Wednesday, February 10, 2010

4 Secret Agent


Jenna shoved her phone into her back pocket and flashed me a grin. “Party at Snake’s.”

My gut screamed bad idea, but one look at her face told me I had no choice. Jenna had that “new guy glow”. Even the pink streak in her hair looked brighter.

I didn’t get it. Snake, her latest victim, was twenty-two and split his time between dealing to the rich kids at West Haven and throwing keggers at his grandma’s rundown farmhouse. He was hot, but he was trouble. Jenna’s favorite type.

I shrugged.

Jenna rolled her eyes. “It’s not like you have other plans.”

Which was true -- I dumped my clingy boyfriend Owen in the stockroom less than an hour ago. It was pretty ugly. Still, the thought of spending all night in Snake’s smoke-filled, grimy house, fighting off his creepy friends, while him and Jenna were off somewhere hooking up made my skin crawl.

Jenna tugged at the BFF dog tag hanging around her neck and raised her eyebrow at me.

I sighed. “You owe me.”

She tore off her apron. “Sweet!”

On our way out of The Dixie, I caught the old lady that runs the psychic shop next door watching me from her window. She was always looking at me funny, like she wanted to say something, but she never did.

I should’ve stopped and asked her what she wanted, but I didn’t. Maybe she knew what was going to happen. Maybe she could’ve told me how to stop it.


  1. A party at Snake's and a creepy staring psychic shop hooked me right in.
    The dialog is very real, and it flowed very naturally.

    Hooked!! :D

  2. There are a few things I'd tidy up here. For example, it's odd in 1st person for her to refer to her ex-boyfriend as "my clingy boyfriend Owen". She'd just think "Owen". Also, I'd say "before" instead of "ago" since your time frame is unspecific. I'd also suggest you find a way to give their ages as the 22 year old seems really old for a YA protagonist.

    Having said all thing, I am HOOKED!

  3. Love the voice and then the hint of trouble at the end... both have me hooked (but especially the voice).

  4. I don't get into books about teenage girls and their messy love lives. It's just been done so many times. But the psychic woman at the end suggests this may have more depth to it. The authentic voice also helps.

  5. I feel the coming storm - so I'd be interested to read more to see if the storm is worth reading about. A few to many "was" verbs in there for me - I'd strengthen those.

  6. I'm hooked and would read on.

    I wasn't sure if these were teens and the 'bad girl' dates older guys, but if not the age of the characters may be a little too old for YA.

    I am hooked with the psychic lady stuff.

  7. I'd keep reading, also. The introduction of Snake has me intrigued a bit more than the psychic woman, though. It may just be me, of course, but I'd rather find out about the psychic woman in a different way. Seems a little bit telling to introduce her as the psychic woman that stares at the MC. I'd rather feel that creepiness through the MC rather than be told of her existence through the author. Good job, though, I'd be anxious to read on!

  8. You had me right away, but I think the backstory (the type of guys both women liked) took me out a bit. Just go with the scene and show us Jenna's and protag's preferences.

  9. My only concern was the 22 year old, drug dealer. Seems a bit old for YA.

    The dialogue is good.

    5th paragraph: "while HE and Jenna..."

    Good job!

  10. I can see the age differences maybe being a concern, but honestly, it happens. Teenagers make shoddy choices and date older guys that may be nothing but trouble, so that doesn't pull me out of the story. A hint to their age would be nice, though, just so I know what I'm dealing with when reading it. Love the voice and the trouble lurking just around the corner. Hooked.

  11. This isn't the sort of book I'd normally go for, but I'd read on because you've got my interest. Bad idea party? It PROMISES the worst sort of trouble!

    The only thing that threw me a little was the statedment 'I didn't get.' followed by a description of Jenna's boyfriend and the remark that he was totally Jenna's style.

    If you know he's her style, then you 'get it', even if you don't like it. Maybe if you said 'I could never understand Jenna's taste in boys?'

  12. I thought you set the scene pretty well, and there's all kinds of potential for trouble here. Snake's age didn't bother me. I think it adds to the 'danger' element.

    Perhaps do more with the psycic woman. Her intro is short and telling. Maybe show us what she looks like, or have her do something as she stares - something to up the creepiness factor. She's what gives this the 'something out of the ordinary.' Give her a bit more attention.

  13. This is great! I especially like the pink stripe reference- that was cute.

    The psychic reference at the end leaves me wanting to know what's going to happen next. My only nitpick with it is that it feels like author intrusion. But I've been on the lookout for that in my own MS lately so maybe it's just me.

  14. Awesome job. Love the tone, the setting, the dialogue.

    I didn't get it. didn't seem to fit the paragraph it was in. But that's the only thing that bothered me.

    I'd read on.

  15. I loved the pink streak looking brighter, and overall your MC's voice! Definitely would keep reading.

  16. I'm fairly hooked. There's a lot good about this. I want to root more for your MC, but I don't like how he/she (here's a problem too...) doesn't stand up and say what's on her mind to Jenna. It makes me not like her so much. Just a little aside or snide comment would do it. Also, not such a huge fan of shrugging and rolling eyes, and sighing, though I know teens do it, I want some more depth than that. Otherwise, good going.

  17. This voice is very authentic and age appropriate, which adds so much to the story. The dilemma is also very compelling. Between the awful party at Snake's, which you know will turn out bad, and the psychic, you have enough conflict to have me wanting to turn the page.

  18. I found the voice engaging and I got the sense of an interesting narrator. The party animal/reserved narrator is a very common trope, but you tweaked it a bit by revealing that the protagonist had just dumped her boyfriend and didn't seem particularly bothered by it at all. Nice touch. The last paragraph felt a bit rushed and there were times when the voice seemed a bit overdone ("My gut screamed bad idea"), but overall I think this is a nice beginning.

  19. Hooked ... until the last paragraph. I felt like I was in the story, experiencing things with the MC and her friend, but the whole "I should've known something bad would happen" line makes the beginning feel like a prologue, or a cheap trick designed to draw in the reader.

    Instead of telling us something bad is going to happen, why not show us with more of your vivid writing?

    Best of luck!

  20. Definitely hooked! This is well-written and has no extra fat whatsoever. It has a strong voice, too. Well done!

  21. I like the voice, so I would keep reading, but a few things stuck out at me.

    *I didn’t get it. ... Jenna’s favorite type.*-- The first sentence of this paragraph contradicts the rest. If she knows he's her type, what's not to get? I'd cut that first sentence or move it to the end of the paragraph.

    The sentence about Owen feels a little info-dumpy to me. Even though it's just one sentence, I'd rather get this info later. We don't need to know the details of why she has no plans yet. Since you've just described Snake, it makes me worry you might be adding backstory every couple of paragraphs.

    The last two paragraphs raise questions, but I don't think they have as much punch as they could.
    I think this sentence is the problem: *She was always looking at me funny, like she wanted to say something, but she never did.*--If she always does this, it doesn't seem like that big of a deal for her to do this today, or for the MC to suddenly want to talk to her. I'd cut it or rewrite to be less tell, more show.

  22. The age of the boy didn't bother me either. I remember all to well being 16 with a secret 23 year old boyfriend. Ugh.

    I love the voice, very authentic. I was hooked by the that, but when I got to the creepy psychic, I didn't want to stop. Can't wait to read more.

  23. I'd definitely keep reading, especially after those last two paragraphs...

  24. Totally hooked...Until the last para. Which screamed "THIS IS A SET UP!" to me. I would like things to happen more organically, I guess, so the reader's more absorbed in real time without almost authorial intrusion type things where the character passes judgements on events from the future "Maybe...". But that's just my opinion. This has a great voice, and some strong characters :D