Wednesday, March 18, 2009

7 Secret Agent

TITLE: Trust Network
GENRE: Thriller, Techno-

Xochitl sighed and dropped eye contact with the young woman in front of her.

"Xochitl. So-chee. X-O-C-, oh, never mind." The food runner will butcher it anyway. "Just use Fontaine, okay? I can answer to that."

"Sure, Miss Fontaine. That's one naked chicken burrito, wet, with cilantro and fresh jalapeños, a side of chips and queso, and a large unsweetened tea. Can we get you anything else? Chocolate chimi for dessert?"

Xochitl, still looking down at the register, barely registered the question but recognized the Upsell Voice enough to shake her head and grunt dismissively. When she realized that she was staring at her own reflection in the polished stainless steel of the cash register, she shook her head again to clear it and made a motion to hand the cashier her debit card.

"Okay, that'll be $8.27." The cashier took the card, not bothering to flip it over to look at the signature on the back, nor to compare the embedded photo to that of the cardholder standing in front of her. "Debit or credit?" The cashier swiped the card without waiting for an answer.

Xochitl sighed again and pointed at the debit keypad on her side of the register. A quick left-to-right glance didn't reveal anyone too interested, so she jabbed her PIN into the device. Her receipt printed almost immediately, and she had grabbed it and was on her way toward the drink fountain within a few seconds after that.

Ahh, technology -- Enabler of the antisocial.


  1. I remember seeing this somewhere (either here or elsewhere). Remembered the impossible name. :]

    Yes, hooked.

    And definitely agree with the last line. :]

  2. Good way to explain the pronunciation of an unusual name. And I think you did a good job of showing her being socially removed from the interaction with the clerk. I'd definitely read more.

  3. I'd need more of a hook than the minute detail of her lunch order transaction as an opener. Some sense of impending danger, mystery should be hinted at.

  4. A little too much lunch but I agree with pronouncing her name for people to know. That's a tough one. And I LOVE the last line. Hilarious. I like the voice you're using here.

  5. Clever of you to explain the pronunciation right-off. Because of the genre, "techno-thriller", I would definitely read on to see where the techno thrills comes in.

    We have an intersting enough MC-- not quite sure I understand if she's using a stolen debit card, or if she's just changed her looks or what...and the current situation isn't all that compelling, but I'm intersted so that's a hook.

  6. I agree with the rest of the peanut gallery. Not much is happening here, but you've got nice voice and you've weaved in the MC's name pronunciation quite cleverly.

    I think you could certainly trim down the lunch purchase to less than 5 paragraphs.

    I'd stick with this a bit longer for voice, but I'd like a hint of what the story is about.

  7. I agree with the above. I'm not sure about opening with the purchase of a burrito via debit card. I was expecting that last line to lead into the mystery. But I am wondering why she's shaking her head around so much and sighing. I might read for a couple more pages to see what the thrills are.

  8. I stumbled over the pronunciation of the name too - thanks for the early explanation. Since she barely registered the dialogue, it'd be easier on this reader to skip all that detail of the lunch order. Naked chicken made me think raw chicken - eeuw.
    Loved the last line, but I'd like to see more tension on the first page.

  9. Great voice, and solid writing. I like the title, and the last line is completely appropriate.

    I definitely want to know more. Yes, I am hooked!

    Good luck!

  10. I do love me some technology.

    The only thing I have a problem with is the impossible to read name... every time I read it, I stumble over it. I am not saying it can't be done... look at Hermione for crying out loud lol... but I want to be able to at least read the name...

    Other than that... I think this is FABULOUS... I love it, and I want to read more. I like the random amount of 8.27 and the fact that the cashier swipes without waiting to find out if you want debit or credit haha!

  11. Though the writing is good, I’d love to see some action or tension here that will lead into the plot of the novel. Just buying lunch doesn’t feel like a great hook to me. I guess I’d read on a bit to see if there’s action, but as of right now, I’m not really hooked. Sorry.

  12. Not sure where you're going with this. I'm not too excited about the food order, but I think the writing is nice. I'd just like something to happen fastish.

  13. The writing is good but I'm not hooked because the lunch purchase just doesn't interest me enough. Shorten it, maybe replace the third paragraph with something like this:
    The young woman repeated her order and asked if Xochitl wanted dessert.
    Because I like the writing, I'd give it a few more pages.

  14. I laughed when I read the last line. You did a lot to establish character with this intro. She thinks of herself as anti-social and she has a dark sense of humor. I liked the name but at first I checked to see if she was a time traveling Inca picking up her lunch. Funny. I would read more.

  15. Good writing, no idea what it's about. Strong voice, I'd definitely read more. Can't really say anything else. But the truth is, you don't need to tell absolutely everything in the first 250 words!


  16. I was confused by the first two paragraphs but then I liked it a lot. I'd read on.