Wednesday, February 10, 2010

6 Secret Agent


The tequila burned my throat as I threw back another shot. It joined its predecessors, although experience told me I’d see it again in the morning.

I should go. It was late and the rest of my pub quiz team had already staggered off home. I leaned against the bar and checked the prize money. Just enough for one more.

“Time at the bar, ladies and gents.” Mark, the barman, called out as he rang the brass bell above my head.

When the ringing subsided, I heard a familiar guitar riff blaring out of the jukebox. “Oh my God, I love this song!” I clambered up onto a table and channelled my inner rock god, singing along at the top of my voice.

“Thea!” Mark shouted over. “Gimme a break. Get down from there.”

“Who’s gonna make me?”

The other patrons cheered and I turned to take a bow. The next thing I knew, I was staring up at the stained pub ceiling.

Laughter erupted around the bar and I joined in, rolling around the floor in hysterics.

“Need a hand?” A stranger bent over me.

I tried to focus on his face but my brain lagged half a second behind my eyes.

“Come on, let’s get you home.” He lifted me up, supporting my weight as I struggled to put one foot in front of the other. “Where do you live?”

Hammered? Yes. Stupid enough to take a lift from a stranger? Hell no.


  1. I have a soft spot for the drunk party girls--they usually have some pretty interesting issues.

    I am curious about the stranger and I would've like to had a little bit of a discription of him.

    Nice job!

  2. I'm confused by the age of your protagonist. YA is usually 15-18, but this character is openly drinking in a bar. The barman knows her name so I'm guessing she's a regular and isn't using fake ID.

    Otherwise, I'm not sure I'm hooked. It kind of seems like just another drunk girl.

  3. I loved the opening sentences. Tight, descriptive writing. The setting is all too real for many girls, so I think people would identify quickly. The age-question is legit - but maybe a few more words would explain? I'd read on to find out. But the stranger would have to be amazing to break the mold of the usual stranger-in-a-bar-knight-in-shining-armor.

  4. You had me at hello. I really like the stranger. I realize this isn't too helpful, but I was too lost in the scene to read critically. A good sign!

  5. Agree with the age question, but . . . the mention of 'pub' made me think of England, which has a very young drinking age (18 perhaps), so that really didn't bother me.

    There's a lot of dialogue in the first 250 words. Maybe less talk, more description? Just a thought.


  6. I really liked this. I did catch myself wondering many times just how old this girl is if she's drinking in a bar and this is YA. Although I'm guessing by the unfamiliar phrase "Time at the bar" and the mention of a pub quiz, that this is in the UK or Europe, so maybe the drinking age is lower there?

    Either way, I'm hooked, but I'm hoping to learn why/how she's drinking at that bar soon.

  7. I have the same questions as the others, but the writing is solid, and the voice is catchy. I agree about the stranger, more description! Hooked.

  8. I was immediately hooked by this! I have to admit that it's because my own first drinking experiences were in Ireland and I still call all drinking establishments pubs (which gets me odd looks in the States). I never ended up on the floor though...

    I'm excited to see where this goes! And I have to say that I do love how she's aware, and not interested in a stranger. Also, I just assumed she was overseas where the drinking age is eighteen, but you might want to clarify that, soon, even if not in just the first 250 words.

  9. Sorry, but this didn't do anything for me. A drunk girl gets picked up by a stranger.

    Perhaps a hint of something more might make it stand out. It's urban fantasy, so maybe a hint of the fantasy element would help draw me in.

    I did love your second sentence - It joined it's predecessors, but experience told me I'd see it again in the morning.

  10. Solid writing.

    I'd like a bit more in the way of description to ground me in the action. Her being on the table one line and on the floor the next is a wasted opportunity to me. A little tumbling down and whether or not she hurts herself anywhere would be nice. Maybe even: "That's gonna hurt - tomorrow." kind of thing.

    And smells. I'm missing the smells here that would tell me what kind of pub this is.

    I'd read on for sure.

  11. Not hooked. A teenager (at least that's what I'm assuming, since this is YA) drinking and doing stupid stuff at a bar is not immediately endearing.

    A few ticky-tack grammatical things: The sentence "It was late and the rest of my pub quiz team had already staggered off home" would work just as well without that "off," and flow a little better.

    Also, the period after "ladies and gents" should probably be a comma, since the verb in the next sentence relates back to the dialogue.

    Hope that helps. And I love the title, by the way.

  12. Good writing but I need to know the age of the MC up front. Also, a hint of where it's going--foreshadowing could work. Other than that I'm hooked.

  13. Since tequila is my drink of choice and I've had several nights like this in college, I could identify with your MC. However, there was one thing I questioned - if your MC is so hammered, could she narrate it this well? It's in first person, so what we read on the page should be her thoughts. That's why drunk scenes aren't the easiest in first person. How do you write clearn and sound drunk? Your MC doesn't sound drunk, though she acts it.

    The age thing wasn't as big of an issue for me, since I assumed it was in England or Ireland, but clarifying the age soon would be a good idea (though I wouldn't say you have to write her age in the first 250 words). Other than that, I think it's well written.

    I'd turn the page. However, if I didn't get a hint of the main conflict soon, then I'd stop reading. Funny drunk scenes only take me so far...

  14. It's a crowd-pleasing opening, but I found "it joined its predecessors" a bit awkward (although I like the conceit of knowing it's coming back up), as well as the tense shift from the past to "I should go," which is in the present. I also couldn't help but feel that the narrator's perspective is very clear for someone so drunk. I just wasn't quite grabbed by the voice, which I didn't find wholly convincing.

  15. I did not like it so far. I know two girls heavily disabled through alcohol abuse and as long as there isn't a very strong morale to the story, I can't stand drunks (not even fictional drunks).

  16. This is well-written, and I'd read on to see why the girl is so drunk and in a bar. Must point out, though, that having a drunk MC at the start of the book with no visible reason for or pain behind the drunkenness might make it difficult for some readers to sympathize with her.

  17. I'd read on. And I have absolutely no trouble imagining a teen in a "pub" type situation (eighteen's the drinking age where I'm from). Your first lines are brilliant, but for me, the section after that just felt a little bit under. I dunno, it just didn't feel like anything super-significant was happening.

    And the assumption that the character is a serious binge-drinker is not one I've made at this point in time. Which makes it really, really easy for me to empathise with the MC who's probably just having 'one of those nights'. So I didn't really have a problem with the MC being drunk, like some others did (personal preference, I guess).