Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January Secret Agent #31

TITLE: Hope in Bloom
GENRE: YA Contemporary

Every girl needs a good luck charm. Mine was a shirt, emerald green with rainbow embroidery along the neckline. I was convinced that magic lived in every thread. My boyfriend Ben said it was the shirt I had on the day he fell in love with me. I'd also worn it the day I found out I’d finally made the varsity cheerleading squad and the day I’d gotten my first ‘A’ on a pre-calculus test. It was definitely a lucky shirt, and as we arrived at the party, I was still mad it hadn't been clean. I’d really wanted to wear it that night.

“Hurry up!” I tapped my foot impatiently, looking back at my friends who were moving at a snail’s pace up the walkway toward the blaring music.

Sara, Taylor, and Nicole were discussing Taylor’s new pixie haircut. Sara had convinced her to chop off her shoulder-length hair, and Taylor was still getting used to it. But I couldn’t focus on that. My heart somersaulted in anticipation of seeing Ben. He left for college a month ago, and I missed him. A lot. I missed that fresh-from-the-dryer smell of the sweatshirt he always let me wear. And the taste and feel of his soft lips when he kissed me at the end of our dates. And most of all, I missed his smile, that special treasure that could always melt away my troubles. He was home that weekend for the end-of-summer party, and we’d be reunited after four long weeks.


  1. I love your first paragraph! And I really just love the voice in the whole first 250. You've made some great changes. Wishing you nothing but the best of luck!!!

  2. This seems familiar to me. I vaguely remember the shirt. I like the first paragraph. The second paragraph seems a little disjointed. Maybe it just needs to be broken into smaller pieces. Particularly the last sentence. I'd consider setting that off on its own.

  3. I love it. As a sucker for Contemporary romance I would sad on in a second. Don't have much to help with. I didn't have a problem with the last paragraph but I would wait and see what everyone else said. :)

  4. So much does not make sense to me. Why does a guy of that age remember a shirt and more importantly a shirt she was wearing "when he fell in love." That sounds like a girl's fantasy of what she wished a boy would remember but nothing remotely like a teenage boy who would be lucky to answer the question of what color her eyes are correctly. Also, if he is at college, then why is he even around for an end of summer party and don't those usually happen before everyone goes back to school? If they are such an item why is she meeting him at the party and not clinging to him at every second - unless, this relationship is all in her mind. And, finally, the shirt again, if it was such a big deal why is she mad that it isn't clean? I mean, obviously this party was planned in advance so why didn't she clean her stinky shirt? All those things may have nothing to do with romance but they take the "willing suspension of disbelief" out of the story. Logically motivated words and actions serve to bring the reader into the narrative and ride along with the narrator - I think you need to beef all those up.

  5. Great voice! I felt "at home" with the style and voice, making this a book I'd keep reading for sure!

    I wonder about the lucky green shirt though. Why would she want to wear a normal every-day shirt to a special party? The third paragraph could be split up a little. And, in this bit: “Hurry up!” I tapped my foot impatiently: -- I think you could get rid of the "impatiently", because her words and actions say that for themselves. Keep up the great writing!

  6. Solid first sentence! Can you consolidate the detaills about why the shirt is lucky and get to the party earlier?

    Tapping the foot is an impatient action. No need to use the adverb "impatiently".

    "Snail's pace" is sort of cliche.

    Careful not to include too much backstory. Make her stomach flip, but make the reader wonder why.
    I'd reveal the details about Ben through her friend's conversations.
    ("Hey, you get all dolled up for Ben? How long has it been since you guys have seen each other?")

    Good luck!

  7. Oooh...I think I'd like to read this...Great start, maybe one line of dialog to break it up, unless that is precisely where you're headed in the next few lines.

    Good start!

  8. Very nice opening parg. It's well written and you've created a nice voice for your MC.

    The second parg is a bit jarring because it doesn't measure up to the first parg. The tone of the writing changes.

    The third parg falls into back story. Don't explain your story. Just let it happen.

    As much as I liked that first parg, I did wonder why she didn't make sure her lucky shirt was clean for this special occasion. And by the time I finished reading, I wondered why Ben didn't go and pick her up if they were so in love. And then I started thinking, she didn't wear her lucky shirt and Ben's going to be with someone else at the party.

    I'd stick with this a bit longer to see if the things that look illogical are really logical after all. The writing makes me feel they will be.

  9. Just Another YA AuthorJanuary 18, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    I have to agree with Happy Dolphin's comments. The viewpoint character is living in a fantasy world in her head. There's also a lot of her telling us how she feels and not much actually happening. That would be fine for a later chapter, after we've gotten to know her a little better through the events of the story, but on the first page it's not very interesting.

  10. The voice is well done, but otherwise I'll just say 'what Happy Dolphin said'.

  11. You have a nice voice for romance, but this beginning doesn’t stand out from the crowd enough to hook me. I couldn’t get that excited about the shirt, and, as HappyDolphin said, I found it hard to suspend disbelief about a lot of the details. I’d rather you showed her excitement upon seeing Ben, rather than anticipating their meeting. I don’t have the context to care enough for the MC and her boyfriend to want to read on.