Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April Secret Agent #42

TITLE: Froth
GENRE: YA paranormal mystery

​As I stepped outside the Red Wing depot, a gust of wind chose that moment to blow my skirt up. Good thing my coat was there to hold it down so no one saw my underwear. But man was my butt cold. Not to mention my thighs. At least I looked cute.

​"Are you sure you're warm enough?" my mom asked as she followed me to the train.

​"Yes, Mom." I pulled my suitcase behind me, my ticket in hand.

​"Do you have mittens? A hat? Do you have enough to eat? What about money?"

I didn't have time to answer as I looked up and saw the ticket guy smiling at me. See, he thought I was cute. Or incredibly cold. Which I was. Well, my legs were burning. That was a good thing, right? At least they felt warm, which was more than I could say for my fingers as I handed the guy my ticket.

​My mom pulled me into one last hug as she stuffed some goodies into my coat pockets. Probably chocolate. Hopefully some money too. Then she gave me a quick kiss on the cheek--right in front of everyone--and said goodbye.

​I struggled to get my suitcase up the train steps when the woman in front of me turned and lifted the whole thing up with one hand. I didn't even think my dad was that strong. Our eyes met and I felt a chill that had nothing to do with the weather.


  1. I could visualize the scene perfectly, but got throw in the fifth paragraph when the MC says her thighs are burning. In paragraph one they were cold. Were they burning from walking fast? I got the sense she was in a hurry. It would help to clarify if you show this ("my mother ran behind me...") and why during the dialog exchange. Or when you mention the burning legs say why. Also, could show vs. tell her frustration at her mom kissing her in public. Roll of eyes or something.

    You got me curious, so I'd read on.

  2. Hooked!

    You might be able to cut out a bit of feeling cold description. There seems quite a lot of it for a first page. Also,I don't know if I missed something but I'm not sure why her legs are burning when just a few sentences earlier her thighs were cold?

    I was going to type something about maybe finding a different way of saying 'our eyes met', given how often that phrase is used - but then I read what came after it and now all I want is to find out more!

  3. Sorry, I repeated some of what Lisa above said - I'm trying to do this without reading any other comments so I don't get influenced :)

  4. There doesn't seem to be enough action. Perhaps you need to start at a later point or work the action in with the description?

  5. Love the voice.

    I think you can take out the "At least I look cute." Also, there was much info about her being cold. Tighten, and get us to the action sooner.

    I'd read more.

  6. I'm not sure where Red Wing is, so I don't have a good sense of place in a larger scheme. Since this appears real world (train station, etc.) it is a bit jarring. If it is real world (i.e. in Illinois) then a state might help me.

    That said, there isn't action or conflict here. Where does the action start? with the cute guy? Or on the train? I got the burning from cold, and that was a nice detail. I like the "I looked cute." That's an understandable sentiment. But I'm still waiting for stuff to really start.

  7. If you cut some of her thoughts about how she thinks she's cute and get to the woman who lifts the bag faster, I think it would entice the reader more. The pieces are there, you just have to cut and move them around a bit. : )

  8. I'm hooked.

    It's a small nitpick, but when her mother is asking her things I'd keep the rhythm with just "Enough to eat?" rather than "Do you have enough to eat?" I think it would keep the sense of being in a hurry.

  9. This starts a little too slow for my tastes. I'd prefer it if you had her on line to board the train from the get-go or had her rushing to catch it before it departed (elbowing her way through the crowd, stumbling, her mother scrambling behind her etc.)

    Also, I'd casually drop your MC's name in when her mother asks if she's sure she's warm enough.

    I'm not completely hooked yet, but I'd certainly read a bit further to see who this woman on the train is and where the MC is going.

  10. I like the "at least I look cute" line--it's a quick way to establish character. Any girl who ever chose to wear a short skirt in winter will empathize. I think you can cut down the description about being cold without loosing anything. That will get your main character boarding that train faster. I'd definitely read more.

  11. I feel like I need some context here. Where is she going and why should we care? Good description, and she seems like a likeable MC. I would read on.

  12. Too light and I didn't get a feel for the characters or the story - until the last sentence. So I want more (but I do think the rest can be stronger).

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  14. You've spent the whole first page going on about how cold she is and her saying goodbye to her mother. Sorry, that sounds a bit harsh. But I do like the writing - I just want something to happen. I've no idea what Red Wing is and I want to at least know where she's going and more about who she is.

  15. Not every story can jump into action. We got a taste of something is going to happen in the first page, that's good enough. I'd read further to see what develops. Hooked.

  16. This is good. A solid piece with a nice steady build up to something deliciously mysterious.

  17. I wasn't hooked because I thought most of this wasn't very logical.

    As I stepped outside the Red Wing depot, a gust of wind chose that moment to blow my skirt up.

    Well, it couldn't have chosens any previous moment since she wasn't outside.

    Good thing my coat was there to hold it down so no one saw my underwear.

    So did the wind blow it up or not?

    I didn't have time to answer as I looked up and
    saw the ticket guy smiling at me. See, he thought I was cute. Or incredibly cold.

    Wy would he smile at her if he thought she was incredibly cold?

    Which I was. Well, my legs were burning.

    This suggests they're burning from cold.

    That was a good thing, right? At least they felt warm,

    So they're not cold?

    And then I got to the woman lifting her luggage and that just erased everything that came before it. That last line is definitely a hook. Perhaps consider getting there sooner, or clean up what comes before it so it reads more clearly.

    I'd read more, solely on that last line.

  18. This is one of those circumstances where my gut instinct is to put this down. I felt like there was some confusion with the writing; where is she going? why? How does she feel about any of it?

    That brings me to the gut instinct. I'm sorry to say, I didn't find this MC very likable. It's freezing outside and she's concerned about looking cute rather than freezing? She's leaving her mom for what appears to be an extended trip, and she seems to care more about how embarrassed she is by her mother than about leaving her behind.

    I doubt the MC is shallow, but until I see her exhibit some genuine feeling, I don't particularly care about her journey.

  19. I hope the mysteries behind the strange woman continue right away. If protag stops obsessing abt looking cute, I think I'd enjoy reading her story.