Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August Secret Agent #35

TITLE: Keeping You
GENRE: Women's Fiction

He left me in the middle of winter.

Freezing, I wrapped the quilt more tightly around me, stood on the sidewalk waiting.

He came in his truck, smiled when he got out. But his eyes held nothing happy. He reached out to touch me, already more reserved.

"Am I allowed to kiss a missionary?" I said lightly.

He tried to laugh. “I’m going to miss you so much."

"Don't say that," I said, the lump in my throat growing. My heart was beating quickly, my fingers wanting to grasp him tightly, make him stay with me. Slowly, he leaned down and kissed me softly, as if a kiss could actually fill him for a very long time.

“I have something for you,” he whispered, close to my mouth. He pulled out a small gold chain from his pocket. On the chain dangled two charms; one a star, the other a shoe.

I laughed. "A shoe?"

"Remember when I first saw you?" he asked. "You were running and had this look on your face." He smiled. "Keep running. Run hard even when you think you're going to die, because you won't die – you'll just get stronger." He stepped back. It was time to go.

"Thank you," I whispered, dangling the necklace. "I wish I had gotten something…"

He shook his head. "You gave me everything, Lindsey."

I gave him a brave smile. His hair was shorter now, more clean-cut missionary style. He was going to be a great missionary.


  1. This strikes me as flash fiction, but I'm sure you have a story beyond the first page. You have a couple of grammar issues but nothing major.

    I thought the writing was very good. Emotional and sweet. I was right there with your MC, and I would keep reading to see where this goes.

  2. I enjoyed this beginning a lot. I was pulled in by the characters and their situation and definitely would have read on. My only quibbles were pretty minor. I thought the line, "It was time to go," was unnecessary and implied by his action.

    I also thought the word "missionary" was over-used in the last paragraph. I personally would try to find a different way to describe his missionary work, but it may be easier to describe the haircut differently.

    And last, when he's describing his motivation behind the shoe charm, the words "he asked" are unnecessary. Plus, I'd like just a quick description of the look on her face while she was running.

    That's it. This is a tight, emotional beginning to a huge life change for your characters. Very interesting.

  3. Um, yeah. So, I really liked this a lot. Am struggling to actually find anything to give advice on. Maybe pay attention to your grammar a little more. Other than that, though, well done! I would definitely keep reading.

  4. For the most part, this really worked for me.

    Only two things threw me:

    1) "Run hard even when you think you're going to die, because you won't die – you'll just get stronger." I know quite a few runners and that seems an odd thing to say to one.

    2) "He was going to be a great missionary." Again, there's something about the phrasing that's off. And you've already used the word 'missionary' in the paragraph.

    What I found interesting though was that in 250 words you managed to provoke a strong emotional response from me. I don't know who this missionary guy is, but I kind of hate him already. It's probably just me, but he's coming across as borderline condescending and I can't believe he's leaving Lindsey like this. I'm outraged for Lindsey's sake, so well done!

    Good luck!

  5. You did a good job allowing us to identify with your main character. We feel her hurt and pain immediately. I agree with others about your last line. Great work.

  6. This is a lovely piece with some great lines and imagery. I do feel like naming who this missionary is, even in just a line or two of the MC's narration, will ground this emotional parting a little more. Right now this feels like a sensitive moment I don't have context for. Maybe a little more grounding through the MC's thoughts as to time/place etc. will pull us in with the characters.

  7. Oh I loved the line "Am I allowed to kiss a missionary?"! Immediately you realize that this isn't going to be an ordinary boy/girl story. What I would do is stop after that piece of dialgue and change to narrative as I don't want to hear all the story yet. I do want to know where they are and get some backstory before going further. Still, you have hooked me!

  8. I don't read much Women's Fiction but I WOULD DEFINITELY READ THIS.

  9. I thought you had a lot of emotion in this piece. Nice job there! It's easy to care about these people.

    I found myself wondering about the charms. The shoe is explained, but what is the significance of the star? Why have it on the chain if it doesn't mean something, and if it does mean something, (is it a star of David) shouldn't we know what that is?

    And the meaning of the running and dying comment isn't clear to me. If it refers simply to running, it makes sense, but if it refers to life, it doesn't, at least not to me. The problem for me is that It isn't clear to me which context you want me to accept.