Thursday, November 13, 2008

1 SECRET AGENT: Are You Hooked?

GENRE: YA/Contemporary/commercial

Butch Burd’s pros and cons for buying the Pony car:


1. Miranda Stewart might look at me twice.

2. I can hop in the car anytime I want, and go

wherever I want. Except, curfew, which I don’t have, because I

never go anywhere

3. SauderHeights

Daze Parade and Homecoming.


This section empty. There is no reason I shouldn’t buy the car. (Except, Dad may think I’ll visit him more often at the nudie colony. Which I won’t).

“Hhhhhhh,” I forced my heated breath onto the foggy fender of Mr. Johnson’s 69 Ford Mustang, and rubbed the spot with the corner of my tee shirt.

Classical music spilled out his front door, and he leaned far over his wood cane, both hands holding on for dear life. “Well, Butch, that’s the third time you’ve checked the oil.” He licked a shaky finger, and pasted the few gray strands of hair down over his forehead. Again. “Oil look all right?”

“Ah, yeah.” I poked the dipstick back in the hole.

Where was Dad? He knew I needed to give Mr. Johnson a decision about the Mustang. Today. He said he’d be here.

Dad didn’t know much about cars, but he did know business, and I was just a little worried about giving Mr. Johnson the three hundred dollars, stuffed in my back pocket, without him here. He was probably off gallivanting around with Gabby the Naked.


  1. I like your story so far, but it looks like you have a lot of run-on sentences.

    If you broke your sentences up it would read much better.

    However, it's interesting so far!

    Keep up the writing!

  2. No...I'm sorry.

    Part of my problem is the guys I know wanted THE CAR to one-up the other guys. And they took the dog out for a walk to get girls to look at them. :)

  3. I'd ditch the list. We can infer most of the pros from what follows.

    That said, I'd read on.

  4. The list is off-putting, but the voice is engaging. I like your premise. I think there could be some extraneous detail here that slows the pace. I'm not hooked, but thought this was a good start.

  5. There was a bit of a disconnect for me betwen the first sentence (3rd person) and the rest (first person).

    Your character seems interesting.

    I'm hooked 3/4 of the way. :) This isn't the type of thing I usually read, but if the voice is strong enough (which I suspect yours might be) I would read it.

  6. Liked the "Gabby the Naked" line at the end.

    I'm unsure if the (inferred) goal of Miranda Stewart and the Homecoming game is "enough" of a goal for a Main Character? Maybe that isn't the MC's goal, but from this page it seems to be. Every boy wants girls -- what is it about THIS boy that makes his story worth telling? John Green's books, for instance, or Chris Crutcher's, are great contemporary books that portray complexity of boys far above the "trying to get a girl's attention" thing.

    (I may be completely off base, though. So difficult to tell from only one page, take my comments with a grain of salt.)

  7. I was intrigued by the list, but then when I read the rest it now does seem a little off-putting. Gabby the Naked made me laugh and want to read more to find out what that meant. Good voice though, not 100% hooked however.

  8. Cute voice. I could see a middle school boy enjoying this.

  9. Once I got past the list (which i honestly didn't mind as a way to start a novel) I really, really was engaged with the MC's voice. Plus the dad and the nudist colony thing is funny. I'd definitely read on.

  10. I don't mind the list. You had me hooked at visiting Dad at the nude colony.

  11. I happen to love Mustangs. I had a '65, '66, and a '67 fastback all at the same time. I loved them that much. The pony interior was great.

    In regards to the story: I didn't like the list, but I love the nudist father. I would read on to find out what is up with that.

  12. I agree with everyone else. The list threw me off a little, but the voice was good. Some of the sentence structure seemed "off"...

    I don't normally read that type of book and didn't find myself hooked.

  13. I'm hooked, despite the issues others have mentioned. I just love the idea of a teenage boy having to deal with his nudist dad! Interesting premise, for sure...

  14. I like the list but agree that most of it comes through in the rest of the first page so I'm not sure it's needed. And the change from the first sentence third person to first person is a bit weird.
    The nudist colony is certainly different (do they even exist anymore). I'd read on just to see if the dad shows up naked.

  15. I really liked the idea of starting off with a Pros and Cons list--I've never actually seen that done before and I liked the uniqueness of it. So yeah, I think I'd keep reading on.

  16. I think this has merit, but I have to vote to lose the list. I think this could be worked into narration much smoother. The switch from third to first jostled me for a minute. I think you have some misplaced commas and that also slowed me down. A little clean up job and you'll be good to go.

  17. I'd stop reading at the list of pros and cons if I were an editor. Not at all compelling.

    And the lack of any kind of tension in the rest of the piece makes me lose interest as a reader.

  18. I also have to take a pass on the list. The best part about it is the reference to the nudist colony, but you've worked that in elsewhere in a stronger fashion.

    That said, the nudist father just might be enough to keep me going. I don't yet have a clear sense of tension, but the idea of the nudist father might string me on a bit further.