Wednesday, August 27, 2008

#21 SECRET AGENT Are You Hooked?


GENRE: Commercial fiction

Lucas crept to the edge of the field and listened. Nothing -- nothing close anyway. Maybe he'd lost him. He grunted. Fat chance.

Which way now? Blackberries snarled the fence between him and the woods. The creek? No, that's the first place he'd search. Lucas hesitated, then darted back the way he came, getting only a few feet before rustling in a stand of cattails to his left sent him diving into a patch of lank brown grass. Should’ve tried for the woods.

Footsteps splashed through the water, paused, then angled sharply back into the field. The footfalls came even faster -- he'd been seen. Lucas sprinted forward, but got only one step before two paws planted against his shoulder and sent him sprawling.

Flat on his belly, spitting grass out of his mouth, he had two thoughts. One, this spot of ground was altogether too squishy, which meant mud. His mom was going to kill him. And two, the dog sitting on his back weighed as much as Isabel Cutter, the girl who knocked him down and tried to kiss him at school last summer.

He looked over his shoulder and got a glimpse of a lolling pink tongue and white teeth before the beast dropped and began bathing his face. Lucas snorted and choked and buried his face in his arms.

“You got me! You don’t have to drown me.” At least Pax was a better kisser than Izzy.


  1. This is cute and the writing is good, but I'm not really sure I've been hooked.

    It would definitely depend on your back cover. I don't get a sense of what's going on and why this is important.

    The strong sense of setting makes this a maybe for me.

  2. It's good writing, and I like the sensory input. The weaving of description with action is nice, but it seems a bit contrived. IMO, when you dive, you dive. You don't check which plants you're diving into.

    The tension is lessened by the quirky voice, and then blown away when it's false tension. Sometimes that works for me, here it doesn't. Sorry.

  3. I wasn't sure if he was scared or not? Was it hide and seek or run from the bad guy? Nice humor but I wasn't sufficiently engaged to read on. What pulls me forward? He runs and a dog catches him. Period. I'd have liked some hint of conflict.

  4. No- You're a good writer. There is nothing technically wrong with this except I don't care for the genre. There isn't action or the promise of action and the reading feels altogether too sedate to hold my interest.

    However, there is a good sized crowd of people who do like books just like this so I encourage you to keep at it.

  5. Yes!

    Ok, maybe I was wondering why or how he saw the dog's teeth (I don't normally see my dog's teeth unless their lips are pulled back in a snarl or they are panting really bad), but I do like this. :)

  6. Sorry, but no. This seemed to jump all over the place, and I just couldn't get centered in this story.

  7. Maybe.

    This is well written. It's light in tone, and you develop the character and scenario well. Unfortunately I didn't have a need to find out what happens to this character, and it reads like YA to me... which leaves me wondering what in this story is aimed at adults?

    That said, I'd probably read on to find out if I'd read on. ;)

    Any way, good luck!

  8. I'm not entirely hooked yet, but I think if I knew more of what the plot of the story was it would help. Playing hide and seek with a dog is kind of funny, but not sure where the story is going.

  9. Not exactly sure what is being established here, I think this is a light, breezy narrative that is accessible but doesn't quite accomplish a hook. However on the execution alone I would read ahead if only to gauge what it is I am considering.

  10. Yes. I like this. I'd keep reading.

  11. Thanks for your feedback, everyone -- I'm the author. Secret, thank you for taking time to do this!

    I agree with all of you. I've had problems with the opening myself for the reasons stated, but I wanted to see if others felt the way I did.

    For the record, this scene is to establish the boy's relationship with the dog who, it turns out, is not his (and he's not supposed to be playing with). The dog is a hunting dog his father has taken in for training. When his father is unexpectedly killed in a car accident, the boy believes that fulfilling his father's plan for the dog is the only way to save his family.

  12. I recognize this entry.

    I'd have to say I'm not really hooked. It's very well written, but I think either there's too much time spent looking for a hiding place, or this isn't quite the place to start this story.

  13. I loved it. I only wonder why the dog was hunting him and how he could even think he could evade it. I would definitely read on.

  14. I'm one of those readers who, unless the writing is really atrocious, will ALWAYS read past the first page. It's just so hard to get much sense of anything in one page! That said, I couldn't quite put my finger on what the story would eventually be about, but that didn't bother me. I'd read on because I liked the description of him being "hunted" and then finding out he was only playing with a dog. It was super sweet.