Wednesday, January 23, 2019

January Secret Agent #9

TITLE: Flight Club
GENRE: Adult women's fiction

My godmother Pam used to say a woman’s mind is like an airplane—quick, powerful, and built to soar. Pam worked in-flight in the eighties and nineties, when flight attendants were called stewardesses, and the general public could hang out at airport gates without boarding passes. As a wide-eyed kid back home on the bayou, Pam’s stories were the only ones I’d come in off the water for. She was so worldly and wise. I wanted to grow up to be just like her.

Ironically, my mind feels more like a swamp boat stuck in the mud than a high-flying airplane, due to the surly-eyed passenger towering over me in the aircraft aisle.

If this guy glares any harder, he’ll burst a blood vessel and ruin his sleek navy suit.

I steady my breath, while the scarf at my neck tightens into a vise-like grip. Calm and focused, I can do this.

“Please take a seat, sir,” I say.

The man’s brow furrows deeper. “Tell your captain to open that door and get me back up to the gate. I need to find my phone. It’s life or death. ”

Smartphones pop up, one by one, from the leather seats at either side of the aisle. Behind them, their owners remain poised and ready. Great. I don’t suppose they’d wait for me to freshen up my lip gloss before recording. I’d really like to look nice when my epic fail goes viral.


  1. I love this opening! And I love your title! Haha.

  2. Love this opening! Gives us a clear picture of character and setting. And that last line is perfect, sets me up to know there will be humor sprinkled throughout this book, which I love. I want to keep reading.

    Not much to critique. Maybe make the first line stand alone?

  3. First of all, I LOVE the title! And it's really interesting and spot-on how everyone immediately pops their phones up when they expect a scene to play out. Poor flight attendant!

    I think you might be able to cut the last two sentences in the first paragraph, though. After her introduction we understand that Pam is interesting and important to her. Just a thought if you'd want to cut some words!

  4. Overall this is a fantastic opening! Very descriptive and I love your MC already. If I was to be picky, I'd like to know how long she's been doing this. Like is this her first day or is she seasoned but getting burned out on grumpy passengers. I think it'd help establish her age right away as well as her internal feelings. (does she like her job,or is it just a job?) I feel with just a sentence or two it'd really bring your MC into focus quicker, as well as win a sympathy point or two from the reader. ;-)

  5. “As a wide-eyed kid back home on the bayou, Pam’s stories were the only ones I’d come in off the water for.” This sentence makes it sounds like Pam’s stories were a wide-eyed kid on the bayou
    Maybe instead: “I’d only come in off the water for Pam’s stories, back when I was a wide-eyed kid on the bayou. Pam was so worldly…”
    LOVE the line about her mind like a swamp boat. And I love the cliffhanger happening at the end!!

  6. I'm wondering how important Pam is to the story. If she isn't, you might consider starting with the passenger standing over her. It's immediately confrontational.

    It's written well. There's some nice humor here. But I wanted more - of the confrontation, a hint at the problem.

  7. Great opening. I love the description and the reaction of the passengers with their phones. I, too, would love just a little inkling of what the issue is with the confrontational passenger, but I guess I'll have to wait to buy it!

  8. I JUST WANT TO BUY THIS BOOK ALREADY! I love your premise and this opening is very strong!

  9. Those last two lines are my favorite! I love the voice here, and the premise is great. I would definitely be interested in reading a book about a flight attendant.

    My main question is whether or not the paragraph about Pam is necessary and if it would work better to start immediately into the action. Ultimately, I couldn't say without reading more to know if she ties in later in the chapter and how. Her character sounds very interesting, and I do hope she is featured more throughout the book.

    Overall, this is a strong opening, and I want more of your character!

  10. Wow! I have to say that I loved these opening paragraphs and the title. I feel like with just the title and the voice and few descriptions I somewhat have an idea of how this read will be, even without the query. Great job on capturing the mood and voice this way.

    I wonder if it'll be even stronger if you split up the second paragraph to two sentences, instead of one. I had a hard time getting through this sentence/paragraph since it was too long, and it really packs a punch in description. I'd say, pace the reader a little by breaking up that sentence, so we can appreciate your wordplay all the more :).

  11. I love the first line. It’s very “My Momma used to say life is like a box of chocolates…”. Very catchy (and please don’t take the Forrest Gump reference as an insult in any way, that’s a good thing in my mind).

    But after the first line, I want to get pulled straight into the MC. I know we learn about the MC through Pam, how she wants to be like Pam, where’s she’s from, but I want to be drawn into the scene earlier. Then maybe weave in the rest about Pam? Just a suggestion. Honestly, this works well the way it is. I just felt a bit, a very BIT, jarred, going from Pam, to the 80’s and 90’s and then to the Bayou and then an airplane supposedly in present day.

    And the second graph, I love what you’re going for here, the comparison to the MCs mind feeling like a swamp boat, but it falls for me when her mind is also compared to a high-flying airplane. Like maybe, “my mind feels more like a swamp boat stuck in the mud than an airplane soaring through clear skies”. I want the juxtaposition between the mud and the clean air, or something.

    I don’t know. I’m nit-picking and this comment is kind of all over the place and I’m not trying to rewrite, just throwing out ideas. Bottom line, I would totally read on.

    Oh, and I LOVE the last two sentences.

  12. I love this. I'm thinking hard for something to improve upon, but really, I can't. Maybe another line of internal feelings when she steadies herself before addressing the passenger, something to let the reader know whether she's a seasoned flight attendant or new? But really, I love it all - the title, the voice (so casual and storyteller-like), the immediate action. I can picture her and the guy and all the bystanders with their smart phones. And I want to read more right now this very second. Wonderful!

  13. Initially I was going to say probably the first paragraph of backstory didn't need to be there, but, it ties in beautifully here! Makes the narrative richer and MC more sympathetic to see the reality of the job compared to her glorified ideas of it.
    Loved the humor at the end and I like the MC!

  14. This was so good. I was pulled in from the beginning but once the smartphones came out, I knew it was going to get juicy!

  15. Very well done! I’m hooked! My one and only suggestion might be to delete “back home on the bayou.” You’ve conveyed exactly this with “swamp boat” but in a much more subtle, seamless way. The first paragraph could maybe be ironed out a bit more, but I disagree with suggestions to remove it. I think I’d like to see you take your time with the first paragraph; something about it feels a little clunky, but truthfully, these are more line-edit type suggestions. The content is solid. You do a great job of conveying much of who she is with simple details like swamp boat, admired godmother and thought this job would be a lot more glamorous, and will you at least let me put on my lipgloss? Ha! Love it.

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