Thursday, November 13, 2008

6 SECRET AGENT: Are You Hooked?

TITLE: Soulbearers
GENRE: YA Fantasy

“Dargo, you’re the only one who has the courtesy to stick around. That’s so sad.” Kathryn rubbed the Doberman’s ears as he leaned against her leg. Dargo flopped down on the hardwood floor with a sigh next to her chair. As she scribbled the solution to the last math problem, she heard a crash from outside.

Dargo scrambled to his feet with a low whine. Kathryn tripped over her backpack as she scrambled from her chair. “Stupid kids!” She rose to her feet, clenching her teeth as searched for a flashlight amid the clutter of the drawer. The light in front of the garage had burned out months ago and she was sure her father wouldn’t replace it for at least a year.

The little juvenile delinquents were probably spray painting her car and all she could find was a screwdriver and AA batteries! She rolled her eyes as she grabbed the flashlight sitting on the counter above the drawer. Dargo stopped whining as he backed away from the door to the garage. With the sound of breaking glass just outside the door, he bolted from the kitchen toward the living room.

“My hero.” Kathryn shook her head and slammed the drawer shut. “Maybe this isn’t such a good idea.” She froze for a moment with the flashlight in hand, then grabbed the cordless phone from the counter. Dialing 911, she walked over to shine the flashlight out into the garage.

“911. What is your emergency?”

The garage was gone.


  1. I wasn't hooked till the very last line. GREAT last line.

    I do have a question: How old is the MC? Her voice strikes me as adult, but she's doing "math" which is a HS term.

    Your writing is smooth, and I'd keep reading a) to find out why the dog is the only one "sticking around" and b) to learn what the heck happened to the garage??

  2. *hearts the dobie*

    Yes, I'm hooked - throughout, but especially the last line.

    My only problem that I can dredge up is possibly a little age confusion. She sounds like a teen (math problems, sounds like she lives at home), but her reaction is more like a crabbed middle-aged person.

  3. Yep! That last line hooked me!

  4. I'm a sucker for pets in stories. Great last line, very compelling.

    Think about fixing this sentence: Dargo flopped down on the hardwood floor with a sigh next to her chair. This sounds like there's a sigh next to her chair, not a dog. I recommend changing it to: Dargo flopped down with a sigh on the hardwood floor next to her chair.

  5. Same as the others. I like your voice and the story has great potential. The last line was awesome! Also had some age confusion. She felt like she ought to be HS age, but came across as much older.

  6. I agree with everyone else. The voice sounded adult. I know many, many writers use the phrase, but I've been told "eyes don't roll."

    I'm guilty too, but I try not to use that phrase very often.

    I wasn't captivated until the last line.

  7. Ooh, I like this. I think it might be better though if the MC said "My garage is gone." to the 911 operator instead of just "The garage was gone." It was killer that way too, but maybe...yeah, just maybe. Good job!

  8. I agree with everyone else about the adult voice and the last line. I would keep reading to see what happened.

  9. Interesting set up, but I kinda agree with what alice said. I think there's too many words used to describe simple actions. Tighten up the sentences a bit, and I think this will really fly.

  10. Last line hooked me.

    Loved her rooting in the drawer and coming up with a screwdriver and batteries.

    But I had a problem in the second paragraph.

    She trips over the backpack as she gets up from the chair, then she rises to her feet. How's that work? She tripped and fell all the way to the ground? That's kind of drastic and she'd probably rub a skinned knee or grunt as she pushed herself off the floor or react to the fall in some way other than rising to her feet.

    And then she searches for a flashlight in a drawer that came out of nowhere.

    You also have the dog scrambling and the girl scrambling. And you can cut the "she was sure" part because we're in her pov, if she tells us the dad won't change the light bulb, we'll know she's sure of it.

    You also have the dialogue in the wrong place in that paragraph. She trips and says, "Stupid kids" so it seems like she's complaining that they moved her backpack and made her trip instead of calling them stupid because she thinks they're outside spray-painting her car.

    So rewrite that second paragraph and give a transition into the third paragraph, and you'll have a killer opening.

    Dargo scrambled to his feet with a low whine.

    "Stupid kids!" Kathryn launched herself from her chair and made for the junk drawer, hoping to find a flashlight amidst the clutter. The bulb in front of the garage had burned out months before, and her father wouldn't replace it for at least a year.

    Darkness. Just what the little juvenile delinquents outside needed. They were probably spray...

    Not that I want you to write it my way--just trying to illustrate what I'm talking about in case I'm not clear.

    I love this opening. I really do. i just think that second paragraph does not do the story justice. You want the reader to get to that last line.

  11. I just wanted to share a little about the protag since there's been questions about her age. She just turned 16, but lost her mother the year before. She's been taking care of herself while her father is having problems coming to terms with his grief. With that info, I hope it's apparent that she's mature for her age...

  12. Like so many others, the last line hooked me. I also liked rooting in the drawer and coming up with a flashlight and AA batteries.

    I do agree that Kathryn did sound a little old for her age. I see your point about her being old for her age, and I can understand that she'd be upset over someone spraypainting her car. So my solution would be to change some of the language. For instance she might say "Jerks!" instead of "Stupid kids!" and "idiots" instead of "juvenile delinquents." I'm sure you can come up with something stronger than "idiots," but I hope that shows my point.

    But yes, I'd keep reading, particularly after that last line.

  13. After the last line, hooked! I'd like to see what her reaction is to the 911 operator ... I mean, really, how do you explain a missing garage over the phone??

  14. Props for the Farscape nod with the Doberman's name. :-)

    This entry has me torn. On the one hand, the writing is a tad clumsy; could definitely use another round of edits to tighten it up and make sure each thought transitions smoothly to the next.

    On the other hand...I'm totally hooked!

    I do think this would probably work better in first person; it might solve the problem of the protag's voice sounding too adult. Also, the revelation of the garage going missing should pop more.

  15. I think what makes her sound older is the phrase "little juvenile delinquents". I doubt a 16 year old would use that term in reference to others that are likely her age or maybe even older. Maybe "gangsta wannabees" or something like that would work better.