Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Agented Author #5

GENRE: YA Romantic Comedy

I stood alone in the middle of the camp's parking lot holding a bag of dirty laundry.

Where were the other counselors? They knew I was coming back. They couldn't have just left.

Right? Oh, man I hoped so.

I retraced my steps. One of the tennis girls was leaned up against her car (which was no longer here) when I got up the guts to ask for a ride into town. Tennis Girl stared at her reflection in her compact, not even bothering to look up at me. "I guess we have room, but just FYI, we're stopping by the laundry mat."

"Cool. I need to run back to my cabin and grab my stuff. Do you guys mind waiting a few minutes?"

She turned to her friends. Both girls wore way too much makeup, and shoes with heels so high I had no idea how they walked around in all the grass and dirt. There wasn't a sidewalk in sight. "What do you think, ladies? Can we wait?"

The one in the pointiest heels answered. "Fine, but I've got lots of stuff to do--so no more than ten minutes. Okay, Samantha?"

Ugh, I hated when people called me Samantha. It made me feel like I should be wearing ironed khaki skirts and pastel cardigans tied in neat little knots around my neck, not whatever shorts were clean and the wrinkly t-shirt that I usually had on.

I didn't want to push my luck by correcting her, though--turns out the middle of nowhere isn't exactly the best place for a cell signal, and I seriously needed to check my email.

"Ten minutes. Got it." I tripped over my foot as I backpedalled toward the cabins.

Tennis Girl yelled after me, "We're serious! If you're not back on time, we'll leave without you."

I looked at my watch. That was eight minutes ago, I still had plenty of time. Where the heck did they go? We'd only known each other about a week, so it's not like we bonded over s'mores or anything. Still though, I couldn't imagine they'd be so mean as to actually leave me here in the middle of nowhere without a way to get into town for the day.

Would they?

I looked up. A nail file held a pink pink piece of paper to the fence, in big, curvy handwriting it read:

*Changed our minds. Have fun at camp, Sam! ~J*

What? Changed their minds? I pulled the note off the fence and flipped it over--blank. Ugh. They really did leave me here. I wouldn't get to call Jackson after all, and there wasn't a thing I could do about it.


  1. I enjoyed this. The 4th paragraph was a bit off. Maybe if you say something like--I retraced my steps in my mind--because I thought the tennis girl was still in the parking lot. Once I figured that she was remembering, I followed along just fine. This scene shows a lot about Samantha's personality and the type of counselors at the camp.

    Loved the skirts and cardigans description.

    Good job.

  2. You've got a nice, breezy tone in this. The fourth para also tripped me up so the transition needs to be clearer. I like how you've set her up as an outsider with the other counselors, but I wonder why she's stranded. Are there no other counselors around?

    Good luck!

  3. HOOKED. I'm kind of an on/off RoCom person, but this one seriously had me hooked- I love what you have so far and would to love to read the full thing one day! :)

  4. The voice and descriptions were right on, but the wording in a few parts tripped me up. Like was there a car there or was that a flashback?

  5. Cute!

    The flashback scene really confused me. I wasn't sure when we were. Maybe switch to past perfect? Or rewind a little, have her approach pointy shoes, and then run to the cabin and return to find everyone gone? (Would make a nice hook.)

    As it is, there isn't a big enough reason to have that flashback in there -- not with all the details. If you want to start with her returning to find everyone gone, just say she'd secured a ride from a few tennis girls and they'd said ten minutes. Don't worry about all the details or flashbackness.

    Otherwise, I really liked this. You have a nice, quick voice that's easy to get into.

  6. I love the voice here, but I'm not sold on the scene. I think going back in time to relive what happened leading up to her stuck-in-the-parking-lot-predicament forces the flow backwards and lessens the tension. Because the result is 'the girls left' having a lengthy scene where the Tennis girls decide whether to wait or not ends up moot, right? ;)

    Too, the transition into the past is confusing. When someone says, 'I retraced my steps' it somes across as literal, not figurative. Maybe something like, 'I hit rewind on the last five minutes of my life' it'll smoooth the move into past events.

    Even with a stronger transition tho, I would still suggest not going back and forth in time so early in. Show the scene as it happens. That way, you can better convey why she wants to go into town so badly (Jackson, not laundry) as she grabs her stuff you can really create that emotional tie between character and reader so that Sam's needs and desires become important to us. As is, we don't understand the repercussions of being ditched until the very end of the 500 words.

    If we know what the stakes are about talking to Jackson beforehand, we will feel her keen disappointment at being ditched as strongly as she does when it happens, make sense?

    I like the dynamics here between Sam and the Tennis Girls but think showing it as it happens will create a stronger product and bring the reader in better. If we don't find out until the end she's been ditched, it will have more of an impact. :)

    Thanks for sharing this! Love the image of the note and nail file!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  7. was leaned up against her car--
    awkward, makes her sound like an inanimate object rather than a person actively leaning against something.

    Otherwise well done. Good tone. Interesting start.

  8. I enjoyed this but found the opening slightly confusing. I see no real reason for you to write this scene as a short flashback. It would stat more smoothly if you start it after "I retraced my steps." and move the 2 paras above further down.

  9. I would just go through this in real time vs the flashback. The flashback gets confusing to me, and I see others. But the voice is nice for the age and piece.

  10. This sounds fun. As others have said, I got confused on the flashback in the fourth paragraph. But I'd definitely keep reading.