Wednesday, March 18, 2009

27 Secret Agent

TITLE: Stop the Presses
GENRE: YA mystery/suspense

Lottie Griffin didn’t look like a goal post.

At least, she’d never thought she looked like a goal post, but a cute guy cradling a football was barreling toward her anyway. Unfortunately, the cute guy was still looking over his shoulder and Lottie wasn't fast enough.

The goal post image was her last thought before he slammed into her. She landed in the grass with a heavy, unladylike grunt.

When she opened her eyes, she was staring into a pair of the most beautiful baby blues she’d ever seen.

“Touchdown?” she asked weakly. The boy attached to the blue eyes grinned.

“You OK?” he said. He picked himself off the ground and extended her a hand.

He had a delicious Southern accent. Lottie couldn’t help smiling at him as he pulled her up.

Then she remembered why she’d cut across the front lawn in the first place. “I have to go,” she said, grabbed her bag from the ground and took off without a backward glance. She thought she heard one of the guys call something after her, but she didn’t have time to stop.

The Sentinel office looked so much closer on the campus map.

Her dress clung to her back in the sweltering Georgia morning. She glanced at herself in a window as she half-ran past the library, then immediately wished she hadn’t. Her hair, dark and curly anyway, was rapidly reaching Diana Ross-like proportions in the sticky heat. She was sure there was a grass stain on her butt.


  1. Okay, I'm hooked! I love the goal post comparison in the opening and the grass stain on her butt!

    You have a fresh funny voice and I really think you are off to a winning start.

    Good job!

  2. Yep, the opening two sentences are killer. Great visual to start off with.

    I might leave out the "cute" references in the opener, as I don't know that someone reacting to her situation would notice the cute, and especially since you start off with the beautiful eyes thing.

    My favorite line: "Her hair, dark and curly anyway, was rapidly reaching Diana Ross-like proportions in the sticky heat."

  3. I'm also hooked. The book seems light-hearted and you have a good voice which came through.

  4. I'm hooked, too. I'd like the beginning to be more immediate. I love the first sentence, but in the time it takes Lottie to formulate the second paragraph, it seems like she'd be able to evade the guy with the football.

    Also, is she hurt? I'd think she would be after getting sacked, though she might not notice it right away.

  5. Totally hooked from the first line. Fresh, clear voice. I'd definitely read more.

  6. Er... I think I saw this before. I like your writing, but the football field thing confused me. The guys run for the end zone, not the goal post. And I'm not sure why she's running across the football field to begin with. They aren't that close to the school buildings are they? :]

  7. I remember this from before and this is much, much better.

    Nice opening, great humor. I'm hooked.

  8. The previous poster is correct (that they don't run for the goal post, they run for the end zone) but that didn't stop me from loving those first two lines anyway. Lottie might not know that, after all.

    I really like the voice, although she does go a little overboard on "delicious" etc. and "baby blues" are pretty cliched.

    Regardless, I'd read on just because the first two lines are so fantastic.

  9. Great first line. Your voice carries well throughout this section.

    I liked the Diana Ross hair line, but with this being YA I wonder if anyone will know who she is. Is there anyone more current you could substitute in?

  10. Great voice and funny. No pain after the fall, though? 'Baby blues' jumped out as a bit of a cliche, otherwise nice job.

  11. I remember the previous version of this, and gotta say I think this version is so much stronger! Good pacing, good tension, good scene setting. Great job!

  12. As a lover of smart YA, I'd totally read on. Great voice, great action at the beginning. Good job!


  13. I don't read much YA, but I want to read on here. Love the voice - don't have a clue what the mystery is though. Must read on to find out.
    Good luck.

  14. I like it a lot but it reads more like chick lit than suspense. So unless there is much more suspense in the rest of the chapter (and novel) I'd consider changing genres before applying to an agent.

    The prose is wonderful flowing and the descriptions are nice (although looking in a window etc to describe oneself is a rather old and worn trick).

  15. Lottie Griffin didn’t look like a goal post.

    This first line was totally worth repeating! It makes me want to read it again and again! I am mega impressed!

    I would read the rest of this book for sure.

    And I love that his Southern accent was delicious... I think Southern accents would taste like Blue Bell Ice Cream and Pecans. :)

  16. Hooked! Good luck!

  17. Although that first line is pretty grabby, I don't see how it might reflect your bigger novel. Or tell us something about your character. The goal post/end post thing didn't really bug, just the fact that when I read that first line, I figured I was in for a story about a girl and her weight. Could just be me :)

    I like that this boy runs her over, but there isn't much in this snippet to grab me further. I think I'm more willing to read about ordinary circumstances when an extraordinary voice is doing the telling. Snazz up that voice a bit and I'm on board.

  18. Love the opening line and the voice. I'm hooked.

  19. I actually think I've seen this before, too, and I recall where it's going. Which is good, because you can't tell just from the first 250 words. And that's fine. My problem is that, at first blush it appears that the guy knocked her over on purpose, which would make her flight from him more logical. If they just knocked into each other, you could have another few beats of awkward talk. But I'd keep reading, based on this. I'd just be concerned with the organization of the author's thoughts.


  20. I thought this was very well written. I liked the young, breezy feeling of it, something young girls would read. You've set the stage so well, with your MC a cute (probably) girl with a soft spot for blue eyes. Ah's coming, I'll bet.

    And I love how you break and run, showing us the mystery that awaits. It was abrupt, but you did it in fine fashion and got a lot of info onto that first page to keep us reading. Great work.

  21. I liked the style and the humor - hooked.

    However, I thought that:
    1. you should switch the second and third paragraphs (with appropriate rewriting)
    2. she should be in some pain and there should be a bit more dialogue between them
    3. too much with the cute and blue eyes.

    I loved the last paragraph but agree with the earlier Diana Ross comment - no one under the age of about 30 will have a clue. The few nitty comments aside, this seems like it would appeal to the ya audience.

  22. Hooked. I love your voice. The "cute meet." A sboy is looking over his shoulder at the guys trying to tackle him and wham, she can't get out of the way. Something about his imbarrassing placement of arms, hands, legs, pelvis (and/or other parts) might be a tease. A nit: Diana Ross had many hairdos over the years, some flat, why not . . . was rapidly reaching sky-scraper proportions . . . If she's a music lover, or just digs Diana, you could bring it in later.
    Best of luck.