Mother Teresa’s Advice for Jilted Lovers – opening

Special thanks to Heather Webb for this blog hop contest.

First 250 words of Mother Teresa’s Advice for Jilted Lovers

Genre: Women’s fiction/dark humour


I didn’t wake up that morning expecting to kill my boyfriend. In fact, after four months of sharing sheets, I was feeling like James and I might be going somewhere. Somewhere together. As we lay relaxing after making love, I thought we might be transitioning from being casual lovers to officially declaring ourselves ‘a couple.’ It felt far enough to consider, but not quite far enough to talk about. At least, not with James.

He got out of bed to make coffee and connect with head office. I stayed put, not wanting to disrupt my post-sex vibration. I imagined the conversation I’d have later that day with Betsy about my future with James.

“I think we’re getting serious,” I’d tell her.

She’d be skeptical and snarky, “Better you than me,” she’d say.

“He bought me a toothbrush when he replaced his own. Feels like a good sign.”

“Yeah, a big orange caution flag.”

That’s Betsy. She’s not one for love or commitment. We’re like yin and yang that way.

I heard the coffee-maker sputter and James clinking mugs so I got up. His laptop sat on the coffee table open to an exchange with his boss, Sandra. As I dropped to the couch, two words jumped out at me as though they’d been typed in large, bold, red letters—’blow job.’ I looked away and rubbed my eyes. He must mean something about not blowing a job he has to do for Sandra.

Posted in Creative writing, Mother Teresa's Advice for Jilted Lovers, NaNoWriMo
9 comments on “Mother Teresa’s Advice for Jilted Lovers – opening
  1. Kris Mehigan says:

    Hi Donna,

    I have to admit, just read the opening to “Drinking Scotch” and that’s a really hard act to chase. At least for me.

    With that said, I didn’t connect as well with this MC. She seemed too emotionally detached for me to relate, especially given she admits to (at least thinking about) killing her boyfriend and having sex with him. Perhaps this is intentional.

    You’ve written a provocative opening, so I would still continue reading the story, but I’m not invested in the MC yet.


  2. I had the same reaction as Kris. Drinking Scotch hits you hard in the gut. It’s a character that I think women who have been in long relationships can identify, but this MC seems weaker to me. Her voice seemed more on the verge of a whine whereas the first one was “a decision has been made and that’s how it’s going down.”

  3. I am wondering if she did kill her boyfriend later. I’ll chime in with the comments from Rebeca and Kris…this character just didn’t grab me emotionally like the one in Drinking Scotch. I’ve known women who are like this, but usually just rolled my eyes at their behavior. Maybe that’s why I feel less interested in this character. At the end, maybe don’t say that the friend will be snarky and demonstrate it with her comments and actions. It’s a strong beginning, just didn’t grab me as much as your first story!

  4. I liked the opening hook, but the rest seems to be passive and detached. I started getting more into the piece at the end with the potential conversation, which suggested that scene was not going to happen. This opening has a bit of foreshadowing, but I think the problem is that the piece is lacking tension. I would suggest focusing on the underlying emotions.

    I hope this helps.

  5. Heather Webb says:

    I liked this! I know the others didn’t like it as much, but I did. It’s just a very different character than the other with completely different goals. That being said, there are things that need to be tightened that I think are preventing your readers from connecting with your protagonist.

    1. Toss in a few physical body movements on her part in the first 7 lines or so we can picture her better.
    “I rolled over onto his pillow and smelled the cologne that lingered there.” Etc.

    2. This sentence is awkward: “It felt far enough to consider, but not quite far enough to talk about.” I get what you’re trying to say, but the phrasing is off and therefore the meaning is lost.

    3. This sentence breaks the flow: “That’s Betsy. She’s not one for love or commitment. We’re like yin and yang that way.” First of all, you change tenses. Second of all, it feels as if you’re talking to the reader here instead of allowing your protag to be in scene. I’d delete it altogether. We got the meaning you were trying to convey by the little snippet of conversation you included between them.

    4. The pacing is off. This moment that she discovers the blow job phrase needs to be slowed down a bit. Build up the tension more here. A few more short phrases would help with that.

    Despite these things, I like your opening line–it hooked me. And I don’t have a friend alive who hasn’t been in that phase you’re describing here–a woman starting to fall for a boy, but they’re afraid to admit they’re attached. A little refining is needed, but it’s definitely on its way!

  6. Donna Barker says:

    Thank you all for your wonderful feedback. Much appreciated. I’ll try to address the ‘shortfalls.’

  7. MB Mulhall says:

    Unlike most of the others, I actually preferred this over Drinking Scotch.

    While I agree with Heather that it needs some polish, I actually prefer the premise of a chick snapping and killing her boyfriend over a woman caving to let her husband cheat rather than fixing what’s causing the lack of sex issue in the first place, but that’s just me.

    I wish there was just a little more so I could see when she realizes her thought about blowing a job for his boss was a ridiculous one! Heh

  8. D. D. Falvo says:

    I enjoyed this, too–the darker feel, the sophistication. This MC obviously isn’t one to pull her punches and I’m curious to learn more about her. I find myself wondering–was it an accident or an act of passion? Will she go to jail?

    I snagged on why a toothbrush would be a caution flag. And I agree with Heather, just hit us with the blow job-boom. And then her reaction.

    Well done, I’d definitely read more.

  9. Alec Breton says:

    I’m left wondering about a few things:
    – What is the deeper substance behind the insecurity and potential volatility of the female character? She likely didn’t discover her pronounced neediness for the first time with this one relationship.
    – When a person is so desperate to move forward into a relationship, despite how big cracks are being revealed in the foundation, won’t he or she likely have a trail of wreckage behind themselves?
    – Is the guy trying to provoke her? Perhaps he is crazier than what the female character is already projecting about herself? So, what bait is she really responding to?

    So far, the threatening proclamation at the beginning is like one loud drum beat. From here forward, what is going to cause the reader to want to hang around to hear what happens next?

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