Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March Secret Agent #13

TITLE: Splashback
GENRE: YA Thriller

The Sour Patch Kids in the bottom of Heidi Maverick's sparkly clutch probably bothered him the most.

The Sour Patch Kids, or the ticket stub from that new boy band's concert.

The Sour Patch Kids, or the ticket stub, or the cotton candy flavored lip gloss.

As he dug deeper into the purse, those random bits of garbage tickled his hands with worry. He thought he'd picked the right girl this time. From afar, this Heidi had looked like a high school upperclassman, slutty and desperate--just the kind he usually took. He had even chatted her up to make sure her family wouldn't come looking: sure enough, her parents were another dead-beat dad and overworked mom. Looked good and normal. Most importantly, she seemed profitable. So, he had signaled to his partner and spiked her drink.

Now she lay unconscious in front of him, half an hour away from that party. Each slow breath stripped away another week from her face, and that's when he grabbed her purse, wondering if he could figure out her real age.

His fingers his her fake ID first. Danielle Schmal, twenty-one.

No one would buy that. It was a stretch to believe she was a young eighteen. Then again, the people at the party from which they'd come didn't much care about things like the legal drinking age--or anything legal, for that matter. A pocket of the wallet hid her real ID, an ASB card from the local public high school.

He looked closer and blinked.


  1. Great set up! I want to like him but worry he's a scuzz ball--nice! Found a typo (His fingers his her fake ID first) but other than that, great. Especially the opening. Sometimes the repetitive stuff bugs me. But for this it worked. And I want to know why the Sour Patch Kids are such an issue. Well done!

  2. Well I loved this when I read it in the blogfest this weekend and don't have anything else to add that I didn't already say, so again, good job!

  3. Not your usual YA type of stuff, and that can be a good thing. While I enjoyed this read, the repetition at the beginning kind of bothered me. It's just my opinion here and others may disagree, but I'd prefer it if you didn't say Sour Patch Kids each time. Something like 'The Sour Patch Kids in the bottom of Heidi Maverick's sparkly clutch probably bothered him the most. That, or the ticket stub from a Justin Bieber concert. Or maybe it was the cotton candy flavored lip gloss.' Okay, so that needs work, but you see what I'm driving at here. I threw in the specific musician name because I think a little detail makes things feel more real (though I suppose it has the potential to date your book). My other picks:
    -The repeated us of the present tense word 'this'.
    -His fingers his her fake ID first. Danielle Schmal, twenty-one.<<Word missing??
    Picks aside, I think there is potential here and it was interesting to read something not so typical in YA. Keep up the great work :)

  4. I loved this! I thought the beginning list with the candy and ticket stub was perfect. I'm intrigued, wondering who he is and what he wants with this girl, and I'm also hoping she's more than she appears to be.

    I thought the phrase 'the people at the party from which they'd come' could be shortened up a bit--maybe 'the kids at that party' or 'the partiers they'd just left' or something.

    I'd love to read more of this!

  5. For me, this reads as if the POv character was about to rape the girl, and I do not like stories from the bad guy's POV. So it's not for me.

  6. ooo, interesting. I like how you built on the sour patch kids and the ticket stub and the lip gloss... I'm sure you saw that typo there.

    Since this is a thriller, I'm curious to know where this is headed. I'd read on!

    Best~ :o)

  7. Really like this - so intriguing. What does he really want from her? What does profitable mean here? Why do those things at the top bother him (maybe they indicate she's younger than she told him at the party)?

    I remember seeing this first line in a blogfest a couple of months ago and I still love it. I agree about the repetition of Sour Patch Kids - it weakens the impact. But I have no problem with not naming the boy band. But you could make up a name rather than date yourself, if you choose to change it.

    Good luck with this!

  8. The repetition didn't work for me as is. I thought Ramona gave a good example of how it could work better.

    I also thought it was a bit on the vague side and thought the hook would be bigger if you said what he was after. Then we have a real reason to read on, rather than to read on just to see who he is and what's going on.

    You might also keep the whole thing in the moment. Most of it is, but there are a few sentences where you fall into explaining. For instance, when he mentions his partner. He wouldn't think, my partner, he'd think his partner's name. Same with - now she lay there unconscious . . . you might say she lay there unconscious followed by a bit of description of her. It'll be stronger if you stay within the story.

    I really liked that neither of them seem to be who they are petending to be.

  9. I'm hooked, but I didn't really like the repetition at the beginning. A slower list, maybe would work, but I don't need to keep hearing about the Sour Patch Kids. I want to keep reading and find out more about who this creepy guy is and the girl he took.

  10. I think I remember your first line as being recognized in the "First Paragraph" contest? Anyway, I like the first line, and I see what you're trying to convey with listing the rest of the contents of her purse (innocence), but don't know if the repetition is necessary. I'm confused about the deadbeat dad and overworked mom being "good and normal," but I'm interested.

  11. Gripping and interesting. I agree, too, with other commentors that the bad guy POV can be problematic. But it could work. There's not enough information to know. I hope, either way, there's some light for the reader to hang on to and it's not all icky and creepy like this is (though it's a good icky and creepy so far.) I'd be interested in learning more about this.