Thursday, November 13, 2008

16 SECRET AGENT: Are You Hooked?

GENRE: YA paranormal romance

I should have left. I should have gotten in my car and driven home. I
should not have started walking. Alone. At night. Toward a haunted

Though that last part wasn't intentional.

The stadium lights glared at me. The trumpets' blares taunted me. The
northern courtyard was empty. I'd checked three times. They weren't in
the other two courtyards either.

I hadn't wanted to come, but my mom had insisted. "You need to step
out of your comfort zone, Holly."

Why she wanted me to be uncomfortable, I had no idea.

I should've gone home and told her I couldn't find it. The truth. Even
if it did sound pathetic.

I should've gone into the stadium and waited for the game. Alone. Even
more pathetic.

But I didn't do any of that.

I took a walk. Walking never felt pathetic. It felt purposeful. Even
by myself. Even if I had no destination.

Gravel crunched beneath my feet as I crossed the parking lot. At the
corner, a bright orange sign tacked to a light post caught my
attention: Haunted House, Free Today Only.

The horror movie scenario entered my head uninvited. Lonely girl goes
to mysterious haunted house and winds up dead, or worse. Eaten by a
zombie? Turned into a werewolf? The other way around? I didn't know
which was most likely. I avoided scary movies. Maybe zombie

I would not be going to any haunted houses. Not by myself. Not ever.
Even free ones.


  1. Hooked! As I was reading, I could totally picture holding it in a hardback cover or picking it up at B&N. Brilliant, and I'd absolutely read on!

  2. What a fantastic beginning. I feel for this protagonist. Great job.

  3. I really liked the last line, but it felt a tad cliched to me. Going for a walk. Alone. In the dark. The last sentence is what would have hooked me into reading more.

  4. I'm almost hooked, I'd just need to read the next page!

  5. Great voice, but I'm torn about this one. There are too many short sentences for my pesonal taste. I know you are using it to portray a sense of forbooding and a type of urgency, but after the first paragraph it came off as choppy. If the whole book were written in those same type of sentences I'm not sure that I'd pick this up.

  6. Excellent. I heard her voice, I felt her apprehension, I liked the comment about not "getting" her mom's statement.

  7. Borderline hooked...

    On one hand, I really couldn't tell the difference between walking into a haunted house and being slaughtered by something, and walking alone in the dark and being slaughtered by something. Actually, a haunted house would be safer - because there would be other people there. Weird ones, but better than an isolated road.

    That said, I'm interested in the character, and wondering where the paranormal romance comes in - so I would read on.

  8. I have to agree with the short sentence comment. Like bam, bam, bam. I think if the whole MS is written like that, it may hurt my head.

    But I did like that effect in the first paragraph - setting up the voice/tone of the piece like that.

    I'm intrigued...and on the fence.

  9. Oh, she is sooo going into that haunted house. *grin*

    Color me hooked.

  10. I'm hooked. Good job!

  11. I absolutely loved it. And it's romance too. Great. I only hope the love interest isn't a ghost.

    I enjoyed the voice, and felt the short sentences worked well. Good luck with this one.

  12. Interesting. I think there might have been too much set up to the unnamed narrator taking that walk, but I liked the character's voice and would probably keep reading to see where this was heading.

  13. Love it.

    I would read on.

    Loved the line where she wonders why her mom wants her to feel uncomfortable.

    Can relate to the wall-flower angst.

    Want to know what she can't find.

  14. I'd read on (and YA isn't my thing) if only because the zombie werewolf made me chuckle.

  15. Like your voice, like the character, but not quite hooked. I want to see her set foot in the haunted house, not just think about how she's not going to do it. Could you get us there a little quicker?

  16. The reader has absolutely no idea what's going on here. Is the protag on a deserted road or in a stadium? The stadium lights are on, and there are trumpets. Trumpets? Why trumpets?

    Who wasn't in the courtyard? Where had the protag not wanted to go?

    There are so many holes in this excerpt that few of the sentences seem connected as a cohesive whole.