Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July Secret Agent #41

GENRE: YA contemporary myth retelling

Karma didn’t see me the night I made her fall in love. She couldn’t. I was invisible then, not just to her, but to every human.

Chaz and I were on assignment in Lakefield, Wisconsin, population 676. Lakefield. Man, what a place. We were unseen in the parking lot, bows in hand, watching the school in the distance.

I always knew I’d come to a small town by the trees. There, the maples and oaks grew wild, not confined by metal grates stuck into sidewalks in a straight line. Lakefield High was on the corner of two dead streets, and in the background, a mix of crickets and bass from the DJ filled the typical small-town silence.

“Who are we supposed to be matching up?” I said.

“I don’t know. I thought you downloaded the jobs.”

The assignments filled with personal information? Yeah, we hadn’t uploaded them to The Hive, again. But that night, like every night, it was our job to decide who was going to fall in love forever.

“How’d we get stuck on a homecoming assignment?” I muttered.

Chaz blew air through his mouth, his gaze fixed on the school entrance, zoning off. He was shorter than me by a couple inches, but built like a bulldog – wide chest, stout legs, everything but his hair, which resembled the top of a Goldendoodle, hair all the goddesses described as adorable.

“I’m bored,” Chaz said, stating the obvious. He flexed his bow, a golden arrow aimed into the darkness behind the school.


  1. Totally interesting concept. I would read this.

  2. I like this concept. Two cupids on a stake out? Sounds like a fun read. And the fist line is fantastic.

    One paragraph tripped me up:

    The assignments filled with personal information? Yeah, we hadn’t uploaded them to The Hive, again. But that night, like every night, it was our job to decide who was going to fall in love forever.

    I read it twice and something about the flow just throws me off. Maybe it could be reworded a bit to make it smoother.

    I'd want to read more to find out how the assignment turns out. I'm guessing a wrench will be thrown into the usual plans.

    Nice job and good luck!

  3. Wonderful concept. Didn't feel like it had already been "done to death." The hair description made me think of early Justin Timberlake. So funny! Would like to read more.

  4. Great opening page. I would definitely read more. I love the idea of cupids and falling in love. As a reader, I would be hoping that a steamy love story will be coming soon. Good luck!

  5. I'm very intrigued by this! I'm wondering exactly what myth is being retold (Eros & Psyche maybe?!?!) and in general the premise of cupids on stakeouts is just fun. I might suggest some small tweaks to the writing (Lakefield. Man,... threw me. Something about the full stop after Lakefield made me do a double-take and reread. Maybe do ellipses instead?), but the dialogue and prose flowed for me. I would read on!

  6. I really liked the use of world building jargon and how you didn't explain every word you threw out because your characters wouldn't need the explanation.

    I know it's the first 250 words but since you haven't given the gender of your main character, I'm guessing male because he's taller than Chaz. I'm just not sure if a guy would describe another as adorable like a Goldendoodle. It took me out of the conversation.

  7. The concept is strong and I really enjoyed the opening paragraph.

    Personally I would have cut everything between "Chaz and I were on assignment in Lakefield, Wisconsin, population 676." and the start of the dialogue. While the subsequent description is pretty the population line already establishes it is a small town very nicely. For me the rest just seemed unnecessary and slowed your pace down.

  8. I really like the concept of this. It's a new spin on the homecoming dance / teen romance cliche.

    It would be nice if you could work the MC's name into the first 250.

    There were two places that threw me a little:

    "I always knew I’d come to a small town by the trees." At first I read that as "I always knew I would come to a small town." Rephrasing as "I always knew when I was in a small town" might work better.

    "The assignments filled with personal information? Yeah, we hadn’t uploaded them to The Hive, again." The first sentence strikes me as unnecessary explanation. I understood what Chaz meant by downloading the jobs. The second sentence just confused me, because a moment ago they were supposed to have downloaded information and now he's talking about uploading.

    Aside from those minor glitches, this was a good start.

  9. I do like the premise here, but the pace is too slow, I think. Neither character is actually doing anything, and Chaz complains about boredom and the MC agrees, and that's kind of how it comes across. Perhaps start with the shooting of the arrows,or something with a bit more energy to it.

    When he says 'Lakefield. Man what a place,' I got the impression he didn't like it there. THen later when he describes the scenery, it seems he does like it there. If it's not important, you might cut that whole descriptive parg.

    I was confused because he was supposed to have downloaded the jobs, and then talks about not uploading them yet. I'm not sure what actually happens there.

    He says it was their job to decide who was to fall in love, and yet he asks who they're supposed to make fall in love. If they've decided, he'd know. If they haven't decided, neither of them would know, so there's no sense in asking.

    I do think a more active opening would work better.

  10. I really like the beginning of this, but it lost me somewhere in the middle - the part where they start talking about the jobs. The paragraph "The assignments..." felt out of character to me. If they are both experienced cupids, they wouldn't really need to talk about specifics - yes or no probably would have sufficed here. I think this is an interesting take, and I would be curious enough to read more.

  11. This is somewhat intriguing, though I'm not sure why you're considering it contemporary. I say show the happenings with the gal, Karma, as soon as you can. May bring us in faster.

  12. You nearly lost me with the invisible repetition in the first two paragraphs. You tell us they are invisible (which actually worked in the context of the first para, even though it was a tell) but then you tell us, again, that they are unseen.

    Like those above, I got lost in the whole downloading and uploading conversation - seemed completely unnecessary and didn't advance the story for me. Unless the story is based around them being completely incompetent cupids, it is unlikely they would be waiting and still not know what they are supposed to be doing.

    I like the description of Chaz, but my attention immediately began to wan when he said he was bored. Even if he accidentally shoots his arrow into the darkness behind the school and hits the wrong target (which is were I am imagining this is going) I don't think you need the bored reference as it is going to turn the reader off. He can just be randomly flexing his bow.

    Overall, I would definitely keep reading to see where this is going.

  13. Great title! The idea of two young Cupids on a modern day mission is very funny and appealing. There was a good amount of description here about the town and details of where the two Cupids are – I would have loved more banter between Chaz and your MC instead. Perhaps further discussion about how crummy homecoming assignments are, or the couples they’re supposed to match up (if they can remember them?)

    The logistics of their “assignments” were a bit all over the place and didn’t feel that crucial to the opening of your story, so you might consider explaining their jobs later in the story. I would read on if this came in to me.

  14. Love it. I'd most definitely read on. The one thing I'm missing is an appearance or explanation who Karma is (it could be taken literally, you know).