Wednesday, April 15, 2009

4 Secret Agent

GENRE: YA suspense.

The bottle, spinning on it's side, glistens in the sun. Slowly the twirling stops and it lays there in the dirt pointed straight at me. Nervous fear circles me like an annoying fly. Good God, at fifteen, you'd think I'd have kissed a boy before. But no, I am a kissing virgin, playing Spin the Bottle like a twelve year old... and scared to death.

"You have to kiss Trey," Trina teases.

I look at her accusingly, "I know!" I say through clenched teeth. Then I look back at the bottle which chose my first kiss for me. What if I fail? Is it possible to fail a kiss?

I push my gum to the side of my mouth with my tongue while Trey licks his lips and crawls across the circle towards me.

He stares into my eyes. "Hello."

Everyone is staring at us like we're some kind of circus sideshow. I can feel them breathing all around me and wish they would all disappear.

I glance over at my crush who’s the reason I'm even here - the boy I wish the bottle had picked, His Royal Hotness,Vance Byars.

He looks amused.

Trey leans forward, close to my face, and I spot a tiny zit on the side of his chin. Then his soft, damp lips touch mine.

I forget to close my eyes, so I go cross-eyed staring at the incoming zit.

Trina giggles again and before I can wrap my brain around it, it's over. He retreats back to his spot, kicks his feet out front, and leans back proudly on his hands.

I sit there in stunned silence.

I have just kissed a boy.


  1. Oh, this is a great beginning and boy does it bring back memories. I think you captured the MC perfectly! I like how you described the zit, that had me cracking up! Great job!

  2. LOVE this. Totally brings me back to my spin the bottle days and being forced to kiss boys that are just...EEW. I'd definitely read on.

  3. Oooo! This is so good.

    More! More! More!

  4. Great beginning!

    Just a few tiny grammar things: "It LIES there in the dirt..." instead of "lays there".

    I look at her accusingly (period, not comma).

    Good luck!

  5. But the title implies more than just a kiss-telling is involved in some way. Telling what and about whom? There is more to this story than just the meeting of one pair of lips, and I, for one, want to know where this or these future kisses lead!

  6. I love this!!! Totally hooked. I especially love the part where she goes crosseyed looking at the approaching zit! The voice here is perfect!

  7. Hooked! You have a strong voice and I loved all the telling details: Trey's zit, Vance's amusement, even your mc's gum. Great job!

  8. This is a nice beginning. I would read more.

  9. While I'd be curious to read more, I do have some reservations. The first sentence has a typo -- not a dealbreaker, but I'd rather see something after it's been thoroughly polished.

    But it has a nice Meg Cabot-esque vibe. I'd read on.

  10. Loved this! So cute.

    Needs proofreading though - its, not it's in the first sentence.

  11. I must say, I am so grateful that y'all have found these typos! ~although HORRIFIED at the same time! I cannot tell you how many people have beta read this excerpt, or how many times it's been revised...whew!

    Oh well. I am grateful for the experience and truly thankful that there will eventually be a copy editor that finds any little tidbit that I miss :-)

    **Now I am giggling in sheer paranoia that my comment has some kind of glaring error that someone will point out. YIKES!

  12. This is a great concept for a standalone, but I'm not sure where you go from here or what the story is about. Because the MC has just gotten her first kiss so the story doesn't lead to it...

    also last line: "I have just kissed a boy. " isn't entirely accurate, a boy has just kissed her.

    I'd like to see the MC more visibly stressed, not just internally, but physically, and more insight into the boy who just kissed her, other observations, like smell or taste would give it more of an authentic vibe.

  13. Katie, great revision job!

    You've received some great comments and I don't have anything further to add at this point.

    Yay you - and I hope the rest of the revisions go really well for you!

  14. This was great. I'm really curious as to where it's going.

  15. You've done a great job of capturing the voice and emotion of the MC. I was definitely hooked! The one thing that felt a tiny bit off was the description of the spinning bottle and the MC's 'nervous fear". These sentences didn't feel like they were written in the MC's voice. I'd start off with the sentence "Good God, at fifteen you'd think I'd have kissed a boy before." Just my two cents. Great job!

  16. I love the voice in this excerpt. Nicely done.

  17. Nice voice and set up. And you've captured her emotions and the scene very well.

    Once thing stood out for me as maybe not contemporary teen - the circus sideshow. The teens I know would likely say something more contemporary than circus sideshow - maybe freaks in the cafeteria, the rejects from American Idol, naked...

    But sideshow would be more county fair stuff if the teen is rural America. But urban or suburban teens probably don't really see circuses or county fair sideshows much.

    But nice start.

  18. The voice is perfect! So cute and brings back some great memories :) I love it.

    I do agree that I'm really curious as to what else lies in store for the mc though because her first kiss has just happened, so the stakes have to keep getting bigger and bigger than this.

    Also, I wouldn't be opposed to hearing this great voice describe the actual kiss :) Unless this comes later!
    great, totally hooked.

  19. I love that her first kiss happens immediately, especially since the title is KISS AND TELL. That lets me know things will definitely be getting bigger after this first kiss rather than making me trudge through the pages until we see our first kiss.

    I also loveLoveLOVE the details. Pushing the gum to the side of her mouth, staring cross-eyed at the zit, and's over.

    Plus, AMAZING voice! Sounds like a small town girl.

    More, please!

  20. Im always up for a good teen kissing scene!

  21. I want to read more! It's gonna be juicy, isn't it?

  22. Very nice. I really like this opening, which surprises me because I usually like things that have more action and suspense. But I loved this and would eagerly read more.

  23. Really, really, cute.

    One little thing, I started off believing she WANTED to kiss Trey.

    So cute though, makes me think of friend's daughter who is the same age.


  24. This is sooo cute. I'm hooked. His Royal Hotness is adorable.

    Suggestion: perhaps start here instead "You have to kiss Trey, "Trina teases. The rest shows they're playing spin the bottle.

    I want to read the rest. Luck!

  25. Most of this is really interesting -- you have a great voice, and the MC is believable. I tripped on the sentence about nervous fear and the typos (already mentioned). But I LOVE the expression of self-doubt: Can you fail a kiss?

    Poor Trey!

  26. Grins. Amused by the zit bit<:

    Am hooked. Would only add that I'd probably would want to take off running if the undesired object of my first kiss was sitting there licking his chops. And I'd be stricken with horror that he'd try to get his tongue in action during the kiss.

  27. I tripped over the typos too, but apart from that I was hooked! And typos are easily fixed.

  28. I love it, but I'm not sure I'm hooked.

    She had her first kiss and now what? You need something to hook us in and make us wonder what is going to happen next. As it stands, it is resolved.

    "Good God, at fifteen, you'd think I'd have kissed a boy before. But no, I am a kissing virgin" I liked that and your audience would too, I figure.


  29. good job, i think you really nailed the voice of a teenager!


  30. Thanks guys! This has all been insanely helpful! I wish so bad I could tell you what happens next because it is WICKED COOL :-)

    But sadly... I can't.


  31. I like it. The voice feels right for a YA protagonist, and even the first person present tense thing doesn’t bother me (it usually does). And I LOVE that “His Royal Hotness” line!!! I’d read on!

  32. I absolutely love this! It is so fifteen! And from your photo you look at least twenty, so good job remembering what it's like to be a teen! This is easily my favorite first page in the history of MSFV. Can't wait for the rest.

  33. Your favorite page in the HISTORY of MSFV??!!

    Holy mackeral! Well, let me just say that your comment is MY FAVORITE COMMENT IN THE HISTORY OF MSFV!

    I must figure out how to frame it!

    Thank you sooooo much! What a fun way to wake up this morn :-)

  34. Love it too but wondered why she hadn't kissed anyone at 15. Too picky? Too ugly? Too shy?

  35. I love it and would definitely read more! When you mentioned the gum in her mouth I cracked up (nice mental image) and her resolve at being forced to kiss a boy she doesn't want to,love it!

    Nicely done!

  36. I like this, especially "his Royal Hotness." Minor nit - I can feel them breathing all around me and wish they would all disappear.
    At first I thought - get rid of one or the other "all's" but now I think get rid of both. Nice style overall and I'd read a bit more to see what happens next.

  37. I loved the voice and I thought the incoming zit captured the mood perfectly. ( the gum shift was a graet touch )

    I was in the moment with you and cringing like mad.

    Well done.

    I'd definitely read on

  38. Great opening! Nice amount of detail and I like the character's voice. I want to read more :^)

  39. This is fantastic. What a great YA voice. And now that I know your pitch line, I totally want to read the whole book. Katie, you don't need a beta, do you? srsly. Great job!

  40. Very cute, I like the voice. I may be interested in reading more. One little thing bothered me ... who plays spin the bottle in the broad daylight? Other than that inconsistency I think it's pretty good.