Wednesday, May 13, 2009

32 Secret Agent

TITLE: Pelegra and the Son of Merek
GENRE: YA Fantasy

A Midnight Snack

The worn refrigerator clanged and started humming. Aiden threw a furtive glance toward the stairs; he’d be dead if his foster family caught him. He reached toward the handle and the noise grew louder, evolving to a ‘won won’ sound. He glanced around the shadow-filled room; maybe his foster brother was hiding. He was fourteen like Aiden, but loved to play cruel jokes that always ended with Aiden in trouble; it was just another reminder that he was not really part of the family.

The sound sped up to a constant whine, drawing his attention back to the refrigerator. His eyes widened as green light emanated from it, sneaking out the edges from around the door. The light got brighter and Aiden couldn’t tear his eyes away. He couldn’t help himself, he reached forward and opened the door.

Green light engulfed him. He lifted his other hand to shield his eyes. Where’s the food? This is not normal! Where’s the roast chicken left from dinner? This has to be a trick or a dream. That’s it, I’m dreaming! His feet slid, and his body shifted forward. The pull grew stronger and stronger, until his legs lifted and disappeared into the light. His fingers slipped, and he tumbled inward.

With a crash and clank of glass bottles, he fell onto a black and white tiled floor. Fruit pelted his head. Aiden sat stunned, before blinking several times and climbing to his feet.


  1. I'm not really hooked. I feel like I've seen this type of thing a lot before (something turns into a portal and brings out modern-day hero into another world). Maybe if you started it later on or something.

  2. I thought a magic fridge was original. Are you going for a slightly humorous fantasy?

    I didn't entirely get why his foster family would kill him for sneaking a snack. And why would the fridge making noises equate his brother hiding? I find it a bit hard to think he would open the fridge, too. If he was so afraid of getting caught and the fridge starting groaning like it was going to blow, I think I would race upstairs before the rest of the family woke up.

    There are three semi-colons in the first paragraph, which isn't a problem in itself, but I found it made the sentences long and a little confusing. And you need a semi-colon or em-dash or something in the line "He couldn't help himself, he reached forward and opened the door"

    Still, I'm definitely interested to see what happens next.

  3. Alien, man-eating fridges are not something I'd be going near in the dead of night. That in and of itself makes it difficult to get into, because I can't relate to the hero in any way.

    "Where's the food? This is not normal!" are somewhat... unnecessary. The fridge stopped being normal when it started clanging and humming and 'wonwoning' and that doesn't need to be pointed out.

    Not hooked.

  4. I dig the alien man-eating fridge. One thing that confused me... the black and white tiles on the other side (?) - I couldn't immediately tell if he fell out the other side or back into the same kitchen.

    I do think the "Where’s the food? This is not normal! Where’s the roast chicken left from dinner?" is a bit obvious. Maybe a joke about how he's so hungry for leftover chicken that he'd brave an alien fridge? Just some other way to say it without just coming out and saying "This is not normal."

  5. I like the concept and it's well written, but it didn't hook me. I'm not sure what direction you are going here. Where other people saw a man-eating fridge, I saw a portal like the wardrobe...and that's an interesting concept, but it didn't grab me as much as the fridge grabbed Aiden!

  6. I know we want to hook early, but this seems TOO early, if that makes sense. I don't even know this character, at all, beyond a single paragraph. I need more than this to feel invested.

    The fridge is cool - a different approach to the portal thing. And it does seem like its going to be a silly story, which is fine.

    I'd say not hooked though. Not until I have more of a reason to care about Aiden.

  7. I thought your description of the light and how his legs lifted off the ground made the scene very vivid for me.

    I would leave out the "This is not normal" line and focus on what isn't there. And I didn't think you needed the trick or dream line either.

    I don't read fantasy very often but I liked this.

  8. I would definitely skip the inner dialogue as it detracts from what is happening. I do think the descriptions were well done, and while the fridge is interesting, I'm not sure I'm hooked enough to keep reading. Other than knowing he's a foster kid sneaking food, I don't get any sense of the main character at all.

  9. I like the concept, but not crazy about the way it's introduced here. Could be smoother. Could show more from the character's pov.

  10. intersting id like to see where the fridge takes me (besides making me hungary as I read it :). is this a comedy?

  11. Falling through a portal to another world. This is a very common device that authors use to introduce a different world.

    A lot of telling us, especially about his foster family.

    I wasn't intrigued to read further. Sorry.

  12. You almost had me. I liked the first two paragraphs except for the little tangent you went on about his foster brother. At this point, who cares. It's the fridge that's interesting.

    The paragraph of inner dialogue just sounded corny. If it was happening to you, what would you say? And how would you say it? And would you comment on the empty fridge of the weird green light emanating from it? And if he went into the fridge feet first, he'd have to be laying on the floor, so he couldn't have 'tumbled' in. Rethink this parg.

    It is an original portal to another world though. I haven't seen a fridge used before.

    Not hooked, but could be, I think.

  13. I don't think there's enough set up. Think Coraline. She doesn't find the way thorugh the portal until we live with her for awhile and see the internal hurdles she will have to overcome.

    And unless this is supposed to be funny, a refrigerator as a portal doesn't really work for me.

  14. I don't think you need the exclamation points at all.

    I suppose I'm not hooked that much. If this is a portal, isn't it too early in the story to discover it? Should the reader actually see the MC first and get a feel for who he is, show his foster family in action so we are on the MCs side?

    If it isn't a portal, then you've just wasted a first page about getting a snack. Don't get me wrong, I thought it was a great description -- just felt out of place when we don't know anything about the MC.

    Maybe it's just me, but what kind of cruel family doesn't want a child to have a snack? I don't get it, but that may just be me. The whole "feeling like you don't belong" was really well done, the competition with his foster brother is believable, I thought, but foster parents that don't want you to eat? I'm confused about that.

  15. Why would he be dead - is he just over sensitive.
    A lot of cliches here - the unloved foster kid, the portal to another world. But I like that it's a fridge.
    I think you need more set up - see him with his family, find out if he's an obese comfort eater being banned from the fridge for his own good or a half-starved orphan.

  16. Aah, the good old magic portal trope, except this time it's in a fridge...

    This is not hooking me because I am plain sick of magic portals, for starters. Secondly, I don't feel your writing is holding up to your fairly meager premise. The narrative is confusing at times, and the action happens way too fast; it's choppy and jerky, like watching a film badly fast-forwarded.