Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August Secret Agent #34

TITLE: Love Should End With Hope
GENRE: women's fiction

I met Aaron when was barely a freshman at The University of Texas. I was meandering through the stacks of the massive campus library -- at least that's what I hoped it looked like. I was actually lost. Again. He was sitting at one of the tables against the wall and reading from a thick text book. I bumped into his chair. My arms were full of books and folders and notes and a few
loose papers fell into his lap.

“Sorry,” I whispered, embarrassed.

He handed me my notes without looking up. “You're lost.”

I shifted the books in my arms and took the papers. “No I'm not,” I lied. “I'm just… on my way… out.”

“You shouldn't walk outside like that.” His voice was too loud for the library.

“Excuse me?”

“You should never walk out onto a dark street with your hands full, especially if you're alone. That's dangerous. They look for things like that.”

I stood there and gawked at him. “I just live across the street. Besides, how do you know what they are looking for unless you are one of them?”

Our short exchange did nothing to take his focus off the book. “Well, if I were one of them, then I wouldn't be telling you any of our secrets. Would I?”

I waited for a few seconds and listened to the jackass-o-meter that was going off in my head.


  1. The title seems so generic, that I almost skipped over reading this piece.

    However, but for the clunky first paragraph, I enjoyed this. And laughed out loud at the "jackass-o-meter."

    The writing could be tightened up a bit, but I would keep reading.

  2. I agree that the title could have a bit more personality. Can you cut to the dialogue quicker? it's the best part. Only tell us what we need to know to get some sense of what's going on. I feel like a lot of the first paragraph could be woven into the rest. Aaron is completely awesome.

  3. Hooked. Loved it. Loved the voice and humor. I'm already feeling a romance in the works. There's a typo in the first sentence (It's missing a word). Other than that, I liked it and would definitely keep reading.

  4. but she's the one who's an oaf, isn't she, stumbling around, can't find her way out of the library?

    maybe make her a bit smarter, classier? and less mean?

    I gawked at him; don't need stood there and

    Our short exchange sentence is a bit clunky; maybe tighten it?

  5. I loved this. I can already tell that this is a book I would read. You could tighten up the writing (can't we all?) but nothing technical pulled me out of the story. Did notice the missing word, but that was forgiven by default when I read "jackass-o-meter." I'm hooked.

  6. Yup- I'm reading this one!I like it as is, except for the missing word and the boring title. Too bad you couldn't sneak jackass-o-meter in the title somehow!

  7. I love the jackass-o-meter :-) I would keep reading. It's a very unique conversation, this guy being so judgemental right off the bat about something so strange. I don't exactly trust him and it's clear that she doesn't either. The only thing that was confusing to me is that he didn't look up from his book but he knew everything she was holding. And the fact that he says 'they look for things like that'. Who are they?

  8. Yes, yes "jackass-o-meter" is great! But the title was a big turn-off for me, too sentimental. But maybe the book is romantic and sentimental; I don't know.

  9. Love stories aren't entirely my thing, but like everyone else, the "jackass-o-meter" caught my eye and insisted that I leave a comment.
    The title is . . . not great. To be honest, it kind of made me want to stick my finger down my throat and make fake retching noises to no one in particular. And since I read this for the first time while I was at work, the fake barfing would ahve been hard to explain.
    But I digress . . .
    The "clumsy heroine" literally running into the "potential love interest" and spilling her books and papers is very cliche. (I'm sorry for using that term because I hate it but in this case it's true.)
    I do have faith that anyone who could come up with the "jackass-o-meter" can invent a more intriguing way for these two to meet. (Unless you want your MC to comment on how cliche their first meeting was. But that in itself could be a cliche. Hmmm . . . Have to think about that one.)
    And I don't think the exposition at the beginning is necessary. Instead can you throw me into the action and show me what your MC looks like when she's lost instead of just telling me that she's lost? What is she thinking? As someone who has been lost in a college library before, it's quite a frustrating experience, but I didn't feel any of that here.
    Not yet, at least.

  10. hooked, but only if the writing got tighter and you introduce your character soon. I have no idea who "I" is yet, other than a lost chick in the library.

  11. I, too, think the writing needs tightening/revision to make it snappier, but I think the setup works, and the jackassometer is AWESOME. :)

  12. I agree with mystery writer. I thought she was the jackass. She's having problems and he's trying to be helpful, and instead of saying thanks, she's being a jerk.

    I also wondered about this setup, in that your first sentence says she met Aaron when . . . suggesting it was a long time ago, which means all you're telling us is backstory. Will this suddenly jump back to the future?

    There's just not enough here to pull me in.

  13. i didn't think he was being a jackass at all. maybe a little sarcastic or witty, but not a jerk. he was looking out for her, and i took it as fun flirtation until the heroine comes out with the jackass line, which then made me not like her.

    also, i think you repeat the theme of her being lost too many times that it looses any oomph.
    i would keep it with her perusing the shelves, and then have it surprise us by him noticing she's lost, and then her revealing through (showing) that she was, indeed, lost but won't admit to it.

    i like the idea of jackass-o-meter, but i'm not sure why someone being helpful and flirty is being a jackass.

  14. This was a fun dialog exchange, and I'm hooked on Aaron's character, who seems to have a good sense of humor and is accustomed to lost girls in the library (or a healthy streak of paranoia, but I'm going to go with humor). The jackass-o-meter, while a very cool phrase, didn't seem all that applicable to the situation - Aaron is being helpful in a sarcastic or ironic way, and is only really being rude in not looking at her while addressing her. I guess I'd read on.