Thursday, October 16, 2008

1 SECRET AGENT: Are You Hooked?

Title: The Hunt
Genre: YA urban fantasy/paranormal

My phone rang while I was in the tub. Familiar notes from Wild
Cherry's Play That Funky Music drifted into the bathroom and I nearly
slipped trying to get out. Amber. Her ringtone was a reminder of a
night with far too much tequila and more than one photo suitable for

I wrapped a towel around myself and hurried into my adjoining bedroom.
The cool air brought goose bumps to my skin and I shivered. "Hey
what's up?"

"Nothing much." She hesitated but I barely noticed, trying to tie the
towel tighter. It was so not cooperating. "Um Alisha? About

"What is it? Your mom? I can sneak you out-" I jammed the phone
tighter against my ear as water dripped down my back. One way or
another, I'd find a way to spring her free. Going clubbing the first
day of senior year was practically a requirement.

"No it's not that, don't worry." So why did she still sound worried?
"I can't find my ID. You haven't seen it around anywhere, have you?"
Oh crap, crap, double crap. We needed our fakes to get into Poison.
It was the only club worth going.

I took a deep breath and tried to think. "Did you check your purse?"

"Thank you Captain Obvious. Yes, I checked my purse. I checked my
whole damn room too. Maybe it fell out last night; I have a hazy

I cut her off before I'd be asked to explain.


  1. "Her ringtone was a reminder of a
    night with far too much tequila and more than one photo suitable for

    I love this line! I'd keep reading to find out what the major conflict is, but right now it doesnt seem like anything pressing is happening. You have a very humorous voice though!

  2. Interesting opening. I think there are a few grammatical errors, missing commas, that need to be touched up. But that's largely cosmetic.

    I'd want to see the back of book blurb to make a decision because this could go either way.

  3. Your first paragraph is fine although I think you'll want to offset "Play that funky music" with quotes. I also liked the ring tone line. She slid getting out. Just a suggestion. When your main character mentions the night of drinking and identifies the likely caller as a girl, I assumed your character was a boy. And I'd have to agree, there's nothing here that says "must read to find out. . . " Maybe that's because I never did get the high school drinking scene, but I want to be dragged in a little more.

  4. I liked the last line in the opening paragraph, it holds the promise of a fun story. Between that line and the announcement that her friend lost her ID the night before,things slowed down too much to suck me in.

  5. Cute voice and you do raise the question of what the MC doesn't want to tell her friend about last night.

    As for the Play that Funky Music reference. That's a really old song. I'm wondering if kids will know it.

  6. Hmm, I'm not really drawn in by the kids sneaking out to a club with fake IDs thing; it's a very common plot device. The genre suggests something interesting will happen, but so far nothing has. In such cases, I look to the characters to pull me in and, although the MC has a nice voice, neither of the girls really jump off the page. I wish I'd gotten a little more personality from them to show a really intriguing dynamic, one that I'd look forward to reading.

    I'd have to pass on this.

  7. This story doesn't match MY particular tastes. But I found the writing clean and the voice amusing. Well done.

  8. This type of scene doesn't draw me in, I don't promote the underage drinking thing, even though I know it's attractive to the age.

    I liked the voice, but the writing could use a lot of tightening, and some formatting work.

    The repeated emphasis on the towel didn't do anything for me, unless there's someone around who's going to catch her in it. Just seemed to be too involved with it for some unknown reason.

  9. Fun voice, if not a bit common. I prefer reading about teenagers who don't like clubbing. There are lots of routes to rebellion and finding oneself. Without knowing more about the plot, I'd stop reading here.

  10. If this is urban fantasy/paranormal, I want to know why within the first 250 words. Where's the tension? It doesn't happen fast enough for me. Maybe I'd read on if I'd read the back of the book to know what the story was about.

    I love the line sraasch liked-

    "Her ringtone was a reminder of a
    night with far too much tequila and more than one photo suitable for blackmail."

  11. Overall the writing was engaging, although the subject matter didn't grab me, if the book blurb was interesting I'd keep reading to get to the main conflict. I do like that I have to wonder how much she can be trusted as a friend with the ending line, that's a nice hook.

    I noticed the second sentence felt a bit awkward in the first paragraph and a couple other small places that could use some smoothing out, but that's minor.

  12. The voice is terrific! The extraneous info, not so much. Consider ditching the towel bit, the ho-hum start to the conversation (hey what's up? nothing much.), mom being the obstacle for getting out. You don't really need all that. Jump right into the scene without so much pretense because it slows things down.

    What I wondered was that since it's practically a requirement to go clubbing the first day of senior year, how could POV character (guy? girl?) have forgotten they need a fake I.D.? This detail didn't ring authentic for me.

  13. Sorry, but I'm not really hooked. Nothing really happens in the course of the 250 words other than a soak in the tub and a phone call where not much happens, and lots of names are thrown around with nothing to center the reader in this "brand new world."

  14. I was with you right up until the big problem ended up being her friend's lost ID. When the phone rang, I thought Amber sounded mysterious or like she was in trouble or something so it was a let down when she wasn't.

    Like the voice, though. I think the extraneous information was almost too much, but it didn't make me stop reading.

    Overall, good job.

  15. Sorry, not hooked. The writing is good, but I'm not getting a sense of what the conflict will be - I feel like nothing terribly important has happened here.

    Given the genre, though, I might read on if the blurb was promising.

  16. The voice is cute, but the situation does nothing to get my attention. The lost ID seems like a bogus conflict.

  17. Sorry, no.

    I admit I was confused by the gender of the main character. It needs to be better represented . . . somehow. First person is always a tricky with how to introduce your main character.

  18. The first paragraph didn't hook me. As I read the rest of the snippet, I gained a little more interest... but I'm not entirely sold. ./

  19. Loved the same line everyone else has loved: "Her ringtone was a reminder of a night with far too much tequila and more than one photo suitable for blackmail."

    Thought Alisha was a he because of that line, though.

    Where you lost me: "Hey, what's up?" "Nothing much."

    Me: Oh, okay, well if nothing much is up, I'm outta here!

    I did read on, of course, but it felt like a conversation thousands of kids have had before, so I didn't get re-hooked. As someone else said, the details of the water dripping down the MCs back and so forth add immediacy, but no tension, so I'd cut some of them, at least.

    I also didn't have the feel that it was an urban fantasy upfront, and I do read a lot of it, and there are a lot of snappy openings in the urban fantasy genre to compete with.

    Good luck with this!

  20. I'm not fond of the first line being the phone ringing; for me it's rather like the annoying, over-done 'waking up' opening.

    While the conflict so far seems minor and I'm not quite hooked or invested in it, I too liked the line about blackmail and since they seem to be planning to go to a club illegally it's interesting enough I might give it another couple pages to grab me.

    So far nothing really jumps out and says "READ ME" but it's not bad. :) I think it'd depend on the blurb whether I'd pick it up or not.

    Anyway, good luck!


  21. For a paranormal, I'd like to see some higher stakes in this opening scene- the lost ID just doesn't seem traumatic enough. I do think that something crazy will probably go down at Poison, and I wouldn't mind finding out. I have to work to keep myself interested in this, though, so it needs some more compelling conflict up front.