Thursday, November 13, 2008

18 SECRET AGENT: Are You Hooked?

TITLE: Drysdale
GENRE: Thriller

They park down the street where they can watch the house. Cut the engine, roll down the windows because of the heat. Sit there waiting.

“It’s that one there? The one with the winding driveway?”

“That’s right, college-boy.”

“Are you sure she’s in there?”

“’Course she’s in there.”

“What if someone sees us parked here?”

“So f****n’ what?”

“So, what if someone sees us and asks what we’re doing?”

“Then we say you’re droppin’ me off ‘cause I’m goin’ to work. I do their f****n’ lawn.”

“Are you going to use the gun or your knife?”

“Knife. Already told you that, college-boy.”

The sunlight through the parted lace curtains is warm on Rosa’s face and she closes her eyes against it. She stays there like that, elbows on the windowsill, knees on the sofa. After a while she slowly opens her eyes, as if coming out of a dream. She looks through the window, down a street lined with lush green trees guarding houses and manicured lawns. She imagines what it would be like to own one of the houses. To call it hers.

There is no sound in the McGreggor house, only a thick afternoon silence. Rosa Bernal Gonzalez is alone; Mr. McGreggor is at work, Mrs. McGreggor is long dead, and the children are at school. The silence and the stillness and the sunlight keeps Rosa at the windowsill.

Some time later she makes a cup of tea and drinks it in the kitchen, leaning against the imported marble countertop. Copper-plated pots and pans hang obediently on hooks above the grills and ovens.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I'm interested as to why they want to kill her...I'm not hooked, but I'm curious.

  3. No, sorry. I don't enjoy reading in the present tense or the some of the language.

  4. Not gripping me. Sorry. :P

  5. I think starting with a section of dialogue is hard because we don't have a sense of who the characters are and which one, if any, we should be rooting for.

    About the language -- that doesn't bother me. Thrillers have bad language. People that don't read thrillers are not your audience, so I don't think that's something to worry about. The bigger worry is that I don't know who the main character is.

    Great expressions, though... "The sunlight through the parted lace curtains is warm on Rosa's face..." Well done touches in there.

    Good luck!

  6. I thought there were rules about X-out the language. :[

  7. I like the opening dialogue. It's interesting and realistic. The writing in the next section is good too, but you're starting to lose me with the description of the kitchen. I'd keep reading though.

  8. The opening part with the men in the car totally worked for me--authentic character voices, tension, and conflict. But the part with Rosa lost me. The POV is unclear half-way through, and nothing is actually happening--it's just the character musing about the state of her life and Telling details that should be Shown instead.

  9. I'd like to see more of the two men in the car. I think the dialog is done well, but I don't really care about them right now. I don't think I need to, but a hint about their description could be slid in easily without losing anything.

    I remember the part about Rosa from the last contest. That she's alone in the house and someone is watching her. I think it's interesting and I'd read on to find out why the men are watching the house. I'm not totally hooked, but I'd give you several more pages to do it.

  10. Not really hooked. I think the present tense is throwing me. There's also a distinct disconnect between the tension of the dialogue portion and the last couple of paragraphs, which are not at all compelling.