Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August Secret Agent #44

GENRE: Women's Fiction

Kira blew out the tapered candles immersing herself in darkness before her fingers found the dining room dimmer switch. As she returned the unused dinnerware to the china cabinet, she decided to hang onto one of the wineglasses. Kira turned back to the kitchen to fill it with the Pinot Noir she’d selected on her way home from work.

Standing alone in the custom colonial, removed from the city she knew, Kira took a nibble from the now cold asparagus and mushroom risotto she’d prepared. Kira had hoped for a romantic night in with her husband Jeremy. They were still technically in the honeymoon phase of their marriage, but had not yet taken their official honeymoon to Paris. After the ceremony, they settled for a night’s stay at a B&B in Nantucket. In the spring, when they cleared their busy schedules, they’d visit the city of light. Kira held onto the promise of the postponed honeymoon in a couple months to make up for Jeremy’s recent absence.

Grabbing a wedge of the lemon tart she’d bought for dessert, along with the wineglass, she slouched upstairs to her bedroom.

Kira unpinned her long chocolate brown hair and sat on the end of the bed with the wine in one hand and the TV remote control in the other. She hesitated, catching sight of her stack of home décor and fashion magazines, her usual fodder on a night in, but wanting to allay her disappointment at another night spent alone, she opted for the television.


  1. This is good. I can feel Kira's loneliness. The only thing I would change is the second paragraph because I want to stay with Kira longer before given background on her circumstances. This is just my preference and others might feel differently. Either way, I would keep reading.

  2. Good start. I do feel for Kira. I think there's too much telling in the second paragraph.
    Good luck!

  3. I feel like there's a lot of telling in this beginning and not a lot of showing. I wasn't pulled in and didn't feel invested in her plight emotionally.We are told she is disappointed, but not shown. Would she also be angry? Suspicious? Why isn't he there? Would she wonder this, especially if she was expecting him?

    I wonder if this beginning wouldn't be more engaging if you started it at the moment she realized he wasn't coming (or when he called to say he wasn't). Then go right into her emotions with her--the disappointment or the anger? The why?

    Hope this helps.

  4. I'm interested in the situation you present here, but I have to agree with Heidi that I didn't feel enough emotion from the scene. Kira's a newlywed and her husband didn't show up for a romantic dinner. I'd expect her either to be crying, or ranting at him, or (if he has a good excuse) telling herself to be a big girl and not get upset. All I get is a mild sense of dejection when she slouches upstairs.

    On the positive side, you have some very nice descriptive details that give me a good sense of Kira's lifestyle.

    On the not-so-positive side, the writing could be tightened. Kira's name is way overused; once per paragraph is more than enough when she's the only person in the scene. There are several places where you add unnecessary words. For example, "Kira took a nibble from the now cold asparagus and mushroom risotto she'd prepared," could be "Kira nibbled the cold asparagus and mushroom risotto." Similarly, "a wedge of the lemon tart she'd bought for dessert" could just be "a wedge of lemon tart." It's obviously for dessert, and we can infer that she bought it.

    I would also say that the whole business about the postponed honeymoon could be deleted or significantly condensed. It slows the pace of an already quiet scene. It would be enough to say something like "They were supposed to be in Paris right now, on their honeymoon, but there hadn't been time for anything more than a night in Nantucket." While you're at it, maybe add a few words to explain why they're so busy. Are they doctors? Lawyers?

    Keep at it. With a little polishing, this could be good.

  5. I agree with Rebecca M. This piece would be strengthened by an overall tightening. I also am confused with her reactions and to the situation itself - they are newlyweds who haven't honeymooned and who don't seem to spend time together. I get this spells doom for the marriage, etc., but it doesn't feel realistic since most people today simply move on if the magic isn't there.

    Now, if there were a reason she stays or is bound to him that is unusual in some way, I'd move it right up front to get our attention.

  6. You used some vivid imagery and good description but I felt the scene lacked a lot of the emotional ressonace, like some of my above commentators say. Even though I can't relate to Kira from experience, I should still feel her pain and I feel very much like an outsider. We are getting more of what she's doing than her thoughts. You might want to make her a bit more emotional in her lonliness or a bit more depressed as if this is a constant thing and she's accepting it. Right now she just feels a bit 'meh'
    You're writing style has promise it just needs that extra spark. Good luck!

  7. What a lonely girl! You've portrayed her turmoil well but you need to think of a way to vary the narrative to make it more intriguing for the reader. At the moment you simply tell us what Kira did, step by step. Try to vary the manner in which you deliver this information. Good luck!

  8. I get a sense of the lonliness, but this opening isn't very engaging. It might be a matter of starting the story some place else with a more active setting than fixing dinner. Good luck!

  9. The problem, I think, is that we don't know why she's alone. Did she expect him and he just didn't show up, in which case, she might be worried that he got into an accident.

    Did he call and tell her he wouldn't be there? If so, was it a legitimate excuse that she believes? What it a lame reason, and again, does she buy it or think he's lying?

    We need to know not only what is happening, by why it's happening, and how it affects your MC.