Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April Secret Agent #46

TITLE: A Maiden Innings
GENRE: Adult Romance

Rose knew she shouldn’t have tweeted. What a big mistake! It was supposed to be a joke. Now they were including his lawyers? It was a senseless risk she’d taken. And she knew it the moment she had typed it and sent it into the Twitterverse.

Dressed in a formal suit, the only one she owned, the same one she wore to funerals, interviews, school dinners, she sat examining her nails, restlessly tapping her foot on the shiny mahogany floor. All she’d done was proved him wrong. He wasn’t generous, kind or any of the things he claimed.
The men in tailored suits came in and Rose knew from their pinched faces she was in trouble.
“Miss Cavendish, I’m sure you’re aware that we can bring a defamation suit against you for what you tweeted a week ago.”

Rose felt the sweat trickle down her back. “Look, it was done in jest. I didn’t mean to hurt him. Tell them,” she nudged the only lawyer, she knew, her friend and co-member of the catechist’s association at church. She couldn’t afford legal counsel. Damn it, she was only a teacher for heaven’s sake.
“What my client is trying to say Mr. Gleason is that no harm was meant to Mr. Anderson. There’s no question of defamation, it’s not that he’s got a stellar reputation to begin with,” her portly friend, said with her shrill voice.


  1. I really enjoyed this! I think you've done a great job with set up and pacing. My only thoughts are maybe not using the phrases "dressed in a formal suit" and "the men in tailored suits" so close to each other. You could say she was dressed in her itchy JCPenney jacket and skirt, or something similar. Also, toward the end, I was a bit jolted by the description of her attorney and then friend. Assuming they are the same person? Maybe pare down the adjectives at the very end "her portly friend said with her shrill voice". Use an action verb instead of "said with her shrill voice". Hope this helps. It's really compelling!

  2. Hi! I really like the concept of this woman getting sued for something she said on Twitter (very realistic, in this day and age) and it makes me REALLY curious to see who the romantic love interest is, but the voice at the beginning has a younger, light-hearted feel to it. If that's what you're going for, it worked! If you're trying to set up a scene of tension and a grown woman getting sued, I'd consider changing your wording / voice a little. I'd suggest taking out the exclamation marks, and adding a bit more tension to the scene. Humor can be good in some cases (and it's clear you have a knack for writing humor) but if you're trying to make the reader nervous about the etc getting sued, show the mc herself worrying about. You've set up the conflict and stakes, but now add depth with her emotional response! The other issue is with run-on sentences. Be careful with those! Otherwise, great job :D

  3. I like the concept here, but the wordiness of some of the sentences gets in the way of the impact. You can usually delete filter words like "she knew" and "she felt." So you could begin, perhaps with, "She shouldn't have tweeted."

    You also have several sentences in that opening paragraph that say the same thing, roughly-- so maybe consider omitting some of them.

    Maybe give us a sense of the stakes-- besides a lawsuit, could she get fired? Is she worried about going bankrupt? A sense of her emotions as well might help. Interesting premsie though.

  4. I agree that you have a curious premise. I can imagine all sorts of trouble this woman will get into before the story's over.

    However, I agree with the comments on voice. The narrative voice makes her sound young, but the word choice sounds older.

    I do love the opening line. It's something I say to myself all the time. lol

    Good luck!

  5. I want to know what she tweeted!! LOL. This is an engaging start and you have me wanting to know what happens. My suggestions are a couple of minor ones:
    -An exclamation point in the first paragraph feels a bit funny. Maybe cut that sentence?
    -To deepend the POV, I think you could cut the "Rose knew." You could do "Rose shouldn't have tweeted" to help us feel more in her shoes. Same with "Rose felt the sweat..." You could cut right to "The sweat trickled" since we're already in her POV. Cutting those distancing phrases would throw us even deeper in the action.

    I really like the line about "the same one she wore to funerals..." That is solid characterization.

    Good luck!!

  6. I really like the beginning. It definitely makes me want to keep going.

    The only things I noticed were a few spots that had run-on sentence feels to them (even though they were technically legitimate sentences). Specifically, the description of her suit following by her biting her nails (it's just a long sentence with a lot of commas for me).

    I'd also consider breaking up your first paragraph so that you can hone in on a really strong opening line or two. Maybe the first sentence on it's own and then start a new paragraph with the rest of it. I also kind of like the idea of cutting the first paragraph entirely and then ending your entire scene with "She knew she shouldn't have sent that tweet." or something similar.

    I hope that helps!

  7. The first couple of sentences hooked me good - this is a very relatable and cringeworthy scenario that I think SO many people could relate to. I like the physical cues you've given as to her stade of mind - the foot tapping, the sweat, the staring at her nails - great pacing too.

    I don't think it's necessary to go into the formal suit. I feel it diverts away from the panic and tension you're trying to build. I like how snappy and funny your writing is, but as other have mentioned, playing up on the emotional responses will really help here.

    Great work!

  8. I thought this basically worked. Perhaps try a rewrite with an eye to making it read smoother. It could be much tighter.

    Formal suit - is there such a thing as in an informal suit? Maybe cut 'formal.'

    Maybe change the wood on the floor. Mahogany is generally too rare and expensive to be used as flooring.

    Would she be sitting in front of lawyers in so short a time period? I don't know, but it seems one week is too fast.

    Cut all the 'she knew's.'

  9. You have all you need to make this catch my eye, but it is hidden in too many words. Wordiness makes me lose interest. Remove unnecessary information and repetition. You will find the flow will improve a great deal.

    Great subject and you have made the MC someone I can identify with. I can imagine myself sitting in her skin.

  10. I want to know what she tweeted! Great hook. I also like how you organically added information about MC.
    The prose itself could be stream lined in some places.

  11. I need a little bit more to really sink into the situation. She made a mistake and apparently is facing legal charges from it. But just what was so bad and to whom that she’s in this situation? Was it another teacher? The principal? And why would a mature and responsible adult decide to tweet something. She’s supposed to be a role model and yet tweeting jokes at other’s expense isn’t leading by example.

    If I didn’t know she was a teacher, I would think this was a young adult story. Rose’s voice doesn’t match the maturity of the situation or genre. I would work to fix that.

    Also, I would remove the exclamation from “What a big mistake!” It changes the tone of the voice in my opinion. The first sentence sounds like one of full of regret while the second makes it sound forced unbelief.

    What also caught my eye is the choice of wording. Would an adult her age really say “jest”? I guessed her age since she still uses twitter that she’s somewhere in her 20s and 30s rather than a 80 year old woman.

    Thanks for entering!

  12. What did she tweet?! You got me. The only things that jumped out at me in regards to flow would be the first exclamation point, and the heavy use of adjectives, which might not be needed to get your point across.

    Good luck!

  13. Thanks to everyone for the feedback. Love all of you guys.

  14. I also am very curious what she tweeted and why she did it even though she knew it was a mistake.

    I also would recommend some word trimming and sentence length. Adjustments in word choice would help pin down the voice as either New Adult or Adult.

    Keep at it!