Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May Secret Agent #44

TITLE: The Practice of Wearing Skin

I feel like a criminal.

Glancing behind me as I pull out of the parking lot, I see a huge pair of caked-on red lips and caterpillar eyelashes in my side mirror. Eden said it would make me look older, but dang, I never expected this. She's somehow added wrinkles to my otherwise smooth face, and huge muddy-blue bags under my eyes.

I guess it worked; I have two pony kegs in my backseat and I'm only sixteen.

I should be well on my way back to Cedar Falls, but with the sky darkening, I swear I've passed this gas station three times. Where the heck is the freeway?

"It's all right, Sofia, you can do this," I say to myself. "You just have to find I-95, get on it, and head east. And stop talking to yourself."

I turn the radio on to some pop station they get here in Naperville and the bass heartbeat calms me down.

"GPS, of course, stupid," I say as I pull my iPhone back out of the caddy beside me, punch in 'Current Location,' and steal glances at the road while I wait for the map to load. The little blue dot that is me zooms in on a tiny road just two streets over from the freeway.

"Ah-ha!" I mumble and look up. Then I scream.

There's a man in the middle of the road.

I slam on the brakes and veer to the left, but it's too late. I'm going to hit him.


middle grade ninja said...

Now that’s an exciting opening! I’d keep reading. But everything before she nearly hits the man feels unnecessary. Maybe condense or even open with the last sentence.

Sarah Erber said...

Interesting title. Ooh I want to read more! 100% Hooked!

Good luck with SA!

Desirae said...

Great opening! The combination of voice and description is great! The MC is quickly relatable and likeable. I would definitely turn the page!
Good luck!

Lisa said...

I like this (good voice, intrigue etc.) but I wonder about how you're going to sustain the first person present throughout the novel-- that's a tall order. However, I would keep reading!

K. M. Walton said...

I like first person present tense - it may be my favorite POV...and you do it well here. I really like the voice and I wouldn't change a thing.

Good luck!!!

Debra Driza said...

I rhink you do a great job with FPP. This opening was very hooky for me and I was immediately drawn in to both the story and the voice.

Good luck! :)

P.S. LOVE the title!

DLJensen said...

Hooked. I work in a bar and one of the giveaways that a girl is underage is that she is wearing too much makeup - so good job on the realistic touch! I also like how you included a modern detail like the iphone. Good job and good luck.

jessjordan said...

Partially hooked. The beginning is good. The end is good. But I get a little lost (and my attention less piqued) in the middle.

Donna Gambale said...

Great use of detail, and I loved the voice. I'm usually not a fan of FPP, but it works for me here.

One thing I'm confused about -- initially, she's pulling out of a parking lot, as if she just left the beer distributor. Then it implies that she's been driving in circles for awhile, but there's been no indication of a passage of time. Am I reading that correctly?

aimeestates said...

I agree with Donna about the time passage, but the rest of this is great.

Merc said...

I would read on. :)

Sara J. Henry said...

I'd condense the stuff about the makeup (and maybe not introduce Eden's name until later), but everyone is going to turn the page. For sure.

Kelly said...

I didn't catch the time thing, but read it again. Sure enough... The thing that stood out for me is in the direction of I-95... doesn't it run north-south?

Kate Fall said...

I love this! The humor is great. Definitely hooked.

Barbara said...

Nice start! And nice job with the first person. Perhaps don't have her say - and I'm only 16 - because she wwouldn't say that to herself. Phrase it in a way she might say it to herself rather than saying it to the reader. It's the only place where you fall out of the story.

And perhaps at the end when she sees the man, you might change - there's a man in the middle of the road. All of this is happening fast, and that sentence slows it all down. Maybe - A man. In the road. Something to give it a faster pace.

Love the title. I'm thinking she'll be a burn victim?

Secret Agent said...

This is a little nit-picky, but when you're driving (at least from my experience), you shouldn't be able to see your face so clearly in the side mirrors - they're supposed to be angled so you can see the cars and any obstacles in your way.

I'd keep reading, though. You have my attention.