Thursday, July 17, 2008

#66 SECRET AGENT Are You Hooked?

Title - Sarah's Awakening
Genre - Multicultural Contemporary Romance

“I can not believe I actually did this.” The words
muttered for her ears alone. Sarah’s forehead rested
on the cool window of the bus as her head rocked
slightly from side to side. Her eyelids lifted slowly
and she focused, through her reflection, on the fields
flying by at what seemed to be ninety miles per hour,
the bustling city streets of Lima a long distant
memory. Sitting up in her seat, Sarah pulled her
attention from the mountain scenery and read once more
the advertisement clutched in her fist.

Caravanas de Amor. Free bus trips for women from Lima
to isolated rural villages, which most of the native
females have long since abandoned for cities, leaving
behind the single men. The three week adventure
promises fun and dancing (and possible romance).
Hotel and meals paid for. To join the next trip, show
up at the Sonesta Posada Del Inca on Monday at nine
o’clock in the morning.

Sarah let the words sink in and processed the
possibilities to come. Her head returned to rest on
the window and rocked from side to side as her eyes
closed once more. The bus jostled along the dirt road
toward Tarma, Peru, and somewhere beyond that, her
mysterious new home for the next three weeks.

The other ladies on the bus chatted amongst themselves
as their destination grew ever closer. Sarah picked
up a stray word here and there. “I should have kept
up with my Spanish. How am I going to get by in some
isolated village? I’m sure they don’t speak English.”
The Spanish words flooded her ears as realization
dawned. “Doing things impulsively to prove someone
wrong isn’t always the best idea. I should have
thought this through.” With nothing to do but await
the buses destination, Sarah relaxed into the steady
rhythm of the ancient bus as it traveled down the now
gravel road and drifted off to sleep.


  1. This is a nice concept--like mail-order brides in the old West. But the set-up is static, the interior monoloq is stiff and unnatural and the tense shifts and punctuation make it hard to sink into the world.

    A lot more concrete details might help draw in the reader. Like what exact Spanish phrases did she understand?

    And I certainly wouldn't have her fall asleep. That is signal to the reader that nothing's going to happen for a while, so ... might as well put the book down.

  2. An English-speaker opts to go on a "love trip" for three weeks into the backwoods of Peru, not knowing the language.

    I'd put it down just based on the mc being so stupid.

    However, "Doing things impulsively to prove someone wrong isn't always the best idea" almost saves this. There's something in there that makes me want to know more.

    Needs work, but I'm intrigued.


  3. Do like the idea of the romantic adventure and the impulsive nature of the protagonist. Not sure about "now gravel road."

    Keep on keeping on though. Think you have something here.

  4. You have a good idea, but I think it needs some editing.

  5. No. Good idea, but needs editing for eg. ending a sentence with the preposition for. And pulling thoughts threw me. Needs a lot of editing.


  6. Probably not. The set-up seems implausible and forced. The dialogue also doesn't feel natural, and her doubts are the cliche doubts voiced by almost every heroine at some point following an impulsive decision.

  7. No. The setup and unfolding of how Sarah ended up on the bus take too long and feel tedious. There are some tense shifts that pulled me from the narrative. I like the overall premise, but I think the presentation needs some tightening.

  8. No.

    It's all set up and back story and nothing happens. I would start once they get to their destination and the interesting things start happening.

    Good luck,


  9. No.

    I think the paragraphs need to be broken up and I really didn't see a true hook here.

    She's dozing on a bus in mexico.

  10. No, I'm not hooked. The beginning is too slow. Whenever you start a story with just one character thinking and not doing, you've got a big problem. Chances are the real beginning to this story happens later, so you might think about starting there instead.

  11. I wanted to like this but the verb tense shifts were distracting. I'm guessing it's a no, I wouldn't read on from me.

  12. Not hooked.

    Good premise but it needs some spice...some conflict right up front. Start when she gets off the bus or when she's already thrown into a world whose language she does not speak.

  13. I probably wouldn't read on. The second paragraph and the comment about doing things impulsively to prove someone wrong peaked my interest. But the writing felt a bit too heavy to me.

  14. It's an interesting concept but I'd need Sarah to be a lot more vivid, and her actions more motivated, for me to buy in. The prose isn't snapping me along yet either, so I'd probably pass on this one.

  15. This felt a bit too slow and informational to me, I couldn't really get into the scene.

  16. I can see potential in the idea, and some exciting future adventures, but as it is the prose needs a lot of polishing - so it's a no for me.