Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January Secret Agent #27

GENRE: Romance

“Here you go.” Sophie smiled as she leaned out the window of her taco stand—The Sandy Tortilla—and handed an order of carne asada quesadillas to one half of a newlywed couple.

She’d been working the stand for enough summers to recognize the glow of the newly hitched. The way they looked at each other with moons in their eyes; how the men couldn’t stand more than two inches away from their wives; the tightness of the women’s bodies under their two-piece swimming suits.

Yes, Sophie had seen enough newlyweds to overdose on sweetness without even getting a taste of sugar. Her stomach lurched as she returned to the orders hanging above her grill.

Every couple reminded her that she was alone. Very recently single, in fact. She focused on tossing the chicken onto the flattop, slathering the cilantro spread on the tortilla, and crisping up the chips.

With her utmost concentration on her cooking, she didn’t have room to obsess over Mark.

“Chicken verde,” she called out the window, and a teenage girl stepped forward. At least she wasn’t in her mid-twenties with a wedding band on her finger.

Sophie glanced down at her left hand, where, until recently, she had worn a gold band with a single diamond on it. With a little imagination, she could see a tan line where the ring sat—because she had worn it for nine months.

Mark didn’t want to set a date, something that frustrated Sophie. She liked deadlines, and making lists, and meeting goals.


  1. I really like this. My one critique is to cut the dialogue you have for your first line. Just start with, "Sophie smiled..." I get a sense of her voice right away, and you don't need to hear her saying, "Here you go," to understand what's going on in the scene.

  2. I think this is a good start but maybe cut the look at the ring and then the info about the date setting. Too much--can be worked in later.

  3. I was about to say "I love it as is" but then I read nataliewrites comment and I think she's right. Just get rid of the "Here you go" and I think you're golden. Seriously. I wouldn't change anything else. And VOICE...the voice in this excerpt is awesome.

  4. I agree with nataliewwrites that you don't need the first few words of dialogue because her actions explain enough. I was a little confused with the line about "with a little imagination" can she not see the tan line? Maybe I missed something. Overall, however, I like where this is going. My favorite line is the line about never having a taste of sugar. I think it's a clever way of comparing. I also really like the contrast between her Mark. I think it gives insight into some reasons why perhaps they aren't together anymore. I'm assuming the taco stand is at some resort? I can't imagine newlywed couples would frequent city taco stands very much. I think this is a great opening to a story. It gives the reader a sense of what is going on without giving too much backstory.

  5. This is a unique opening, giving us a sense of place, character, and voice without feeling like you’re trying to give us all of that at once. Although it’s a bit overemphasized about the fact that she’s single, she had a ring, Mark was her ex—all getting across the same idea in the first 250. The name of the taco shack is great, by the way.