Wednesday, August 27, 2008

#4 SECRET AGENT Are You Hooked?

GENRE: Commercial fiction - suspense

If whoever had their finger on her buzzer didn’t take it off in the next two seconds, Kate was going to grab a knife and remove it herself. Kids fooling around or someone who’d forgotten their key. Always a guy. Always her buzzer. Kate stomped barefoot to the intercom.

“What?” she snapped.

“Kate Evans? I’ve a delivery of flowers.”

Regret for her abrupt tone was tempered by disbelief. “For me?”

“Yes, if you’re Kate Evans.”

“Who are they from?”

A heavy sigh preceded a rustling noise. “It says -- for Kate from a secret admirer.”

Her lungs locked.

“Want to let me up?”

She pressed the release switch and leaned against the wall, excitement bubbling until she convinced herself it was a joke.

But the doorbell rang, and through the peephole Kate saw a fair-haired guy holding a large bouquet of flowers. She checked the chain was secure and opened the door.

“Could you leave them on the floor, please.”

Once he’d walked away, Kate removed the chain. As she turned the handle, the door slammed into her and for a moment she thought there had been an explosion. She fell on the floor, flowers scattering everywhere. The door closed and he dropped to his knees at her side. Kate opened her mouth to scream and he smiled.

“Marry me, Kate.”

Shock killed the scream in her throat. “Who…who are you?”

“Your future husband.”


  1. My immediate reaction was to sit back and say, "What the heck!!??!!"

    That's a good reaction btw, as I was obviously drawn in. I want to know who this crazy guy is. Is he a stalker? Is he the guy who had the flowers or someone else that was hiding (I think that's it)? Is he someone from her past that she doesn't recognize?

    GOOD JOB! Hooked me.

    :) Terri

  2. I think I'd change up a bit of the writing, but I'm hooked.

    I'd change up the lead like this: Kate stomped barefoot to the intercom.
    If whoever had their finger on her buzzer didn’t take it off in the next two seconds, she would grab a knife and remove it herself.
    Kids fooling around.
    Someone forgot their key.
    Always a guy.
    Always her buzzer.
    “What?” she snapped.

    And the sentence about regret tempering her disbelief would be stronger without the "was."

    Like this: "Regret for her abrupt tone tempered her disbelief."

    I'm curious. What the heck?

  3. Nice job. When the door slammed into her I expected something totally different than a strange proposal from a stranger. You peeked my curiosity--exactly what's needed to keep the reader reading.

  4. wow, this is a great start. very creepy how this thrashes her with the door and then says he's her future husband

  5. Yes, I like this already. I would keep right on reading.

  6. I'm hooked!

    I'm also in agreement with Kat regarding making a few adjustments to strengthen each line.

  7. Oh yes. Clear polished writing, a strong voice, and the pace lets you know this is a page turner. Hooked of course. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Yum. Love the title. Love the use of the buzzer as it is a recognizable sound that grates and establishes tension. Love that she’s barefoot. Love her lungs lockin’. Don’t like the last line, there’s something stronger out there. I think it has to do with the word “future” it throws the cadence of the line off. Well done.

  9. This is just great! I'd definitely read on.

  10. I'm hooked. That definitely got my attention.

    The only thing that bothered me is that the first part of the first sentence felt like first-person narrative and so I was a bit thrown when it turned out to be third-person.

  11. Good hooked. It was swift and the writing smooth.

    Well done!

  12. You have my undivided attention.
    Well done.

  13. Definitely hooked. I like Kat's suggestions, though. :)

  14. Waffling- I like your MC (although you need to clarify she is going to remove the finger not the buzzer), but I'm not sure what to do about a guy jumping through the door.

    I might turn the page. It would depend on my mood. Right now, I'm not in love.

  15. I'm hooked. She comes off as a likable MC and you immediately raise all sorts of story questions -- exactly what you want on a first page.

  16. I'm on the fence on this one - you had my interest right up to the end. Slamming a girl with a door & knocking her to her knees just doesn't seem the way to her heart. My instinct would have been to hit him (thinking I'm fighting for my life) But apparently I'm in the minority here. Good luck.

  17. YES!

    This is semi-cheating, since I've seen this before. :O

    But if I hadn't seen this, I would still be hooked.

    Ok... I did have a mental image of a much older woman there at the beginning. Sort of like a crabby old maiden neighbor...

    The other thing is when she gets banged by the door, I thought there might be more of a visual and a feel (like elephants galloping over her grave type horror) when she sees the guy step inside the door and maybe toe some of the flowers out of his way?

    Plus, when the door slammed into her, did it feel like it had flatted her nose and knocked her fingers off? And maybe she fell back because she was stunned from the sudden blow?

    That aside - yes. This is a great place to begin. Is hooked. :)

  18. Definitely hooked. Good sense of character, setting, and immediate conflict. Awesome job!

  19. Thanks so much for all the comments. You're right Kat, it does need fixing at the start.
    I could also have put more details about the sensation of the door hitting her, but I'd have been well over the 250 words and wanted an immediate impact.
    I agree too that the word 'future' breaks the cadence. Maybe - The man you're going to marry = works better. I'll work on that.

  20. This is a good action opening scene. It also gives me a sense of Kate's character.

    I would suggest working on the paragraph where "he" pushes the door open. If it's like an explosion, simply saying that she fell on the floor doesn't work for me. Also, am I to believe that "he" is the same guy who delivered the flowers?

    I'm hooked, so far.

  21. Oh so hooked. I like the "I'm the man you're going to marry" substitution. Sounds more forceful and in character with him barging in and knocking her to the floor.

    Great job!

  22. Hooked!

    I'm pretty much going "Wha?!!!", right now.

    Great, setup and delivery. Got me sitting up straight. Especially after she was careful to leave the chain on, and then when she opens it..WHAM!

    Well done!

  23. Hooked! You can just reel me on in!

  24. Totally hooked! Great surprise at the end there. I have nothing to criticize!