Wednesday, March 10, 2010

34 Secret Agent

TITLE: Again
GENRE: Young Adult Paranormal

I sighed in relief as I pulled into the mountain resort’s parking lot. No more turning up my iPod to drown out my parents’ arguments. No more being forced to take sides. No more having to pretend that everything was going to be okay.

“Emma, you’re here!” Rebecca hugged me as I stepped from the car. “Come on. Job orientation starts soon, but I wanna show you around first.”

I pulled my bags from the trunk and followed Rebecca down the shady path. I paused to look at the pool. Toward the deep end, a group of teenagers laughed as they dangled their feet in the water.

A cute guy sat off to the side. He was watching the group, yet seemed disinterested in their conversation. He wasn’t wearing a swimsuit like the others, but had on a pair of well-worn jeans and a plain white t-shirt. Although his curly hair was long enough to fall into his eyes, it wasn’t moving in the slight summer breeze that made me shiver. He turned my way and looked straight at me. Despite my normal shy behavior, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from him. His eyes widened briefly before narrowing in disbelief.

Embarrassed, I turned away. When I looked back again, the guy wasn’t there. I looked around but couldn’t figure out where he could have gone so quickly. Shaking my head in confusion, I followed Rebecca down the path to our cabin.


  1. I would guess that Emma knows the cute guy, since his eyes widened in disbelief? Or is there some other reason he looked at her like that? I wish there was a little more of a clue of how they were connected.

  2. It's a decent hook, but kind of smacks of Twilight unfortunately. I guess for a little while any book that has a female protagonist in a new place or at a new school who sees a mysterious cute guy is going to feel like Twilight.

    That said, I'd definitely read on to see why he had the reaction he did. The writing itself is solid, so I'd want to see what became of the characters.

  3. This was fine, but rather unremarkable. I can't say I was hooked.

  4. I'm assuming that since this is paranormal, that he isn't normal. I like how his hair wasn't moving and how quickly he disappeared. Also he seemed surprised she could see him. I would keep reading to see what happens.

  5. I agree with Alison that he seemed surprised that she could see him, which is definitely intriguing and would keep me reading.

    I don't like that you start the paragraph about him with "A cute guy...". That's pretty bland and the rest of the 'graph does a better job of describing him.

    I like this and would keep reading.

  6. You really had me until the paragraph that started "Cute guy..." It needs to be tightened with less detail and more intrigue. I'd keep going. Good luck!

  7. I like your voice, and I'm curious about the guy. Is he a ghost? I would read more to find out. Hooked.

  8. This didn't hook me. There's nothing wrong with it but there's nothing that stood out either. I guess I feel like I've read a few entries in SA contests that start with a girl noticing a guy, who has either appeared from nowhere or disappears. There's even another one in this batch, though it's MG, so I think it just feels to me like it's been done. I know this is really hard because you don't know what other people are writing. I'd prefer it if the guy came to her attention in some other way, perhaps more subtly, but then you need to stay true to your story.

  9. I like how you hint at the paranormal right away.

    I wanted the guy to be a little more... different than the others. Like how his hair isn't moving in the wind.

    The first paragraph didn't quite catch me, and I think that the family issue is something that could be addressed later. We need a little bit stronger hook to pull us in.

    Hope this helps!

  10. You have the foundation of good writing but the story doesn't leap off the page and make me want to keep reading. It seemed too convenient that just as she walked by the pool she'd see the guy. She's doing something but it seems a bit ho-hum.

  11. I assumed the guy was a ghost when he reacted to her looking at him. Now I want to know :)

    I think this would be better with some tightening. Good luck with it.

  12. Good, good stuff! Kinda wish the opening paragraph showed us the action described, instead o' describing it (the Narrator tuning out the parental argument with her iPod, etc.). But the way you've spun the opening works pretty darn well, too.

    CONGRATS!! ㋡

  13. Too slow for my taste. Has a very mild case of tell not show. And lacks dramatic punch. If I compare this with American Idol and I'm Ellen D you would get a ticket to L.A. but that'd be because I want to see your potential before I decided.

  14. I thought the writing could have been better here.

    You bring up the parents, then immediately forget all about them. Perhaps let them at least say goodbye as she gets out of the car, or better yet, have them still arguing or something, but that scene needs to be finished if you're going to keep it.

    And perhaps instead of stopping to look at the pool (which you don't describe) she could stop to look at the kids around the pool, since that is what you do describe.

    There's no need to tell us the cute guy isn't wearing a swimsuit because you follow that up with what he 'is' wearing, which let's us know he isn't wearing a swim suit. And how does she know he's narrowing his eyes in disbelief? Can she read his mind?

    The premise itself is interesting and might draw me in if the writing was more on target.

  15. Emma's voice is very passive and vague in this scene. I don't get a real sense of who she is and what makes her, "her" at all.

    The writing isn't bad, but this is really missing a strong voice.