Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April Secret Agent #11

TITLE: The Social Season
GENRE: Adult Speculative Fiction

I was pacing in my father’s office, searching for an escape route from this horrid conversation. He’d doubtless spent many hours crafting this particular speech. It had been lingering at the edge of our meetings for months now. My hands clenched into fists.

The wood floor creaked as I made another turn. I tuned it out, focusing instead on my father’s words.

“Son, it’s time for you to choose. I’m not saying it has to be this season. I’ll give you…let’s say…three seasons. But you will attend each one until you’ve claimed a mate. Do you understand?”

He was just barely speaking, his voice a bit louder than a whisper. He didn’t need to yell. I’d spent enough time with him to know when to argue. But I’d no interest in a wife; I didn’t need a woman following me around, groveling at my feet.

“Father.” I planted my feet. He was reclining in his chair, staring up at me expectantly. He looked perfectly calm.

I swallowed heavily, trying to find a solid argument. “I’m only twenty-five. I’ve been training under you for five years now. I shadowed you for a long time before that. Don’t you think I should be able to relax for just a bit before I take on a wife? And if I’m going to be the next Lord of Dolfian, do you really think I should be distracted? Why don’t I go through a season looking for a servant or a mistr-”


  1. I like the way this sets up mood, it's intriguing. Only thing is I can't picture the office - is it old, creaky and wooden? Or is it modern and minimalist? This would give a great insight into the family / father's character. More sensory, too. Cause I'm not sure what to imagine.

    I do hope the MC changes his attitude about women in the book, though!

  2. I don't get a good sense of either character's personality, beyond formal and proper to the point of repressed tension.

    Also, consider a stronger opening sentence structure than a past participle ("paced" vs. "was pacing").

  3. I'm intrigued by the premise of seasons and claiming a mate, the MC's chauvinist perspective on women, the training to be the next Lord of Dolfian.

    More active language (losing was/been/had) would hold me tighter to the story, however.

    I also would like additional sensory details to ground me in time and place. Such details could also reveal more about the characters.

  4. You gave us a character pacing, then hopped into a flashback. Not very compelling. Since you're showing us the scene with his father anyway, why not simply start there? Put us in the moment, rather than using the flashback, that way we see the scene play out, rather than get it after the fact.

    And I didn't see him as chauvanistic. I saw him as living in a world where women aren't considered worth much, and he was a man who wanted a different kind of woman. Since you're getting differing opinions, this may be something that needs clarifying.

    And is this the place to start? If he has several seasons to choose a wife, then there's no urgency to solve the problem. If finding a wife is the main plot, perhaps give him less time to find one. If it's a subplot, I'd suggest starting somewhere else that introduces the main plot, as well as the inciting incident. What does your mc want? Why can't he have it? Who, or what, stands in his way? What is he willing to do to get it? Try to get the answers to those questions on page one, or at least in the first chapter.

  5. In that second sentence, it reads funny so I’d rework as “He’d doubtlessly (it was missing the -ly) spent…”Also I thought there was a conversation and now it seems like it’s a speech which is something completely different and why is it making the character’s hands clenched into fits? I think a little more clarification is needed here.

    The character here sounds so sure that having a wife will ruin everything and his thoughts on women are really bad. I wonder if there's a reason behind this hatred of women. If there is, I'd try to incorporate some of that in this scene. Maybe he hates women because his mother was like that to his father or maybe he sees his father having all these wives and is disgusted and wants to not be that way. Whatever you decide, just try to include something that helps the reader better understand his viewpoint so they can connect with him better. I hope his mind is changed when he meets the right person later on.

    Also, it’s never good to stop a page or moment when someone’s being cut off. It doesn’t leave curiosity as it just abruptly ends and confuses the reader. I’d rework that last sentence so it ends strong and also piques the reader’s interests.

    Thanks for entering!