Wednesday, March 7, 2018

March Secret Agent Contest #32

TITLE: Light on Glass
GENRE: Adult Women's Fiction

The dog refused to poop.

            That's what my life had come to. Standing on the sidewalk at an ungodly hour of the morning, wearing a fuzzy, pink robe and sheepskin boots over mismatched pajamas, watching a twenty-pound dog search for the perfect place to poop. Poop that I would have to pick up or risk the wrath of the homeowners association.

            Designated poop picker-upper. That’s my job. I sighed in the crisp, morning air. I don’t remember circling that option on my career aptitude questionnaires.

            After visiting three patches of grass and a fire hydrant, we headed home. I walked into the kitchen and headed straight for the coffee maker. As I sipped my way through my first cup of coffee, four year old Jack and seven year old Ella wandered in looking for breakfast.

            They were picking their way through waffles and juice when my husband came rushing through the door.

            “Keys. I need keys.”

            “Under your wallet on the counter.” I didn’t need to look up from my coffee to know where they were.

            “Yes. Thank you!” Rick scooped up the keys. “I’m running so late. I totally forgot I told Charles I’d meet him before work.”

            I poured a cup of coffee into a travel mug for him and held it out.

            He saw it and stopped mid-stride. “You are the best.”

            “So I’ve been told.”

            Rick shuffled through the disorganized stack of papers on his section of the kitchen counter. “Oh, I forgot,” he handed me a padded, yellow mailer.


  1. You had me at "poop!" I can totally picture this. A few suggestions that will help get to "what's next" sooner: 1. Remove "wearing a" and add apostrophe to homeowners 2. Clarify tense in second paragraph. 3. remove "walked into the kitchen" and phrase beginning "as I sipped;" start new para with "Jack and Ella were picking" 4. Remove "I didn't need" and "He saw it" Change comma after "forgot" to period. Good luck!

  2. Superb beginning. And Carol Cronin's editing comments are right on. (I'd add "came rushing" --> "rushed" to her notes.) A pass of tightening wouldn't be amiss, but the narrator is a character I absolutely want to know more about.

  3. I love this set up and the humorous tone. And I can relate to the mom! The only thing I might suggest is that, funny as the dog finding a place to poop is, maybe it's a sentence too long. Maybe get into her story a little faster? I'm assuming her conflict is going to be something to do with the tribulations of being a stay at home mom...But I am def interested in reading more of this.

  4. I enjoyed this beginning. The writing felt easy and natural. It threw me off a bit when you said "four year old Jack and seven year old Ella," like something was being explained to me. I would just say Jack and Ella, and then maybe throw something in there that shows they are young, or more naturally introduces their ages. Good luck with this!

  5. I know I’m going against the grain here, but I wouldn’t start with poop. Sure, all of us moms can related to that and put ourselves in your characters shoes, but your task isn’t to make a mom laugh, it’s to get an agent/editor to keep reading and a lot of them will think “busy suburban morning, got it. What’s next?” Unfortunately, thanks to TV and books, we’re all pretty familiar with the mo who is keeping it all together and feeling underappreciated and undercaffinated, so what makes yours stand out? Start there. Tap into that. I’m thinking the envelope will be what shakes things up here so am excited to get to that.

  6. Yes, perhaps, just a few interactions with kids and her husband to show the routines and get to that mysterious envelope! I could hear the voice in the writing so I think your main character will be compelling.

  7. I'm a suburban mom and I don't like dogs and I don't like poop. But the opening line immediately spelled out for me what's happening and what the main character is feeling/thinking. Kind of defeated, keeping it all together, world on her shoulders sort of feeling.
    And I instantly liked her voice. But I definitely don't want to read anything else about poop.
    The husband not knowing where his keys are rings true, just as true as not knowing where anything else in the house is, but the keys tell us he's on his way out rather than in.
    Maybe just start with the delivering of the envelope if that's the focus of the opening scene. What comes before can be laid out after.

  8. YOur readers will identify immediately with your main character and the situation. Feelings we've all had. Could add humorous element of dog and kids increasing the chaos, dad reacting poorly or well.