Wednesday, January 14, 2009

27 SECRET AGENT

Title: Forest for the Trees
Genre: YA paranormal


The elf entered the coffee shop around nine that night. Tuesdays were usually dead, but it was warm for a May evening in New Hampshire. As a result, customers swarmed the tiny place, keeping me glued to the cappuccino machine. So I didn’t realize what she was right away.

She found a small table in the corner and wrote in a notebook. Given the way she kept glancing toward the counter, I suspected she wasn’t working on her novel like a couple other patrons. Her hair was close cropped in a—ugh—pixie style, and she wore tight bootcut jeans. To most people, she probably looked like a college student, but I knew better. There was something off about her face. Something a little too perfect. Something that smacked of a fae glamour.

Dear Goddess, I was so screwed. What did the fae want from me now?

“Never seen anything like that. Who gave it to ye?” An old guy sporting Willie Nelson-style braids plucked my bracelet.

I jumped at his touch and sloshed hazelnut decaf all over the counter. Crap. Focus, Krista, I lectured myself. But the problem was I had focused all too well—on how to avoid the elf. I mean, there was only one plausible reason why she’d be hanging out in Cuppa Joe’s, and it wasn’t the brew.

I jerked my wrist away and pushed Willie’s coffee across the counter. “My father.”

“Yeah, and your father is?”

Absent without leave? Bat-shit crazy? Crunchier than granola?

41 comments:

alice said...

Love the voice and I'd keep reading even tho I'm not an elf person. :)

Nitpick: I'd delete the "focus, Krista" because we know she's in her own head. Good job!

Gretchen said...

Enjoyed the closeness of the narrative, the voice and the character descriptions. Nicely done.

Karen Duvall said...

A nice active beginning. Terrific voice! I'm hooked and would definitely read on.

Sarah Erber said...

Hooked!

I think this is another that I'll rank as top 5.

I can't wait to see what the agent says!

Good luck!

Mora said...

Definitely hooked! I absolutely love this one and am dying to know what happens next. :)

Angela said...

Love it! Great job!!

AC said...

This was so good! I want to read more for sure.

Jarucia said...

Hooked! Love the edgy tone of the story. You make and elf in a coffee shop seem totally normal.

lilianamama said...

I was scanning and your first sentence caught me. The pixie hair cut made me wince, but I guess it's supposed to. Would laughed aloud at Crunchier than granola, but I don't want to wake the baby. Well done!

judall said...

It has a great voice. I'm hooked.

My feedback:

Why is the old guy saying "ye"? Nothing else made me get quite that feeling. It all feels contemporary except and "ye" sounds like it comes from a different time.

The last sentence in the first paragraph didn't quite flow for me. I think it has something to do with the prior sentence starting with "as a result".

I'm quite intrigued and what to understand her relationship with the elfs..."what did the fae want from me now?" It makes me want more.

judall said...

Oh - and I like your title!

ColoradoKate said...

Love the voice and the MC, love the premise, love the jumping-right-into-the-story business. I'm hooked and would definitely read on, with only one caveat: I'm hoping this won't be too much like Wicked Lovely, with the mortal girl trying to avoid contact with the fae.

Oh, I love the first sentence, too. Nice flow of words.

You could try "ya" or "yeh" instead of "ye"; it does sound a bit archaic if it's pronounced "yee."

Sheila said...

I immediately thought of Wicked Lovely, too. But I liked the voice here and the story questions you raised, and that last line was a winner.

Good job.

Emily said...

Absolutely hooked!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I liked it, though I thought of Wicked Lovely when I read it (which I loved, btw). I'm not sure why it's paranormal. It sounds like urban fantasy.

Enjoyed the voice. Would want to read more.

onetiredmama said...

Hooked. Love it. How could you not keep reading after that first sentence? I love how you let us know she's had experiences with elves before, and not pleasant ones. I feel so much tension with the elf aware of the MC and the MC aware of the elf. Interesting standoff. I would absolutely keep reading.

John Zeleznik said...

Meh.

Elves. In New Hampshire? In a coffee shop? Not my thing.

Writing is good, but didn't win me over to the UF/ paranormal genre!

beth said...

Interesting! I'd read more.

One comment: there was too much between the Willie Nelson question and Krista's response--by the time she said "My father," I'd forgotten the original question.

Siobhan said...

This opening reminded me a lot of Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely. I guess this could be good in that you already have an audience who likes stories about girls who sees fairies and is suspicious of them, Yet I wish the opening felt a bit more unique.

Megs said...

Amused - sounds like this is going to be an entertaining book. Hooked. <- And this means a lot, particularly since normally when I see the word 'elf', I take off running in the opposite direction.

Alps said...

I like this. It's memorable and creative. I like your voice too. I'd keep reading!

inkspatters said...

I love the voice. Definitely hooked.

Anonymous said...

Author here. Wow, I'm amused by all the comments about Wicked Lovely. I loved WL, but there's really nothing similar about the plot or the world building! ;-) Of course, there's no way to tell that from 250 words, heh.

Thanks for all the comments, everyone! I really appreciate it!

CharlieBabbitt said...

I liked this, great writing and description. Two nitpicks: This sentence seems out of place: “Given the way she kept glancing toward the counter, I suspected she wasn’t working on her novel like a couple other patrons.” Something about it bugs me, maybe it isn’t necessary (does it matter that she’s not working on a novel?). It interrupts the flow of the description.

I was also thrown off by the Willie Nelson guy. He takes an abnormal interest in her father -- or is that part of the story? She’s worried about the elf, but this guy is all over her father. Maybe if we see more about the bracelet -- what makes it so different that this stranger would grab it and ask who her father is.

Overall, I would read more!

Secret Agent Elf Queen said...

I like this a lot. Despite the inevitable echoes of Melissa Marr et al, you have a fresh and feisty tone in here that brings this little encounter to life. This is a pacy and arresting opening (I like the pixie haircut joke) and it ends with a zinger.
Nice work. You've intrigued me.

Anonymous said...

It reminds me of a combination of other books I have read. The Morganville Vampire Series and Wicked Lovely, a lot. The coffee shop was used big time in the Morganville series. I just read it reminded other people also, so I guess I am being redundant.

Sarah Jensen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah Jensen said...

Not sure. I like the voice. I like the genre. I think I need a little more to be fully hooked. But I'd keep reading. I have a feeling the hook for me is just around the corner. :)

Ann E. Bryson said...

I am hooked. Love the voice and the situation you've set up.

Anonymous said...

And may I add the Goddess thing is used by PC Cast in her books.

Anette J Kres said...

Hooked me…
Because for some strange reason, an elf in a coffee shop works for me. Mainly because it’s something I’ve never seen (or read). It hooks me because I want to know why this coffee girl is so worried about the elf and if the bracelet has anything to do with anything.

Anonymous said...

The Goddess thing is used by a lot of people, including Wiccan friends of mine. It's no different than someone saying Dear God.

Sally Apokedak said...

great voice. wonderful last paragraph. I'd read on to find out why the elves wanted her.

Bethlene said...

Way hooked. I wish I could read more now. The MC has a great voice. You've given a great mystery with the elf and questions about her father.

Lori said...

LOVE THIS!!!! What a unique set up and character voice. I love the sarcasm and the narrator's voice! Though, I will admit the narration sounded distinctly masculine before you tell us Krista's name (and thus gender). I'd absolutely read on!

Trish said...

Wow! This is great, I loved it. I'm hooked.

mermensing said...

I am hooked.

Wonderful voice.

I think I'd like to see their eyes connect so we can be sure the elf is there for her, but otherwise I think you're off and running!

Julie Butcher-Fedynich said...

I loved the elf in the coffee shop, what a hoot. Seemed a little wicked-lovely style. I would read on.

Suzette Saxton said...

Fresh and fun. I like it!

danceluvr said...

I like this and would read more. I also like her snide thoughts in response to the question about her father.

Good job.

mjb said...

I'm hooked. Loved the voice and elves in NH!!