Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March Secret Agent #49

TITLE: Veering Straight
GENRE: Women's Fiction


Mocha’s nails tip-tapped on the hardwood floor, and Diana twisted her desk chair away from the bay window overlooking the neighborhood.

“Hey, girl. Whatcha doing?” Diana scratched Mocha under her graying chin and rubbed her hand up and down the wavy brown fur on the dog’s backside, then slid her gaze back toward the front window.

In the distance, the peak of the pyramid-shaped Transamerica building pointed toward a sky as blue as the bay surrounding the edges of San Francisco. Critiquing manuscripts was less of a job and more a joyful experience with this view. But the niggling worry crouched in the corner of her mind. Living in Piedmont wasn’t worth it.

“Want to go for a walk, Mocha? You’re getting heavy. Dr. Applegate said a hundred pounds is too much.” Mocha laid her head on Diana’s lap, her soulful golden eyes tipped upward. “You’ll be eight years old soon. We want you to reach at least twelve.”

Diana stood up and grabbed the leash. “Come on, girl.”

The doorbell rang. She loved the sound of the deep bong vibrating through the house. Whether she was in the basement, kitchen, or second floor, the tune wended its way through every room like the organ music at the basilica where she attended mass as a young girl.

She leaned over her desk and peeked through the paned-glass windows to the porch. Her sister Taryn, chewing gum like she was getting ready to enter a Bazooka contest.


  1. You have some lovely descriptions here, and it's obvious you can write. What I'm not getting that I'd like to see is some amount of tension (even if it's just a little) a sense of story. I suspect things pick up after the sister arrives.

    Because you write well, if I were to find this in a bookstore, I would read the second page to see if it's worth buying.

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  3. Agree, lovely descriptions. As a dog lover, it's hard to argue against opening with the sweet old pup, but it seems to open with more description than story. Maybe try opening with the doorbell ringing? Start with the action such as it is.

    Good luck!

  4. Beautiful writing, but you need to get to the point. This is meandering through her daily chore, but there's no tension, conflict, something to read on and make the reader want to turn the page. We need action, not just taking the dog for a walk or having the doorbell ring. It's her sister, so I see no tension. At least not yet.

    I also have a dog in my story and have been told not to concentrate on the dog so much unless he has a major part in the story. Mine does. Maybe yours does too. So we need some early tension. Hope this helps a bit. Oh, and I'm writing WF too!

  5. Beautiful, descriptive writing (which is what draws me to a book personally), but I would maybe start with a bit more action as well:)

  6. I also like your descriptive writing and would start with the doorbell ringing. I love the image of the bubble-gum chewing sister, who suggests that trouble is on the horizon. I also really like the name Mocha for a dog.

  7. I agree with the above comments. Also, I think the dialogue with the dog doesn't ring true-to-life. If you leave it in, I'd shorten it, make it crisper, maybe stop after the word "heavy." Otherwise, nice descriptions.

  8. Also agree. The bazooka contest said so much with so little words, so I loved that. I also like how she has some worry about staying. It makes the reader question what's forcing her to stay. So that was well done.

    I guess my main nitpick is that some of the sentences were a little wordy right off the bat. For instance, with the first sentence after "Woof", maybe split it up. Also the dialogue with the dog didn't seem necessary, especially in regards to the dog's weight. Unless, of course, it's crucial later in the story.

    Good luck:)

  9. I'd get to the conflict quicker: living in Piedmont and her issues with her sister. You have a lot to work with, and your descriptive writing is pull us into the issues faster and well read on!

  10. I very much get the feeling that this is a character driven story. If that is the case, I don't think that you need to speed up the plot necessarily, but make sure that we are locked in with the character who will be the main focus through the book. At this point, I'm uncertain if that is the dog or the owner.

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  12. I agree with the others. There's no hint of a problem until Taryn arrives, and your description of her lets us know she'll either be trouble, or the cause of the trouble. I also agree the writing is very nice, and that would hold me for another page or two.

  13. What I like here is that your descriptions accomplish exactly what you want them to. I have a clear picture of what is happening. However, you've chosen a quiet moment to open with and it is less exciting than it could be. Why is her dog's weight important? Why are we focusing on whether they go for a walk? There isn't much room for you to maneuver there, as far as scene structure goes. Each bit of information that you include should have real purpose and this part feels like very lovely filler. I'd love to see some conflict because, based on what I see here, I bet you could do it very well.