Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March Secret Agent #46

TITLE: The Accidental Socialite
GENRE: Women's Fiction

It was 3 A.M and all I wanted was a cheeseburger.

“Miss, we sell only Big Mac after midnight,” said the Bangladeshi McDonalds employee.

“Yes, I understand that and I will pay for a Big Mac, but I would like a cheeseburger, so can you, like, remove a patty and mid bun and hold the secret sauce? Please?”

“Miss I am sorry but we do not have this item now.”

A tall, drunk and incredibly beautiful blonde South African girl appeared at the till next to me.

“I’ll have a hot dog.”

That’s my new best friend, Lucinda.

We walked out of McDonalds still drunk and without our respective food, just a small fries to ‘split’, which really meant Lucinda was going to watch me eat them. As I was elegantly shoving eight fries into my mouth at once, not unlike a four-year-old, I became the unwitting participant of a photo-shoot. I looked around for the celebrity garnering all this attention and it wasn’t until Lucinda slapped the second fistful of fries out of my hand that I realized that celebrity was me.


Less than twenty-four hours earlier, my eighteen-hour flight from Edmonton to London connecting in Denver landed at 9:38 A.M on a grey, drizzly Saturday in late January. I struggled to get my large carry on bag out of the overhead compartment, not just because it was heavy, but also because I had inadvertently rendered myself immobile.


  1. I like the idea of this opening a lot, but I don't think the execution is quite working for me. I see this a lot in women's fiction queries: there's a tendency to over-rely on dialogue, in an attempt to make the scene feel cinematic. Unfortunately, it's very hard to carry the conflict and narration of a novel through the description of two characters talking -- I don't know enough about the narrator, without more access to her inner thoughts and context -- to really be interested in what they're discussing. I'd like to see more explanation of the narrator's mental state and feelings.

    I'm also not sure the twist -- in which she's suddenly famous -- is quite working for me as it's revealed here. Again, the narrator seems a little too distant from it, so I feel like she's hiding information from me, which is a little frustrating.

    There's clearly some conflict and a good story here, but I want to see the narrator's voice coaxed out more so I'm sure she's someone I want to spend a book with.

  2. I like the premise of the story, especially the title. The photo-shoot scene left me wanting to know more--I'm assuming something happened on her flight over that has pushed her into the spotlight and I'm curious to know what it is.

    I think that the transition from the McDonald's conversation into the two characters stepping outside to face the cameras could use a little finessing, as it was a little abrupt and I had to re-read the line "that's my new best friend, Lucinda" to figure out who the narrator was talking about.

    I think this has potential, though. Good job!

  3. This doesn't start in the right place for me. I'd rather have it go in logical order and provide more of the MC's feelings and reactions. Also, other sensations would elevate the story.

  4. If I had to guess what the story was about, I would guess an alcoholic celebrity, and I'm just not interested. That may not be what the story is about at all, but it's what I got from this opening. I would suggest focusing more on who is she, what does she want, and why can't she have it. Give the reader something to latch onto on the very first page.

  5. I really have nothing new to add to the previously stated comments. As a former McD's employee (lifetimes ago) and a frequent customer (unfortunately), I loved the opening. I got the feeling that this MC is young and drunk and I am not fond of the 2 as a combination. Especially as the intro. But that's just me.

    The wording for the entrance of the new best friend gave me some trouble and the scene jump could use some finesse to become a smooth transition.

  6. I love the voice here. I saw this entry posted on another blog contest (way to go!). In such a short excerpt, it's tough to fit in everything, but I do wish we got a little more of a glimpse of your character and her present situation worked in. The dialogue could be spread out a bit with internalizations in between, or conversation between she and her friend to show what's going on. Good luck!

  7. Really like the voice, but in the opening there's too much dialogue with not enough meat to pin it on. I don't know who either of these characters are yet, so to engage with them, I need to see a little of the MC's thought processes, rather than just seeing the external interactions.

    Is she embarrassed about being drunk? Okay with it? Is there a reason why she's drunk? Excitement over seeing an old friend? Drowning her sorrows?

  8. I am dittoing what others have said. I thought the first line was super. It really drew me in immediately, and I sat back, ready to enjoy the rest of the entry.
    Unfortunately, I got lost almost immediately. Small things bothered me, like some missing punctuation (for example, a.m. and "Miss, I am sorry") that distracted me and took away from the flow.
    I was wondering if the opening is all over the place because the narrator is drunk? That kind of makes sense, but I still think it could be streamlined so it's easier to follow.
    Also, the sentence starting "Less than 24 hours earlier . . . " is a run on. I would split it in two.
    All this being said, there's definitely potential here for an interesting story. I can sense a Bridget Jones-type character who's funny and always running into trouble.