Wednesday, May 13, 2009

30 Secret Agent

TITLE: Stealing Gold


Uh oh. My boss, Jack had probably yelled “Lily” a hundred times before he used my last name. When I was on the ice, I might as well have been in Timbuktu for all the attention I paid to anything but my skating.

“Coming.” I sped up for a triple toe jump. After finishing my shift in the rink’s concession stand, I’d hit the ice for some fun time. Until Jack walked over, I’d been alone. Now that I had an audience, I was gonna nail that triple toe jump and follow it up with a Y-spiral. I’d gotten hooked on showing off for an audience when I competed on the figure skating circuit.

“There’s a cop here to see you,” Jack yelled.

Cop? A hard rock settled into the pit of my stomach. My feet were covered by a pair of skates I’d lifted from Robinson’s Supercenter. I was mere moments from spending the rest of my entire life behind bars.

Okay, so they’d probably let me out when I turned eighteen. That was still the same as forever considering I planned to get my driver’s license, have my first kiss and graduate high school in the next two years. You couldn’t do any of those things in the slammer. Well, maybe you could. But the yearbook pictures would stink so much you’d have to burn them.


  1. I'm hooked. In the second paragraph, I get one idea of the character as a sweet little ice skater and then you shock me in the last two paragraphs, which is unexpected and pulls me forward.

    Your voice is appealing to me, and I absolutely love the humor. Well-done. I'd definitely read on to see what happens to this spunky ice skater.

  2. You made me laugh! Good job!

    Loved it and hope to be able to read more some day soon.

  3. This is the closest I've come to being actually, really hooked into a story yet.

    "After finishing my stint..." isn't she already on the ice when it starts? This sentence makes it sounds as though she's still behind the concession stand, not actually skating, which makes it anomalous to the rest of the story.

    Other than that, I really loved it. Good job.

  4. I'm surprised, but I'm hooked. I want to know why the sweet ice skater girl who has a job working the concession stand at a rink where she's obviously worked out before needs to steal ice skates!

  5. Ha! Love the heroine already. Hooked!

  6. I found it a little clunky in the tense, but the character comes out well. We've got the vain and competitive coming out, but already there's something in there that we like in just 250 words!

  7. I like the idea, so the hook is good. But the writing is disjointed to me.

    After finishing my shift in the rink’s concession stand, I’d hit the ice for some fun time. <-- this line seemed misplaced. Good, but it should go somewhere else besides in the middle of an unrelated thought process.

    So the hard rock hits her stomach - does she do the jump? Does she mess it up because of this? You could really anchor the scene with that, and show us some of the feelings that go along with her thoughts.

    Nitpicks, though, for the most part. I'd read on despite the problems I had.

  8. I like this--it's something different, and about a sport/hobby you don't read much about. I have some issues with tense. "...might as well have been in Timbuktu..."is clunky. "Could be" is shorter or at least "might as well be." I would also suggest combining the 2nd and 3rd lines in the 2nd paragraph: "Until Jack walked over, I'd been alone, enjoying some fun time on the ice after my shift in the concession stand." That way, the mention of her shift doesn't seem so disconnected.
    But otherwise, some fun humor. I'd read on!

  9. I'm hooked and I didn't see it coming. Love that!

    I'm picturing a young Tonya Harding and it cracks me up.

  10. Clever connection to yearbook pictures.

    I'm a little conflicted by a successful skater with a job who steals skates. But maybe that is what makes your character unique.

    Unclear as to why Jack is yelling but walking over. minor.

  11. There are issues here, but I'd read further.

    First is the thing many people mentioned. If she is a former competitive skater and has a job, why'd she steal skates? The other is that she thinks she's in trouble with the boss, but she's going to do some showing off? That just doesn't make sense to me.

    But the voice is solid and would keep me reading for a while to see if other things drew me in.


    This is also nicely written with a good albeit often used hook / re cop.


  13. funny and I like the voice :)

  14. There are so many things I like about this.

    One small observation - the sentence about being hooked on showing off feels like one small piece of backstory that could be brought up more effectively later. You have already shown us that she likes showing off. I would suggest leaving it at that for now. You can tell us later when she got hooked on it.

    I especially love the last paragraph.

  15. You definitely have something here. Your MC is likeable, not run of the mill, and has personality, and that would take me past the so-so writing. I'm not sure I'd say you hooked me, but you certainly sucked me in. I'd read more.

  16. I really liked many elements of this. The voice, the humor, the set-up with the cops. But there were a few lines I stumbled over- "for all the attention I paid to anything but my skating." doesn't flow well. And "same as forever..." I think could use some more punctuation.

    Could you shorten your second paragraph so that we get to the cop part sooner? Hook us even quicker.

    Nice work!

  17. I like the surprise of the cop and the fact that she's a skater. It did feel more middle grade to me in tone and sentence structure. The humor, while good in some places, felt forced in others. Grain of salt time - it felt to me like you were more focused on her voice than the information you were giving. For example, her conversational tone doesn't match what's going on in the scene. She's just lifted a pair of skates and a cop shows up. I think she'd be scared out of her head, not humorously considering her incarceration.

    So although you may have a character who lives life by the seat of her pants and doesn't take anything seriously, I'm not sure that's someone I'd like to spend time with. Paired with her need to show off, I'd probably set it down.


  18. I don't believe for one moment that she's really scared of going to jail. She's too flip. So I don;t really believe in the set up.

  19. I'm actually somewhat hooked by this one. The writing tends to veer a bit towards excess, and the voice is a tad "talky". But I'm interested in what happens to the skater.

    Plus, I'm a sucker for a good skating story.

  20. Hey, I might be wrong. But didn't this win the one line pitch contest on QT? I'm hooked on this way more than I was on your pitch. Great job! And if I'm wrong . . . then someone wrote a novel with the same premise as this.

    Good luck!

  21. written without reading above comments

    I thought this was very nicely done. Just enough action and backstory to let us know what's happening and the MC has a voice that rang true as a teen.

    I would certainly read on. I'm guessing the cop's not here about the skates. LOL