Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February Secret Agent #3

TITLE: Meet Me in the Tree
GENRE: Contemporary YA

In the absolute butt-crack middle of nowhere, I'm surrounded by chants of “Chi-sic! Chi-sic!” The same two syllables, over and over and over. I’m ready to join in with a single, prolonged scream, and it’s only been ten minutes since I stepped out of my mom’s car and into Camp Chisic. Even the super-cute, surfer-type counselor who’s carrying my suitcase isn’t quite cute enough to make me forget where I am. Or why I’m here.

Greg keeps sneaking glances at me while analyzing the long list of names balanced atop my suitcase. “You’re in Cabin Orange,” he announces, as though I’ve won the lottery. I’m more concerned about whether we’re going to reach whatever cabin I’m in before the beads of sweat on my upper lip accumulate enough to drip. Greg’s not exactly leading me on a leisurely stroll. We’ve walked by an endless field, two large buildings that looked important, and a pool with at least three diving boards—all at a brisk pace. A row of cabins ahead fills me with hope until I notice that they’re numbered.

“The boys,” Greg says. Oh, okay. Like that explains anything.

We take yet another turn down another dirt path. Mine’s the last cabin. Red, purple, yellow, green. Then orange. Because that makes so much sense.

After I follow him up a skinnier dirt path to the door, Greg knocks and yells, “Male entering.”

“All clear,” comes a shout from inside. He holds the door open for me.


  1. This piece starts off strong. You have a good voice, and we know the MC doesn't want to be at camp even though she's checking out the super-cute counselor. Then the page starts to fizzle, at least for me. Nothing's going on. No hints of what the novel will be about or what obstacles your MC will have to face. Your voice remained consistent throughout, so if I had picked this up I would keep reading to see where it went.

  2. First paragraph is great! Really puts me in the moment.

    Can protag's name be mentioned in second para? Second paragraph confused me a bit, as Greg is looking at the list atop the suitcases, and protag starts talking about her sweat -- before we know they've started walking.

  3. I like this so far. I would like to know her name though.
    I love the opening paragraph and your MC's voice.

    Even though not much happened, I'd continue to read. It's only the first 250 words, but got my interest so far.

  4. I was drawn to the opening paragraph too, but then it lost steam.

    As far as knowing her name, I don't think that's the issue.

    You have some good description and a strong voice, but we need to see more. Perhaps where she came from... why has she been booted off to camp at her age, etc.

  5. I really enjoyed the voice in this one and I related well the character despite not knowing her name. It'd be nice to have the name early on, but I can wait a little longer for it.

    My interest in what they were doing started to wane a little (I mean, they're walking to a cabin), especially around the part where you start listing off the things they've passed. I think you could skip that part. But the strong voice would have carried me another few pages to see if anything happened.

    You might could include another hint about why she was there to pump the interest back up.

  6. I really like this one. The voice is strong. When I'm in a bookstore browsing I don't expect to know the conflict in the first 250, if the voice is good I'll keep reading. Good job!

  7. You started out with a bit of a mystery as to where she is and why she's there, which caught my interest, but after that, nothing happens. She just walks and make angry/nasty comments.

    There doesn't have to be rip-roaring action here, but the point of the exercise is to hook us with 250 words. Perhaps, instead of remarking on inconsequential things, her comments are related to where she is and why she's there? Even if they're just hints, it'll be more intriguing than a dissatisfied MC.

  8. I really like this; I have a fondness for camp stories, and the title is cute and seems to fit with the story. I know we can get awfully picky about 250 words, but as others pointed out, you might want to hint at more of the story question within her walk to the cabin. Does she have a goal for the summer? Were her plans thwarted because her parents made her go to camp? Maybe a little line of internal reflection just prior to her walking up that dirt path to her cabin. But overall, I think you have a great start.

  9. While I don't feel anything for your character (a little too much whining) I do like how you write. I might read on a little to see if the character gains my sympathy or interest because of that.

  10. I didn't mind the description of the walk. I like to have a clear picture of where I am, and this was a seamless way to give it. That said, I could do with a little something to make me turn the page. Maybe the person inside the cabin could say something more interesting than "all clear." A snarky or sarcastic or panicked or flirtatious remark, something to make me interested in the person I'm about to meet.

    Overall, a good start and I'd keep reading.

  11. While I did like the voice, I would have to agree with the other comments. There just wasn't anything on the rest of the page to keep me reading, but it's only 250 words. I would definitely suggest trying to allude more to the plot and what the story is about. Nice start, though, and I would be interested to see what happens.