Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March Secret Agent #18

GENRE: YA - Thriller

Something's off. They should be out of the woods by now. It doesn't take this long to smoke a joint or do anything else harmless.

My dad's a military man. Navy. Highly observant. I guess I take after him because I notice things without even trying to notice them. Things like Martina's been gone far too long, and I don't trust that combination of boys to be gone this long with her. What could they possibly want with her? She's barely clinging to the outskirts of popularity, so whatever they want, it can't be good.

We're down on the shore of a lake on the outskirts of town. The fire blazes on the beach, yellow-orange flames jumping toward the sky. I'm wearing only short white shorts and a black tank top, but a trickle of sweat runs down the back of my neck. I've left my Toms back on mine and Barrett's blanket.

Katt's trying to tell me this story she thinks is hilarious about her failed hookup with Robby James last night. Robby is her summer fling. He won't last long. They never do.  She has to repeatedly draw me back into our pointless conversation. Her flat-ironed, frosted blonde hair fans over her shoulders, and her smile doesn't reach her eyes. It hardly ever does. But tonight at least there's a reason for her surliness--I'm barely listening to her.


  1. Strong opening. We get a feel right away something's up. I like the voice. Is the MC male or female? maybe 250 words isn't enough to get that, but I got the "feel" in the start it was a he, then I thought she.

    I like where this is going and would read on for sure.

  2. Great tension building. Careful of inserting author description in middle of MC voice. Would she (he?) state the colour of her clothing when she's thinking about temperature?

  3. The opening works for me. I love the phrase...outskirts of popularity. But it was diminished when in the next paragraph you reused "outskirts of town." I recommend keeping the first, and dropping/changing the second. Good luck.

  4. The 2 opening paragraphs are very strong and create great tension. Immediately, as a reader, I'm with the MC, worried about Martina. But the next 2 paragraphs seem to diverge a little, rather than following on.
    I get that Martina is definitely not MC's best friend, and that while MC's a bit worried, she's not seriously alarmed yet, but I wonder if she should be starting to contemplate action, even through internal thoughts while she tries to listen Katt's story? The descriptions of MC's clothes and Katt took me out of the story a little (although both those things show MC is a girl), but it's still a cool opening that works well.

  5. Your first two paragraphs are excellent. You immediately establish tension with your MC's concern for Martina, and I as a reader felt that concern. That said, I think that by the time I hit the fourth paragraph the tension had deflated. When you set the scene with the lake in your third paragraph, it still feels related to the opening sentences, but when you diverge into Katt's story everything switches gears. I think this is mostly because you provide too much detail about the conversation. I don't need to know that Robby is Katt's summer fling or that the flings never last. I don't need to know much about Katt right now, at all. If your MC is having trouble paying attention because they're worried about Martina, *that's* relevant, and that's all I need to know.

    I'd keep reading, though I'd do so hoping that the MC takes action almost immediately after the provided section ends.

    Thanks for your entry!