Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October Secret Agent #26

TITLE: Dilate
GENRE: Young Adult

When I was sixteen, I was presented the opportunity to turn nothing into a million dollars. And it all started with my lousy summer job at the Baytown Yacht Club.

When I heard the thunder crack, I knew I could kiss my chance of leaving work early goodbye.

The inside snack bar had been dead all day. Not surprising since on perfect sunny afternoons, the wealthy patrons preferred to buy their ice cream sandwiches and frappuccinos by the pool.

But as the rain poured down, the jerks poured in.

"Great," I mumbled under my breath as I saw him approach the counter.

He planted his hands on the counter, leaning forward. His green eyesscanned the menu and then lingered on my face.

I rolled back on my heels and shoved my hands into the pockets of my work apron. "Can I help you?"

His lips curled into a grin and he titled his head to the side. "My name's Dylan. What's yours?"

Anger sizzled in my stomach. I tightened my fist, but silently reminded myself that I needed this job.

"Well, my name tag says Maritza and since your father owns this place, it's safe to say you can trust that the nametags are legit."

He raised his eyebrow. "Long day?"

Just as I was about to say something super b****y, I saw Officer Thomas in the corner.

It's a fact of life that whenever you're on the verge of trouble, your parole officer appears.


  1. The last line here is great!

    I was a little confused as to why Maritza is so hostile. Working with rich snobs could lend itself to a bad attitude, but she seems pretty ticked.

    The little details are nice- shoving her hands into her pockets.

  2. "But as the rain poured down, the jerks poured in."

    Loved that line!

    I'm a little confused about why Maritza is so angry about everything; I get that snobs are annoying and being on probation can't be anybody's idea of a good time, but Dylan's been nothing but polite so far.

  3. The opening makes it sound like you are about to give us an entire novel of backstory. It's almost acting like a two-sentence prologue.

    I like the rest but agree that her anger comes out of nowhere. You might need to give us a bit more about what she knows about Dylan so her reaction seems justified.

    I also like the last line although it makes me wonder how her parole officer snuck into the restaurant.

  4. excellent voice! Hooked.
    I had no problem following any part of this submission.

    I would tighten some places such as 'I reminded myself that I needed this job'. No need to 'silently remind myself', IMHO.

    Might want to rid the 'you're' 'your' in the last sentence. Just say, "...whenever I'm on the verge of trouble, my..."
    Otherwise, it kinda sounds like you are accusing ME. lol

    Also, I'm betting you meant "tilted" not "titled" *G*

  5. I think I'm hooked.
    I get teh impression that Maritza has Anger Issues, which would explain the parole officer. The writing is good enough that I think it will be confrimed very shortly.
    My one issue is that your paragraphs are so short. It may just be a formatting problem, but it looks odd on the page, and gives the impression that you're jumping around.

  6. I thought this has some great lines. The middle, I think it is the dialog, lost my interest some and then your ending was strong. I don't think anything would have kept me from reading further.

  7. I know nothing about YA, which is why I don't usually comment on them, but the title caught my attention. The first sentence says, "when I was sixteen." so, I'm assuming this is a flashback. How old is the Maritza when she's telling the story?

    Her reaction to the the guy asking her name seems way over the top. The guy was being nice to her after all and I never read people's name tags.

    Last line was intriguing for sure.

  8. Just right.

    I like the heroine you are unveiling bit by bit, and don't mind waiting for more (a hook IMO), in fact it would be too dense otherwise.


    Consider a small change at the beginning: ....I grabbed an opportunity instead of was presented (this is more in character. She takes from jerks.)


  9. I was hooked by the last line but agree with the others. Why would she be so hostile to the owner's son. She might be thinking it...but I'd think she'd not want to lose her job with her parole officer looking on.

    She'd be smiling and cussing him under her breath, I'd think.


  10. Nice! Fantastic last line!

  11. I'm sorry, this just didn't grab me. I'm sure we get an explanation soon, but she's a little too bratty right now for me to want to follow her for a whole book.

  12. Once you introduced the Parole Officer I could understand her angry persona - more than a typical teenager. I do not know the exact source or the correlation to Dylan. Perhaps it is why she was in legal trouble. I would continue to read to find out.

  13. You might cut the first paragraph. It's almost like you have two beginnings with that parg. and the next, and the second parg. puts us right in the story. The first is just explanation, and why tell us ahead of time what the story will be about? Let it unfold with the story.

    Like the others, I don't get her anger. It seems out of place and it makes her a bit unlikable.

    I liked the idea of the ending hook because it introduces a whole new element to the situation and makes me think about why she might be as angry as she is. But the line doesn't seem to work as written. She's not on the verge of getting in trouble. Maybe introduce the Parole Officer with another smart remark?

  14. This didn't grab me the way I wanted it to. Of course, I don't need all the connections spelled out right away but I find I was trying to make sense of your first paragraph to what came after.

    The anger of the M/C could keep people from wanting to read further unless it is warranted with maybe a hint of some kind.

    I think it has promise but I'm not hooked yet.

  15. I have to say I didn't totally fall in love here. I think there's potential and some great lines for sure, but Maritza was pretty hostile and I found that to be a little bit of a turnoff.

    I definitely think the millionaire scheme could be interesting, the parole officer story line could definitely be interesting, and even a rich boy/girl from the wrong side of the tracks storyline can be interesting, but remember that we need to like even the angry characters.

  16. I'm not a fan of your first paragraph either. I don't feel like there's enough of a transition between it and the second paragraph.

    And I'm with everyone else. Maritza seems really angry for no reason. OK, she's working and would rather not be, but her reaction still seems unwarranted. The parole officer thing made her attitude a bit more understandable, but I still don't think I want to read about someone so angry for a whole book.

    Your writing is really good though, and that's harder to fix than an angry MC so good job on that count.