Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Secret Agent #48

TITLE: Love/Sick
GENRE: Adult women's fiction

My eyes have special powers. They see things others can’t. My eyes, with the help of a few margaritas, can turn a hobbit into a Hemsworth brother. It’s a talent curated by inebriation and fermented by cheap booze. However impressive, it’s a fruitless gift, which to date has produced nothing more than a series of bad decisions.

Morning light streams through the dusty plastic blinds. I glance at the face occupying the pillow to my left and sigh. Ben the banker, last night’s date, has hit his expiration. His snores and my sobriety have stripped him of his swagger. At midnight, he was a dead ringer for his profile picture. Now, he’s morphed back into a distant—less attractive—relative of that man.

I slip out of the unfamiliar bed, reassured by the fact I’m still wearing my bra and panties, and begin the scavenger hunt for my scattered belongings and whatever memories I can collect from last night.
I grab my phone from the borrowed charger. How is it already six? I have to be at Capitol Hill by seven.

Where’s my other shoe? I kneel to search under the nightstand. Please God, don’t make me hobble out of here on one wedge. I pause and lift my eyes to the ceiling. Sorry, God. I know helping promiscuous girls isn’t exactly your forte. But just this once? There’s no room for mistakes today.


  1. My thought is perhaps you've started in the wrong place. The opening is 'a charater woke up.' And I got the sense that Ben the Banker is a throwaway charater we'll never see again. And then, I didn't like the MC. If there was no room for mistakes that morning, she should have planned better. It makes me think she's a bit dim, probably someone who screws up a lot. Nothing here makes me want to read more about her. Starting with a stronger, more compelling scene may make all the difference.

    1. I once read something—“Think twice before you speak (or write) because your words will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”

      Point is, I’m pretty sure this contest started as a way for folks to get constructive criticism on their first words, not to be dragged down. If you really don’t like someone’s words, maybe it would be best to pass on commenting.

    2. Okay, this comment makes me think you're just trying to be snarky, because this actually works just fine for the opening scene in Adult/WF. I think all of these things you critiqued actually established the main character quite well (she woke up disoriented, in bed with someone she'll never see again, she makes these mistakes regularly--which may be a sign of other chaotic things in her life, not her being "dim," and she's running late). I feel like I already know this character, and I sympathize immediately with her. I've made mistakes. I've had poor planning. I've grown from those things, and I'd be excited to read about this character growing from hers.
      WF isn't the genre I write, and from your comment it doesn't seem to be yours, either. Be nice. Don't pick at something just to pick at it, especially if you're misunderstanding the genre you're critiquing.

  2. I think the first line is a little misleading in that I thought she really could see things others couldn’t. But as far as alcohol making people more attractive... that happens to all of us from time-to-time. Lol. I do like the comical purpose of it though, but I think the second paragraph carries the same message and moves the story better. Maybe consider starting with it. I like that it’s starting with her in a situation like this, if done right, it can tell a lot about your character. My suggestion would just be to add more stakes. Don’t say there’s no room for mistakes... say what could go wrong. Draw the reader in with specifics. Good luck!

  3. Love/This:) Yes it is a wake-up beginning, but so well-done. I am there. I feel hungover reading it. I learn a lot about the character and setting quickly. And I ended with a laugh. I think you could cut the rhetorical questions (How's it 6? Where's my shoe?) you are showing her search so just go with that, makes the hobble remark funnier and her other thoughts stand out. This is a personal opinion, but I would consider using 'promiscuous women' instead of 'girls'

  4. I was confused by the special powers line at first but understood it as I read on. I got to know the character very quickly and she made me smile several times. I think it's a good start.

  5. I would definitely read on. You have a clever way with words that made me laugh. Everyone makes mistakes, but turning them around so there're amusing makes for good writing.

    Capitol Hill as in DC? I'd like to know that. That info would make it all the more interesting to me.

    I like the MC. Quirky and sharp. Keep writing!

  6. Interesting title--makes me wonder if this is going to have a sad ending. I'm not sure if I want that to be a typo or not.

    I like the sense of progression here at the beginning, but it does start with her waking up and starting her day (although in a possibly unique way), which is pet peeve of many agents and editors, so best to avoid. Which is a bummer, because that "has hit his expiration" line made me literally laugh out loud, which is a nice way to get into a manuscript. Backing up a bit may put us at a point, though, that could possibly shift the genre of your manuscript, though, and I don't know how important this banker is to the story, so this is a hard one to offer advice on in regards to the starting point.

    So, if we temporarily remove the fact that the waking up point could be an issue, this is a solid start. Your voice was great, and the wordplay kept me entertained. I have no idea where the story is going and whether this night is going to be significant to the endpoint, since I hold to the old adage that the best beginning is the one that’s the ending in disguise, but I'm definitely interested in the character arc being created. Well done.