Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August Secret Agent Contest #35

TITLE: Fairest of the Faire
GENRE: Romance

Constance Meyer sighed, staring at the stack of bills in her hand.

A new one had found its way to her in today's mail, from a collection agency.

She wondered, once again, how many more of these would come. All were debts she never knew existed. They were addressed to Vincent Meyer, or sometimes to Vincent and Constance Meyer.

She had no idea how all these bills and collection notices had come to be in the first place, much less how to make them go away.

Vincent Meyer was dead, killed in a car accident just before Christmas, five months before.

He had been Connie's world.

But Vincent had ended up having some big secrets; secrets he should have never had.

When he'd been killed that cold day, Connie had no clue how her life would be turned upside down.

Within two weeks of his death, she had received a foreclosure sale notice for the house, and a visit from a darkly-coated man demanding money Vincent owed.

Worst of all, she discovered that Vincent had a beautiful and very pregnant girlfriend who claimed Vincent was the father of her child.

Vincent's death had devastated Connie; her whole world had been wrapped around him.

He'd been everything a woman could want.

He worked hard and lavished her with gifts and attention.

In five years of marriage, he'd never said a harsh word to her. She had not known anything of Vincent's double life, much less that there was a problem with money.


  1. I can relate to staring at a stack of bills, so I connected to this right off the bat, and of course the first question that comes up is how did this character end up in debt, which draws me into the rest of the opening.

    My only suggestion would be to tone down the telling here and do a bit more showing. Maybe save some of the telling for later on in the chapter, once we've gotten more of an idea of Connie as a character, how she's reacting to the bills. That's where you lost me - I was initially thinking "ooh, I've been there! So, how did this happen to HER?" but then you go on and tell me right away. I'd rather you kept that suspense for me longer, and told me more about her as a person, how she's reacting, what she's doing, where she's standing or sitting. But I'd definitely keep reading because she sounds like she's got a serious mystery to unravel, with the potential for a lot of emotions a reader could relate to.

  2. Unfortunately, you told me all I need to know on the first page. Build the intrigue. Make your readers hungry to know what has happened and why. At this point I really don't care about a woman who blinded herself to her husband's philandering ways. You need to make us care. To do that you need to SHOW us her world through her eyes instead of dumping a back story on the first page. I think there might be a bit of mystery here, so drag out the information more to make us hungry for it.

  3. I think the beginning is very believable. I've known women whose husbands have died and they were left scared and alone to deal with the bills and sometimes financial mess.

    I'm afraid though that outside the first couple of sentences, the page seems more like a synopsis than a novel. There is a lot of telling the reader the facts.

    I hope you stick to it because it sounds like a good story and one that women could relate to.

    Good Luck

  4. I think this opening gives away too much. What I really mean is there is a way to sum a lot of this up and move on to bigger and better things quickly. Show us Constance's heartache rather than telling us about it, maybe pictures along the hallway of them, a ring still on her finger, etc.
    I do think the info you have here is necessary for plot building, but I think it's drawn out a little too much. Would I read on?? Yes, but I would have reservations.

  5. I love how you present Constance's dilemma. However, a lot of information here is re-worded and repeated. I think you can improve by holding back some information and getting to the action faster.

  6. Thanks for the comments, everyone. Yes, there is a bit of mystery here, and much to be worked on. The first 250 words are hard to tell much about a story. It is just the barest tip of the iceberg!

    And my formatting looks awful. This was all just really three paragraphs...not sure why it broke up each sentence like that. LOL

    But THANK YOU I appreciate all comments...they make me think about things and how I'd change things (or not). Tee hee!

  7. The voice is good, and I feel sorry for Constance.

    However, there is too much backstory. If you pear down the backstory and get us to what Constance plan to do, I think I would want to read more.

  8. I echo the first comments- I think most people can definitely relate to the money part, but of course since this is a story we don't want to relate too much which would be depressing- which I think you executed brilliantly with the introduction of the double life...very curious to know more, but I would agree with some of the other comments, show don't maybe in her stack of bills could be a letter from a lawyer reminding Connie of the girlfriend/baby mommy etc.
    Very cool concept!

  9. You pulled me in at the beginning. I cared about Connie and her stack of bills up until after she wondered how to make them go away. Ater that, it was a lot of telling us backstory and you lost me.

    At that point, you might consider moving on to what happened next, rather than telling us how she got to be in that situation. That can come out later, a little at a time. The point is to keep the story moving, and every time you stop to explain things to the reader, the story stops.

    It sounds like you have interesting stuff coming up, and the writing is good, so just keep the story moving from one event to the next.

  10. It's a fine predicament, and I'm pleased it opened with a micro-scene; but there's a ton of redundancy in this passage, a ton of telling instead of showing, and overall it reads like a summary of a story intead of being a story.