Wednesday, April 15, 2009

13 Secret Agent

TITLE: Secrets
GENRE: Contemporary YA



I stretch out my legs enjoying the hot sand on my calves. Then I squint into the sun, searching for a big set of waves while waiting for Ford. He’s forever late. No point in being frustrated. Ford is Ford. He’s one of the major reasons I’m sane, well, that and surfing. I flex my toes and bend them down, digging them into the sand.



“There’s a set coming in and you’re stretching out catching rays?” My favorite voice in the world accuses me from behind.



I turn around to see Ford, my best friend since the first day of sixth grade. I forgot my lunch that day, and since his mom cooks for an army, he shared his feast with me.

“At least I show up early to pay homage to the ocean’s waves. Where’s your dedication, Mr. Surf god?”



His dark legs and lean body have changed for the better since last summer. He kicks off his Reefs and I note, “Nice board shorts. You have excellent taste.”



“Yeah, since you picked them out, Gidget.”



“Oh yeah? Gidget?” Standing up to full height, I come eye to chest. After a minute of staring him down, Ford scoops me up, slings me over his shoulder, and runs toward the water.



Flailing and slapping at his back, I protest. “Ford Watson! Put me down. I’m too old to be carried around like this.”



He laughs and ignores me, wading knee-deep before tossing me in.

26 comments:

Tatum said...

Hooked! You do a great job of opening with the characters and relationship that (I assume) will be central to your story. And both characters are immediately sympathetic. Nice job!

sraasch said...

The writing is a little rough for me, and the plot seems to be leading into a normal girl-crushes-on-friend-who-doesn't-reciprocate tale. I'd read on to find out if it has any different twists.

Judy said...

I agree that the writing seems a little rough. I was not hooked.

romoak said...

I pretty much second sraasch.

Sile Sullivan said...

Gidget? When does this take place?

LaurieK said...

Hooked as well. You did a fantastic job of introducing us to the two main characters of the story and gave us a sense of where their relationship is starting off. We also learn that Ford is a generous person (sharing his lunch in sixth grade) and that the MC has things in her life where she needs a good friend to keep her "sane." (Although it's not clear whether these things are normal teenage problems or whether she's dealing with darker issues she needs to escape from). If the MC is using surfing and her friendship with Ford to "escape" from darker stuff, I'd make this clearer. Great start.

Diane said...

I agree that you need more of a hint of trouble and/or tension. Keeping "sane" is just not enough for me. I didn't catch it the first time and am still not sure if it means anything. Still, your characters are engaging and I like the surfing angle. It'd probably take just a sentence or two to show us things aren't all "rosy" here.

Emily Kokie said...

Not bad, just not hooked. Just not enough sense of something original coming. And Gidget did feel dated to me - can't imagine a teen boy today saying that.

And the dialog felt a little inorganic to me. Especially her flailing and protesting bit.

But if you were in my crit group I'd tell you to bring in some more hint at conflict early, and spice up the dialog. good luck. :}

ldpauling said...

I thought the narrator's voice was a boy until he noticed the lean legs. I just pictured two guys surfing together.

I had a little trouble following the dialogue and who was talking, but that could just be me.

Overall, it's probably a book I'd put down if I only had the first page to go off of. But I always go by the jacket flap, so then slower beginnings are okay if I know excitement is coming.

Ford throwing her in the water seemed more like a gimmick to me. When surfers meet in the morning, it's serious surf time. The fooling around comes later, atleast with the surfers I know.

Melinda said...

I really liked this. Great characters, great voice. I want to read more.

The beginning was a little awkward though, and I thought the MC was a boy at first. I think saying 'calves' was one of the problems. Maybe change it to skin?

just Joan said...

I'm not sure I care enough about the MC to keep reading . . . what's the challenge here? What's the conflict?

It's a litte too much crush and not enough characterization for me.

WindyA said...

I like the voice and the setting, but nothing's happened. Cute guy. I'm guessing cute girl. On the beach hanging out. No hint of what could be coming except maybe a predictable storyline of one friend wanting more or something.

I do like the "Standing up to full height, I come eye to chest." line. I think that's a great way of giving one aspect of your MC without using the cliches.

Alps said...

I think this has strong points, but I have no idea if this is a guy or girl. I thought it was a guy at first, but then they were flirting with each other -- but I guess it still could be a guy. Any way you could drop a hint into that first paragraph?

Also, I thought the description of flexing toes and bending them down was awkward. It had me imagining all sorts of contortionist tricks.

This does promise to be a fun little romance and I'd probably keep reading.

Good luck!

Megs said...

Not entirely hooked... I think this depends on the description on the back of the book. The writing is good and characters ok. It's just I'm not sensing a hook or conflict...

LoriStrongin said...

This is cute, but I agree with the comments that nothing is happening here. There needs to be a question posed to the readers (either an actual question or just something that piques our interest) to really draw us in and hook us.

shorty411 said...

I thought this was cute and the mc had a great voice. I also think that in a traditional romance, if that's what this is, normally starts off w/ the mc and love interest so I don't know that you have to intro a huge problem sooner. Good job !

McKoala said...

I'd read on, I think, but I've got to admit I'm waiting for a shark or something.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Hey I like McKoala's idea. That would get things going.

Sorry this doesn't do anything for me. Just another boy/girl teen romance that doesn't sound any different from everything else already out there. Of course this is only 250 words so what do I know. I prefer YA urban fantasy and paranormal with romance because usually something big happens. That said, this is the kind of stuff I would have read as a teen (before the foremention hit the YA market).

Good luck!

Sheila said...

The surfing angle hooks me right off. But then I think you go on a bit about her feelings for Ford. I think you need to stay in the moment. At first, it's fine, she's annoyed at him for being late, and then reminds herself that he's the reason she's sane. But then, as she turns around to see him, would she really be thinking "there's Ford, my best friend since sixth grade." Does she think that every time she sees him? I think you can put that info in later. Instead, you can have her turn around and see his (smirking? kind? acne-scarred, whatever) face.

I like their playful banter and would read on to see what secrets they share. And if they are good surfers.

Jean said...

I figured it was a girl, but I'm not sure where the story is going. Maybe that is coming soon?

Maybe hint a bit at how he is keeping her sane?

I like how you developed the characters. There was an easy pace, kind of like when you are all relaxe din the sun--that came through for me.

:)

Secret Agent said...

This is fine, I guess, just not compelling. As someone above noted, I'm already shuffling this into the category of girl-falls-in-love-with-her-best-friend literature.

Also, if you have to drop brand names into the first 250 words, I worry the full ms is going to be chock-full of them. Consider them as adjectives -- can another, more simpler word be used instead? Try it.

Curious said...

I also thought the MC was a boy at first, then I wondered why she would take exception to being called Gidget if that was what Ford had been calling her since 6th grade. Seems like she'd be used to it. And I thought it was patronizing of him to scoop her up and throw her in the water, but maybe that was the point.

I do like the style and voice, and I might read more to find out what's up with these two.

Jada said...

This alone wouldn't be enough to hook me, but if I picked it up in a bookstore and the back cover blurb promised something interesting ahead, I'd keep reading.

Meg said...

I liked. Combine paragraph 4 and 5 for clarity.

I'm a theater fan, so I'm going to read on about what they do and what 'set' they are waiting to show up.

And it's still cold in the heartland and I wanted my toes to be in that sand.

Susanne said...

I thought this could be a little tighter, but I like it okay. The only problem is, I don't see any problems other than she says Ford keeps her sane. Why? There's nothing to compel me to read on even though it reads well.

Jenny said...

I'm sorry to say that this is pretty boring. The style is ok, but like so many of the others, this story has been done to death. Not hooked.