Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Secret Agent #23

TITLE: More Than This
GENRE: Adult Women's Fiction

Three nerve-wracking days on the road and three sleepless nights, and her escape – at least this initial one -- was near completion. Lainey breathed fully for the first time in months as she left the highway, her borrowed vehicle hugging the curves of the empty road. The late day sun amplified colors and sharpened objects, painting the high desert landscape in rose-gold hues. More shades seemed to exist in the color spectrum, and Lainey already could understand the appeal of this place to artists, writers, wanderers. As a fellow settler, she hoped she too would be enchanted.

In a flash of movement, a tan and brown dog darted in front of her car. Startled, Lainey hit the brakes, her heart racing at the near miss. The dog continued to run down the center of the road in a panicked gait. Her heart still pounding, Lainey carefully began to follow the animal in her car, debating whether to catch it and bring it to a shelter. There must be a way she could drop it off safely…and anonymously.

As she approached the dog, she noticed its matted fur and scraggy tail and frowned. Maybe the poor animal was abused. Maybe the shelter would try to reunite it with its owners. Maybe it would better to just let it complete its own escape.

Then the dog turned and stared at Lainey with yellow, feral eyes.

“Whoa! Eres un coyote…,” she marveled out loud.


  1. I think this is a strong beginning. One thing, I think you should swap your first two sentences. I think the second sentence 'Lainey breathed fully...' works better as the first because it's a stronger hook than the first sentence.

    Great tension raised by dropping the word 'anonymously' at the end of the second paragraph. It makes you ask why she needs to be anonymous.

    I'm not sure what the significance of the coyote is, but overall, I think this is a strong start to the story.

  2. Some great detail here! The sentence "more shades seemed to exist in the color spectrum" confused me though. Maybe cutting it or saying it a different way would help. I'd love to get more of a feel for who Lainey is, too. Maybe a hint at why she's on the run. Good start!

  3. This drew me in immediately. I wanted to know who or what Lainey was running from, and where she was escaping to. There were some nice hints pointing to the south
    west, and 'enchanted' helped me settle on NM.

    And then the dog arrived and I forgot all about Lainey. I was curious insread about the dog. What had happened to it, would Lainey caych it? By the time I reached the end, I was totally involved. I'd definitely read more!

  4. I'm torn on this one. I liked the beginning, but I was a little confused by the mention of escape followed by the artisan appreciation. The first line made me think she was escaping a risk, more of an immediate need for safety, and then as the paragraph progressed, it seemed to be more of a general need for escape, as in a change from whatever was before. I got that same ebb and flow of tension and release when something darts in front of her path, she things it's a dog in need (making me think her story is about to intersect into something more, changing her current trajectory), but then it ends up being a coyote. That gives it a bit more of a spinning compass feel than I'd like, but the writing is nice, and with a synopsis and some idea where this is all going, I might be inclined to read more. As it is, though, I'm not sure I could say that I legitimately care about the character even though it was a nice reading experience. Maybe back up a little and share the reason for her need for escape to ground us into the character's reality and motivations a bit more.