Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September Secret Agent #4

GENRE: Contemporary Romance

The anxious fans filled the stands, all sitting on the edge of their seats with a few whispers echoing among the crowd. Competitors surrounded the Olympic-sized natatorium, breathless for the last diver. The soothing sound of the water-spray underneath the boards announced where air stopped and water began.

“You’ve got this, Stitch,” Dick reminded her, using the nickname she’d earned ten years ago as a rowdy kid. The balding, white-haired man had a pudgy physique, but his wide shoulders and strong arms were those of a former athlete. The wrinkles on his face weren’t from stress and age, but from thousands of laughs and constant sun damage that came with years of outdoor coaching.

“I know,” Stacey responded.

“Keep your shoulders back. Show me your pocket dive.”

Stacey smiled. He always knew exactly what she needed to hear: the mechanics of the dive. Nothing else.

The announcer read the results, “Awards for Jade Devins: eight, eight, eight-and-a-half...”
Stacey adjusted her suit, drowning out the exceptional scores of her fiercest competitor. It didn’t matter. This meet belonged to her. That third trophy would balance the symmetry on her wall. For ten years she’d worked too hard, living and breathing in the water, and had practically grown gills. The top podium was hers. No one deserved it more, particularly not Jade, who threw ugly looks and trash-talked other divers. Stacey learned several years before to turn off her ears whenever Jade spoke. Two championship titles later, it seemed to work.


  1. I love, love, love contemporary YA and it seems like there's never enough of it available...yours seems like one I'd be interested in reading so far. I'm already intrigued about the MC, Stacey. It seems like she has goals and desires, but since this is romance I'm assuming some conflict is gonna come in w/ a love interest (or two) and her love for swimming. You have great details about the coach and Stacey's personality without pulling the reader out of the moment. Bravo--I'd def. read this!

  2. I thought the overall piece seemed kind of distant, like I was listening to a narrator, instead of getting into Stacey's POV.

    We don't get to meet her until parg. three, and then she just says 'I know.' which doesn't give us much insight into her character. It started to pick up as I read on, but not enough to hold me.

    Perhaps get Stacey into your opening. Maybe rewrite it so it is clear that this is Stacey seeing the crowd. Let us know what she's thinking and feeling. Instead of saying 'the soothing sound of the water spray' perhaps say 'the sound of the water spray soothed her.' Get her into the story from the beginning so we start getting to know her immediately.

    Loved the word natatorium! I never heard it before.

  3. I felt a little distant from Stacey too. Maybe you could show Stacey's dive?

  4. I liked the last paragraph the best, because that part shows us your MC, her determination, spirit. I'd start with that and show the rest later.

  5. I agree that it would be more intimate with Stacey's POV, but I'm engaged as is. I love to see anything with girls and sports :) Also, your title's pretty darn cool!

  6. I thought the last paragraph was a little long - I would have stopped after "This meet belonged to her." We can learn the rest later - move on to the dive.

    Otherwise well written and I'd probably read on even if it isn't a typical genre for me.

  7. Well, I loved it. I love the narration and you pulled me into the story with the descriptions. I'm wondering if Stacey will perform a perfect dive or do a belly flop. Good luck with this! <3

  8. I think this is solid. I don't generally like books about sports but I would have read on--I like the way you've emphasized the psychological nature of the sport and set up the rivalry between the two girls.

    I would have read more, although I think the writing in the first paragraph is pretty rough.

  9. I liked it and would have kept reading, but mostly because I've spent most of my life competing in the water and I can totally relate to your MC.