Wednesday, July 15, 2009

17 Secret Agent

TITLE: The Sweet Spot

Kate had a goal. But a goal without a plan is only a wish.

The early morning air was brisk and slightly damp. Bending down to pluck a handful of moist blades, Kate got a whiff of her second favorite smell. The freshly cut grass tickled her nasal passages and she had to stifle a sneeze. Throwing the fistful of grass into the air, the blades fluttered down gently to her left side. She'd have to adjust her swing to account for the breeze.

No problem.

Kate picked up the graphite shafted golf club. This was the beauty her dad saved to lend out to his best customers hoping they'd be enticed to plunk down $600 for the privilege of owning one just like it.


She screwed up her eyes, glancing up at her target and then back down at the ball in front of her. Swinging the club back, it hung in the air behind her for a split second before she drove it forward. Her heel came off the ground as her body twisted and followed the trajectory of the ball. The ball soared out over the brook in front of the tee box and landed on the gentle hill sloping up toward the first green.


Kate was working. Or, she should have been, anyway. But, since she’d opened the pro-shop two hours earlier, only two single players had paid to play. Looking out over the grassy fairway from her vantage point up on the first tee, one of them was visible on the horizon walking toward the next hole.


  1. I got lost because Kate's goal was never really made clear. Something golf related I'm guessing, but there's a lot that could be.

    The descriptions in your 2nd para were good, but I'd consider just saying nose instead of "nasal passages" - it made me think she had shoved the grass up her nose ;P

    Hope that helps. Good luck!

  2. I'm not hooked. It's too much of a line-by-line list of what's going on, interrupted by short phrase paragraphs, with no reason for us to care what's going on with Kate or what her goal is.

  3. lots of good descriptions but unless you're a golf enthusiast I am afraid all of that would lose someone-I'd toss out a few descripter sentences and condense it-and go on from there!

  4. Hmmm... I think you might have something interesting here, but the writing might need a little sorting.

    For example, in the first big paragraph, you have her reaching down to grab a clump of moist blades without triggering the 'grass' mental image, so instead I thought YIKES! KNIVES! WHAT SHE DOING?! That could be fixed if you rearrange all the sentences in that paragraph.

    I don't like golf and probably would skip over a book centered around the sport as this one seems to be at the outset. That said, I don't think there are any other such books out there already (unless I've conveniently blindspotted them), so fresh and new outlook there.

  5. The first sentence is extraneous and confusing as is. If she has a goal, then why do you tell us what a wish is? And then the goal is not mentioned again in the next few paragraphs, so I begin to wonder if her goal is to hit a golf ball, and that's a pretty low bar. Not hooked I'm afraid.

  6. 250 words is not enough really to assess, but I did have a problem with the title. It looks like it belongs to an Erotica novel.

  7. I'm neither hooked nor not hooked--I'm not crazy about golf books, but I can't think of another one in the YA genre about a girl, so that gives this an extra push.

    I found the second paragraph a little confusing, but it picks up steam with the golf club paragraph & gives us a nice little background on the character & her family, which is well done.

    I don't think you have to tell us right now, but I hope we learn what the goal is within the next few pages.

  8. For me... the one sentence/word paragraphs really break up the flow. I would consider only doing one of them... right now I am worried the entire book is written that way...

    but I think I like Kate!

  9. I like it. I am curious to know what happens next.

    I didn't like the term "screwed up her eyes"....would a different description work better?

    Good Luck.

  10. From "Focus" I was intrigued...and I liked the set up of the cost of the club and her father's store. So. I'd read on too see what was coming. But I think the first line doesn't work with the rest of the page (and my guess is it was chosen as a "cool first line" more than really where this scene begins :} ).

    So, I like the concept and I'd give it a few pages to hook me, but I'm not sure the average target reader would.

    good luck.

  11. I like it. I'm not too sure if I'm hooked yet, but I'd read the next few pages. Good luck!

  12. I'm with Stephanie on this one!

  13. Ugh, writing about golf is so hard. Big picture, I want to know either why I should care about this character, or what the story problem is, really early.

    As for the prose: I'd cut the first line.

    The second graf needs a bit of work. As someone else pointed out, it's not clear the first time what "blades" are. But then you use that word twice in that graf ... there has to be around that.

    "Screwed up her eyes" bothered me -- you can't actually do that, so it stuck with me in a bad way.

    "Swinging the club back, it hung in..." is a dangling modifier. So is "Looking out over the grassy fairway from her vantage point up on the first tee, one of them..."

  14. No enough connection from the first line to the next paragraph.

    "Nasal passages" isn't something a YA would say (or think). I liked the info about her family situation.

    It starts out too slow for me. I can visualize it as a beautiful opening sequence of a film but as an opening for a book, I'm not sure I'd read on. Give me more conflict, intrigue, problem etc.

    I like sports and Kate seems to be a likeable sort but I'd like to have more reason to keep reading. Some question to answer. I know it's asking a lot to get that in the first 250 words but these days, agents and publishers are asking a lot. Personally, I'd love a good girl sports book so I hope this gets positive attention!

  15. I agree with JohnO about the blades. The second mention fitted in, but I didn't like the first mention. Try to find another term for it.

  16. Not hooked. It's just too bland for me.

    You start out with her having a goal. Perhaps tell us what that goal is.

    You might also set the scene so we know she's on a golf course right away.

    You make it a point to say grass is her second favorite smell. So what's her favorite? Why not simply say she liked the smell of grass?

    The freshly cut grass tickled her nasal passages -- says she's sticking them up her nose.

    I did like the parg. about her golf swing. I've never golfed and you made me feel like I was there with her. Try to get more of that into the rest of it.