Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March Secret Agent #29

TITLE: Crooked Little House
GENRE: Contemporary women's fiction

My mother steered our late model Sunfire down the narrow dirt road. Driving twenty miles per hour, as the pitted road necessitated, couldn't stir up a breeze of enough significance to battle the oppressive August heat. I fanned myself with my damp t-shirt while my older sister Norah folded her arms over her chest and glared at the dense line of pine trees outside her window. Though the same sweat beaded her forehead, I knew the heat was the least of her concerns.

"Would it have killed you to wait one day to get the air-conditioning fixed?" Norah said, marking the first words she'd issued in the six-hour drive.

"Why would I pay someone hundreds of dollars to fix it when Darren can do it for free?"

The pride in my mother's voice as she said her Internet lover's name almost awakened a long-dormant bitterness inside me, until I remembered I didn't care.

Gravel crunched as she slowed the car and signaled to turn right. I didn't know why she bothered; we hadn't passed another car since we'd stopped for gas ten miles back. We pulled into the driveway, and the house came into view. My mother drew in a sharp breath. "Oh, look girls, isn't it beautiful?"

The house stood nestled in a pocket of pine trees overlooking a huge, glimmering lake. A big white porch--a stark contrast against the charcoal grey clapboard siding--wrapped around the house, flowerpots of every size and shape sitting on its ledge.


  1. Yes, I'd read on. The voice was appealing and the plot interested me. I would be curious to find out more about this family.

  2. I like this. The author did a good job dropping subtle info with the dialog instead of blatant info dumping. Always a good sign, especially this early on. Woman's fiction isn't my forte, but I think I would continue reading.

  3. I like it very much, I'd continue for sure. I'd love a punch or hook or question raised a little more right off, but I do wonder who the mc is, what the heck is wrong with her mother - and what they find inside the pretty house.

    Good work, author.

  4. I thought this was very well-written. The author has taken time to learn her craft and it shows. It started off at a good point and made me want to keep reading.

  5. This author writes sumptuous descriptions. The atmosphere is tangible, and the relationships between characters made clear in very few words. I already feel comfortable in the hands of this author. I’d most certainly read on.

  6. The writing quality is amazing the characters are intriguing. I would definitely keep reading this one. Amazing work!

  7. I find this extremely appealing. Very, very good.

    Best of luck~ :o) <3

  8. I'm hooked! It was the internet lover line that did it for me. Trying to work out exactly what's going on from just the first 250 words isn't always easy, but I think this author managed to evoke the setting and the relationships between the characters right from the get go. An then I read 'internet lover' and I'm sitting up. I'd definitely read on.

  9. I'm hooked. The description is great and the conflict subtle. We know the girls aren't happy about mom's lover because Norah hasn't spoken in 6 hrs and our narrator doesn't care. Great way to grab us

  10. Great crafting here! I'm guessing the house belongs to the internet lover and they're either moving in or visiting for some time. You've introduced your main characters, as well as the problem and the setting, and you've done it all with story rather than author intrusion. Nicely done!

    You might cut - Though the same sweat beaded her forehead, - because it really isn't the same sweat.

    Same with - marking the first words she'd issued in the six-hour drive. For the same reason. She's not marking anything. Maybe a simple - they were the first words she'd spoken in 6 hours.

    The pride in my mother's voice as she said her Internet lover's name almost awakened a long-dormant bitterness inside me, until I remembered I didn't care - This says so much about your MC. It was my favorite line.

    And if this is Darren's house, you might end with him standing on the porch, too.

  11. I picked up on the teenage attitude right away. So typical and authentic to the story. Since I don't know much about the narrator or her family at this pint in the story, I would give it a little more time to develop.

    I'm not sure I'm hooked at this point, but I might give it a couple more pages.

  12. If this story is about a mother picking up her two teenage daughter to live with (or visit) her internet boyfriend, I'd be hooked. Great scenario filled with opportunities. But is it not YA? Is the narrator a teenager and describing the world through a teenager's eyes? The age of the narrator isn't the only thing that determine's something's YA, but this feels YA to me. Of course, this could change with multiple narrator's, but the author should be careful.

  13. Thanks so much for the encouraging and helpful comments. Very appreciated :)