader in immediately.

  12. Refreshing but beware.

    You know it is unusual to use the second person instead of 1st or 3rd. All the writng books and agents I have read or talked to caution against it. However, if you are transitioning into the story, dialogue, 3rd or 1st, I'd like to see it in the first 250.

    Published authors who do toss in a 'you' or two do it sparingly, because they're telling a story in which the reader is not part of the story world (except in their imagination), unless it's an avant-garde interactive story, and here again, beware.

    Other than my cautions, I find the read abstract, here again, more philosophical, which is unusual for commercial fiction. Sure the hero/heroine muses, but not without a concrete struggle.

    Best of luck.

  13. Sorry, not hooked. Everyone knows what a best friend is, and a sentence or two is all you need, IMHO. Also, who is your MC? Let us know her or him, and show us his surroundings, his feelings, and his goal.

    I'm sure you have done this further down, so just bring you MC up front and center.

  14. When I'm forced to answer a rhetorical question with, "Not really," I'm automatically excluded and just sort of zone out. I can't really get a feel for what's occurring. Good writing, but let's hear from the MC!

    Dr. Krog

  15. I zoned out halfway through the first paragraph. I'm curious what exactly is going on.

    Advice - give us something to connect to before you throw us into monologue. What are the stakes? Why should I read? What's going on? Who is this?

    Good luck!

  16. I would get rid of the entire first paragraph. Start with the second one and then follow up with some action or dialogue.

    Good luck!

  17. Gah!! Semicolon police come and take this author away!!! Please look up the proper use of a semicolon for reference and then probably never use one in your writing again.

    Ok, now that I have that out of my system, I will say that I think your first two sentences were not bad. It kind of made me think you were pulling us in for a secret. But then I think you could describe what you mean by your best friend in one fabulous statement and move on with the plot.

    I don't like the cheshire Cat grin. That's not at all what I think of when I think of a best friend. Or someone I spent 2 weeks with at camp. I think you need a real SHOW don't tell description of what a best friend means to this character--did she help her cover up a murder? An affair? An illegitimate child? Kleptomania??

    Whatever it is, give us some great show (not tell) of what a best friend is, and then get right into the heart of why she is telling us this. As it is, it just drags a little.

    I have no idea what secrets this best friend is helping to cover up (I assume that's the story but I could be wrong) but that's a nice potential plot line. Get to it.