Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March Secret Agent #3

TITLE: Nowhere To Go But Everywhere
GENRE: Women's Fiction

God, this was stupid. Scarlett? Melanie? Who would want to be like either one of them? In a few months, astronauts would walk on the moon but the Daughters of the South, clearly still inhabitants of the previous century, wanted Rose to describe which Gone with the Wind character she most resembled. With her dream of college dependent on their scholarship money, she needed to act like she cared about their asinine topic just as much as they did, but so far, she hadn’t come up with one sentence worth keeping. Crafting a witty comparison to Belle Watling, the heart-of-gold whorehouse madam, crossed her mind, but she dismissed it; the Daughters weren’t about to reward a smart ass.

Outside, dawn was painting with a palette of pink spun sugar. A much better view than the blank paper staring back at her from her portable Underwood. She rationalized a walk by the water might help to resolve her Scarlett/Melanie dilemma, or at the very least, provide some photographs for the album she planned to put together for her sister. Tonight, Lily would be crowned Biloxi’s new Shrimp Queen and sunrise on the Gulf would make the perfect opening shot. Rose pushed up from her chair and grabbed her Nikon Rangefinder.

When she arrived at the beach, she kicked off her sandals and dug her toes into the damp, cool sand. As much as she was counting the days until she moved away from here, she knew she’d miss this.


  1. Consider changing the word "inhabitants of" to "inhabiting" . Just a thought. The premise seems interesting, I would keep reading.

  2. The voice of your protagonist is clear in your first paragraph, intelligent and slightly mocking. Instead of having more prose/reflection for the second paragraph, I might just have her push her typewriter aside and go out, thinking about her sister(what does she feel about her?) and how much she wants to get away from her town, yet loving it as well.

  3. I really like the title and what I imagine is an early 1960s era in the South. The first paragraph caused me to stumble a little--I think it's more the order of some of what is presented. Perhaps breaking up that first chunk into a few thoughts, with GwtW noted closer after the Melanie Scarlett names would make the intro more clear. I would definitely read more :)

  4. I'm left with a couple of thoughts here. First of all, when I read Scarlett and Melanie my mind didn't immediately make the leap to Gone with the Wind so it it took two reads of the first paragraph before I managed to orient myself.

    That said, really cool premise for the opening of a book! I always enjoy some snark and what better to snark about than a stupid essay prompt that your future depends on? What I found myself wishing for, though, was for her to actually decide on that witty comparison to Belle Waiting. First of all, it's a really smart and unexpected way for her to spin the essay that will likely make her stand out and second of all, I want to see the thing that will make me like your protagonist. All I've seen so far is snark so it would be nice to see that, as annoying as she finds this essay prompt, this is something that she genuinely cares about and that she will put in real effort while staying strong in who she is.

    I don't know what direction you're taking this in, but I think you could make some interesting choices based on the setup you have.

  5. I am also a big fan of snark, and dippy essay prompts are a great target. However, I was disoriented by the first two lines. Once I got it, I was very excited by the prospect of a novel that would address the tension between past "Southern glory" and the modern era, especially through such a snarkily observant main character.

    Also: "In a few months, astronauts would walk on the moon" suggests that we're being told the story much later, when someone has reflected on all that has happened. The voice, though, feels much more immediate to me. Maybe there's a way to state this idea (astronauts had orbited the earth, rockets would soon be able to take men to the moon) in a way that doesn't require a concrete flash-forward?