Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March Secret Agent #35

TITLE: Comp Psi
GENRE: NA - Mystery / Suspense

I handed a soccer ball to the redhead with the amazing gazangas. She couldn’t find her student ID, something about changing shorts and not having pockets, so her friend signed the log book. I stuck his card in the desk drawer.

A girl with a blond ponytail and gymnast shoulders waved her ID and went into the exercise room, followed by two guys who came to lift weights.

I opened my Spanish book. A group of girls in Tri Delt tee shirts and tight black shorts approached the desk, laughing about something. The one with runner’s thighs asked for a basketball.

I bet she ran track in high school. Sprinter, probably jogged for exercise. I pictured running around the campus lake with her at sunset, her long brown hair floating in slow motion like a shampoo commercial.

I traded her ID for the ball. She signed the logbook while I conjugated verbs related to shopping. I paid little attention to the couple lifting weights and the professor using the elliptical trainer. As long as the students flashed IDs, I let them in. I didn’t even check to see if the people matched the pictures on their cards.

Confident that I could buy a pair of shoes (zapatos) or order ice cream (helado) in Spain without ending up with a live chicken (not in the vocabulary list), I finally looked at the exercise room on the other side of the glass wall.

It was empty, past closing time. I was the only one left.


  1. I love the fun voice in this! A couple of little things to consider: I'm guessing that the MC is male because of the "amazing gazangas" comment, but that was the only hint (and the character could be gay) so I was unsure. Also, the first sentence led me to believe the MC was on a soccer field and that was so stubbornly in my mind that I had to read the sentence a few times before the lightbulb went off (in my defense, I haven't had coffee yet, nor have I been to a college rec center in a thousand years, so your NA audience would likely get it right away). I also like that you seem to be setting your MC up to be naturally observant, which I assume will play into him helping solve the mystery. I'd read more based on voice alone. Sounds like fun ride!

  2. Agree with the comments above - fun voice. Couple of issues - starting consecutive paragraphs with 'I'. Careful with that. Also vary sentence structure, using fragments, etc. And consider adding IM in between actions to avoid making it read like 'I did this, then I did that'. Best of luck.

  3. I like the voice here but I'm not hooked yet. There's a lot of seemingly unimportant stuff going on, so no matter how well it's described, it still feels like this is starting in the wrong place. I know 250 words isn't a lot, but every scene needs to pull its weight and I'm not sure how this scene does that.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.

  4. Very funny voice. This guy is me a few years back. Well done look into the head of a college-age male. There is no conflict though (Unless we're counting raging hormones). It's 250 words, and I'm reading on just because I think this story might be about me. :) Seriously, I feel like we were right on the brink of some conflict before the word count got you, but if I had the whole story I'd still be reading.

  5. This does seem like it's going to be a fun story, but so many people were described right away that I found myself skimming- a major red flag when I'm browsing first pages. I would consider rearranging this so we know where we are sooner. For example, the line about student's showing IDs could go in the first paragraph, right after Red not being able to find hers, rather than at the bottom.

  6. Your voice really shines through here, but I agree with other commenters that not enough happens in here. I got a good sense of your character just from the opening line about the gazangas. I don't need him pointing out an attractive feature or fantasizing about everyone woman who walks in the gym after that. It gets repetitive and doesn't do anything for the story.

    I obviously don't know what happens next, but I wonder if this is where your story really starts. If you open with a bored guy studying Spanish on his shift, that's a little boring. I'd find a different way to approach your opening. Like I said, your voice is great, so if you find the right subject I imagine your writing will pop.

    Thanks for the entry.

  7. I really liked the voice here -- I felt like I immediately got a sense of the narrator. I also liked the descriptions of the people coming in because we got to see what the narrator's focus was (the women). As far as what people mentioned about wanting a conflict quicker, I think something as small as combining some of the paragraphs instead of having them chopped up quite so much would make the descriptions feel shorter and move faster.