Wednesday, February 10, 2010

30 Secret Agent

TITLE: Shoreline
GENRE: Young Adult Urban Fantasy

Jocelyn stared at the guy sitting across the table from her, wondering how he’d react later – when he was drowning. Popping a French fry in her mouth, she chewed slowly and pondered. Would he welcome the saltwater as it saturated his lungs, or would his body make one last ditch attempt to escape impending death?

He leaned in, eyes glassy. “Have some wine.”

“I’m not old enough,” she said. Idiot. “I just turned seventeen.” This is why she chose him, initiating a dinner date after chatting online. That and the fact he was twice her age and hitting on teenagers. Her aunt Paige had helped her, picking this guy over other alternatives.

“If you have to get a guy to sacrifice himself for you, it might as well be a pedophile,” Paige had said. And Jocelyn went along with it, since she still lived under her aunt’s roof. But she didn’t care really. She would have chosen some jerk from her junior class if it came down to it.

“Right,” he said, nodding. “Well, happy birthday.”

Jocelyn lifted her glass and sipped water from the straw, watching his eyes as they lowered and focused in on her lips. Pulling the cup away, she licked her bottom lip slowly. “So, do you want to take a walk after dinner?”

He continued to stare, mesmerized. “Absolutely, Janice.”


“Right, Jocelyn.”

She wanted to roll her eyes but feared that it would break the effect she had on him.


  1. HA! I love this, and considering I'm not normally a fan of urban fantasy, that's good! Great voice, love the MC already, and intrigued about the sacrifice and the reason she lives with her aunt. Great job incorporating details of the MC's life without telling. Great job...HOOKED!

  2. Great opening! Intriguing story and great voice. I'm not sure how much I like the MC at this point. That she'd sacrifice a kid from her class as soon as a pedophile doesn't fully endear her to me. I don't think every MC needs to be likable, but they need to be a bit sympathetic and "relatable." Still, I'd keep reading. I love the feel of this and the potential!

  3. I'm so hooked! Love the first line. Love the comment about sacrificing a pedophile. I definitely want to read on.

  4. This is great! I'm totally hooked and definitely want to know what's going on with Jocelyn.


  5. What a great hook! Strong voice.

    "Popping a French fry in her mouth, she chewed slowly and pondered."
    I'd leave out the "and pondered" because it seems repetitive.

    Might read better:
    This is why she chose him, initiating a dinner date after chatting online, along with the fact he was twice her age and hitting on teenagers.

    Otherwise those three sentences seem too similar in length and I think there was an error in comma use.

    The only other comment is that licking her bottom lip seems awkward. Is she trying to be sexy? Would top lip work better?

    Other than that, I love it.

  6. I'm hooked as well! The first line is terrific, and the piece in general is snappy and fun.

    I agree w/ leaving out "and pondered" in the second sentence.

    I would give some thought to the third sentence - it hung me up a bit. It seems unlikely that he would welcome the saltwater. Maybe "give in to" would be a better way to put it.

    I would change "other alternatives" to just "others" - otherwise it's a bit repetitive.

    Only other thing is the last line - it feels a bit "tell-ish" and took me out of the story a bit. Could probably be reworked easily.

    Great job.

  7. Really interesting. I wonder if it's like a teenage, female Dexter?

  8. Hooked! A story in third person! Yeah! Very nice - want to read further. First line is a total grabber. Well done!

  9. Great first and last lines here, I'm hooked, too.

    I have to agree with Bobbie, though, in that I wasn't totally endeared with Jocelyn when she didn't care who she killed, pedophile or a classmate. But other than that, I thought this was really well written and compelling.

  10. Definitely got the makings of an intriguing anti-hero here. Once you said the word "sacrifice", I was hooked. Interesting premise so far, but I do think your craft/style could be honed, but the voice is good. Be careful of tense issues. "This IS why she chose him..."

    I just hope Jocelyn has some redeeming qualities, too, or else readers will quickly turn on her.

  11. I'm hooked and I love the mc! I like a dangerous girl. :)

    The only line I might change is the licking the lower lip. I say this because I, myself, have a fat lower lip, and licking it would look more like a gecko cleaning it's eyeball than an intense, arousing motion...

    I'd love to read more!

  12. Love this. The first line is great!

    I suggest dropping the 'and pondered' as she goes on to ponder so its not needed. Also rewording the 'she chose him' line. That seemed a little awkward. Otherwise, a great start!

  13. I"m hooked, but I'd still like a little tighter language. (Eg. you could leave out "from her" from the first sentence). But an excellent start to something that intrigues me... and I'm not an Urban Fantasy fan either!

  14. Hooked. I'd love to read more. You have a great way of including your worldbuilding without it being obstructive.

  15. LOL

    This is a great start! I'm definitely hooked, though I'm not too big a fan of Jocelyn right now. She seems too hard edge for people to truly sympathize with her, though I'm a fan of that type :)

  16. Your opening sentence is a good hook. I immediately thought ohh, psychic? When I read the second half of the paragraph I thought, uggh, grim and gruesome. Why is the heroine dwelling on the death of a bloke she's sharing a meal with? I wanted to know why. :-)

    So you've opened with scene setting and a question that needs an answer, and the only way the reader will get it is by reading on, so well done.

    You've established a set up, albeit not all the details of the why and what and who are revealed at once (and that's a good thing), but you give us more information in an active form - dialogue. A conversation between the heroine and the male companion. You've inserted it at the right time, to avert reader boredom and satisfied their need for action.

    "This is why she chose him, initiating a dinner date after chatting online. That and the fact he was twice her age and hitting on teenagers. Her aunt Paige had helped her, picking this guy over other alternatives." This bit reads as a little passive. Any chance you could spice it up. yes, it's important to the overall plot of the story but it felt a little flat.

    Perhaps you could tweak it something like this - "She'd chosen him after initiating a dinner date online. Aunt Paige had helped her, disgusted by the fact that he was twice her age and hitting on teenagers."

    I'm sure you could word it better but this approach would broach another question or thought in the reader's mind - Aunt Paige knows about her mysterious activity? Why is she helping her niece? What is it that she knows about her that we don't?

    Do you see what I'm getting at here? More questions, more answers needed, drag the reader on to find out those answers.

    "This is why she chose him, initiating a dinner date after chatting online. That and the fact he was twice her age and hitting on teenagers. Her aunt Paige had helped her, picking this guy over other alternatives." After the set up and all the questions crowding in my head about who Jocelyn is and why she's taking this guy out I feel cheated by the ending. Is there any chance to reveal even a hint about her motivations on why she's doing what she is?

    This is only an observation not a criticism of the entry - I know it's hard to pack everything into such a short piece (you've done a great job so far) but even just a hint would add the "wow" factor and make it un-put-downable.

  17. After reading the entire section, I wanted to read more. But, to be honest, I was a bit put off by her callousness to her victim. Also the french fry she put in her mouth, seemed, I don't know, misplaced.

    Other than that, reads, pretty well. Very intriguing premise.

  18. I'm hooked.
    It's hard for me to decide if I like a character in only 250 words.

    But I love characters like Jocelyn. The sentence where you put, "I'm not old enough," she said. Idiot.

    I LOVED that. But that's the type of characters I like to read. ((well, and write)). LOL.


  19. Cold and calculating at only 17. I loved it!

    The only change I'd make would be to cut 'and pondered,' as others have suggested.


  20. Great character, great voice, great premise! I can't resist a cleverly-written anti-hero. My only nit (and it's a small one) is that I couldn't tell in the opening paragraph if the drowning was meant as a literal plan for the evening or if it was more a "wish-I-could-shove-this-guy-off-a-pier" musing. Reading it as literal or not might effect how I read the rest of the opening. But I'm hooked and would read on!

  21. Hooked -- I found her a bit callous, but there must be a reason for it and I want to know what it is.

  22. I liked the concept, but the first line a bit heavy-handed and some of the word choices were a bit awkward ("pondered" isn't necessary, "saturated" instead of just "filled," "alternatives" instead of "choices" or "candidates, "break the effect she had on him"). I'd read on, but I think this could use a bit more polish.

  23. Terrific set up. I want to know more.

    Great comments above too.