Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March Secret Agent #6

TITLE: Lake Effect
GENRE: Literary New Adult

A lone seagull drifted against a gray winter sky. Sophie Daniels watched as the cold moved through her body. She didn't know how long she had been standing there at the edge of Hoyt Lake. It had been dark when he had dropped her off. She had told him she could walk from here, thinking it would have made her feel better. But his scent and his touch lingered, his ghost standing beside her in the shadow of Delaware Park. Now, as morning broke, she could find no more reason to stay. So she started the short walk back to her apartment.

Cars began to venture down the snow-covered streets, headlights creeping across the white lawns of old mansions. The plows hadn’t made it this far uptown yet. Snow stuck to ice on the streets, hiding the danger beneath. Asphalt wouldn’t be seen until spring. Buffalo’s students would wake soon to check the local news looking for their schools’ name across the bottom of their television screens. The previous night’s disasters didn’t matter. Snow days did.

Sophie was nostalgic for an era when snow storms meant snow days. She, too, ignored the war and devastation with fingers and toes crossed for a day off. But in the year and a half she had been at college, she began paying more attention to the top of the screen than the bottom. The real world never has a snow day.


  1. I would continue to read this. I like the pacing of the story. It is clear who the character is and what she wishes she could have. I like it. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I like the moody setting and the snowstorm hints at some conflict. The pacing was a bit slow for me--the second paragraph in particular didn't grab me. It might be because it was so external, describing the landscape and what would happen to people who are not this character, and I was expecting to learn more about her and the guy. Maybe if more of the character was woven into that section, what the snow day means for her specifically.

  3. Very nice setting of the winter to the point you can feel the cold weather around you as you read the lines. However, I think there we aren't learning a lot about Sophie. In the beginning the story tugs at a conflict, but just a little bit before we're taken to the winter scene. So I'd say more about Sophie's feelings. I do like the last line of this section though. Something dark and chilling about it. Best wishes!

  4. Not clear how Sophie Daniels can watch the cold moving through her body.
    Who is the "he" who dropped her off, and is he a ghost? Maybe clarify this?

    DOn't need began to; maybe just cars ventured down...

    The previous night’s disasters didn’t matter. Snow days did.

    Sophie was nostalgic is a bit clunky and passive; maybe make this more active?

    Maybe less telling and more showing?

    But I do like the dark mood...

  5. You've created a nice mood here that suits the seeming loneliness of the MC, but I wanted more than mood. You start us immediately with a situation. She's been left here by the mysterious 'he,' and for some reason, instead of going home, she chose to spend the night by the lake, in the freezing cold and snow of a Buffalo winter. That, in itself, is a reason for me to read on.

    But after that first parg, Sophie goes into her reminiscing, and I never find out why she chose a cold Buffalo night over a warm bed, or who the mysterious 'he' is, and why he would leave her there, despite her wishes. And by then end, I'm no longer interested. I just want you to get on with the story. Perhaps you could interweave the continuing story with the reminiscing?

    I did love that last line - the real world never had snow days.

  6. I like this but not totally grabbed. It think the second sentence is awkward, it makes it sound like she is watching the cold move through her which she can't do. I am like the idea of the snow days and the hint of war and devastation.

  7. I like the mood, but I think some of your sentences are long. Maybe try and break some of them up a little more, to get some contrast and maintain the reader's attention.

  8. I would read on, but I'd want to know, pretty soon, what her conflict was and how she planned to resolve it. The descriptions are beautiful. Headlight creeping across the lawns.

    Is it true that asphalt wouldn't be seen until spring? I've lived in snowy places and the roads were usually cleared within a day of a big storm.

    On your last sentence it should read: In the year and half she had been at college, she'd begun paying ... or she'd been paying


    Once she started college she began paying

    Beautifully written. Not sure what your story is. Hope you get to it pretty quickly. I'm not sure literary new adult is a genre that is selling. If you pitch this, include comp titles, I think, so the agent or editor will know what you are going for.