Wednesday, May 13, 2009

47 Secret Agent

TITLE: The Search
GENRE: YA Romantic Sci/Fi

I opened my eyes, closed them quickly, counted to ten, and tried again. A view of gray stone assaulted my eyes. Nothing I saw made any sense. Where was my poster of Jordy Smith, my surfer hero? It was the first thing I saw each morning when I woke up. It was usually right above my head, stuck to the ceiling. I closed my eyes and reopened them. Again, only gray stone, no Jordy.

Lord, where am I. What is going on?

I slowly lifted my head to see the wall in front of me was rounded like the wall of a castle tower. It had a window high up where I could see a bright blue sky. There was no glass, just an opening in the wall. “Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your hair.” I said chuckling while rubbing my face, and was surprised to feel stubble. How long have I been here? All I remembered was going to bed, and then…nothing.

“I must still be asleep,” I said. Then a thought popped into my mind; “It will be okay. Take a deep breath and relax.” I closed my eyes, following the suggestion. When I opened them nothing in the room had changed! My heart rate had slowed a bit though, and I felt that I could think clearer. I looked down and recognized my jeans, my favorite button down shirt, and my sneakers. This could NOT be a dream. If I was in a dream, I would be naked!


  1. Choppy sentences, rhetorical questions, and misuse of punctuation is all that's leaping out at me from this one.

    "I must still be asleep," I said.Clearly, you're saying it. "I said" doesn't need to be in there.

    I think the "If I was in a dream, I'd be naked!" should be closer to the top, it's more attention-getting than someone simply opening and closing their eyes for no reason.

  2. I like the world you're creating here. A lead character with a surfer hero? You got me HOOKED right there!

    Opening with a dream can be tough. Just keep tightening this up, get to the conflict PRONTO, give the reader something to WORRY ABOUT. You've already established a character I care about. Excellent!! Now put him through Hell!

    Nice work! Keep it up!! I'm looking forward to seeing where this leads... :)

  3. (I wrote this comment before reading any of the others.)

    47 - not quite hooked, unfortunately. I don't have much sense of who he is (even his age - I mean, if he's twelve and he's feeling stubble on his chin, that's REALLY weird) or where he's supposed to be, except that he has a surfer hero. The 'Lord, where am I' bit felt really jarring and unnecessary.

  4. Hooked.

    That said, I don't feel like this is polished. I did notice the choppiness - I just forgave it. Especially after the last line.

  5. You start with a scene that suggests an interesting story question - how did he get where he is?

    But the execution was not good enough to make me want to turn the page. I like the detail about the surfing poster, but I didn't need to know every single thought and action as he wakes up. For me, I'd like this to get moving a bit faster. Reduce all this to one paragraph - he wakes, is stunned, looks out the window. The final paragraph could be completely cut, it adds nothing to compel the story along (except for the funny line about being naked).

    Good luck!

  6. Intriguing story, I'm curious to know more.

    I did see a correction needed in punctuation; Lord, where am I. What is going on? Should have been Lord, where am I? What is going on?

    Other than that, good job! I'm hooked.

  7. I don't really know what's going on, so I'm not hooked. Although it's an interesting idea, so maybe if you clarified things a bit, it would be better.

    A few more things. "Lord, where am I." Should end with a question mark.

    Also, the fixation with eyes is distracting. The MC opens and closes his/her eyes way too many times. Find another way to show disbelief.

    Good luck, and happy writing!

  8. This really had some good elements to it. I see where you are going with this and realize that it is a very intricate part of the plot...but isn't it a bit cliche? I worry that an agent might pass just because it's not a real original intro.

    The Rapunzel reference was a bit confusing too. Would a guy really be thinking that? I was wondering if you had a hairy female (who can't afford laser hair removal) as your mc for a second there. : )

    Your writing is good and there is much to like. Good job!

  9. I'm intrigued by the set-up, but the writing needs a healthy dose of polish before I'd keep reading. As just a simple example, exclamation points should be used sparingly, if at all, and you have two in the last paragraph. Neither of them is necessary and they distract from the story. I'll also say that I anticipated the narrator being female, so it threw me when it ended up being a guy. That isn't a huge thing, but you might want to make it clearer earlier.

  10. I like the concept more than the writing on this.

    Lots of info dump and weird phrasings that don't make sense. Just from the first paragraph:

    A view of gray stone assaulted my eyes. Kind of melodramatic description here. Gray stone doesn't really assault the eyes.

    Where was my poster of Jordy Smith, my surfer hero? Redundant words and info dump... followed by more info dump in the following sentences.

    I liked the last sentence of the paragraph, though.

    I also questioned if he saw a rounded gray wall, would he immediately think "castle wall"?

    Then the stubble stopped me up again. The up side of YA is usually 17, which is still stubble free for most kids. Peach fuzz maybe?

  11. Not hooked. I would do a rewrite, find your voice. Tell the story like you are talking with your best friend.

    Thanks for posting..

  12. Not hooked. Too vague for me. The MC has obviously awoken in a strange place and strange time, but shows no fear, no unsettlement, and is making jokes about Rapunzle. We get no real clues as to where he is. (Somewhere back in time? An entirely new world?) Get him into this strange world in a more exciting way than waking up there and show us more of it. Have your MC act rather than think.

    The line about being naked was attention-getting, but once you get past that and read it in context, what it means is that no matter what your MC dreams about, he's always naked in his dreams, and I think what you mean to say is that he sleeps in the nude? If that's the case, you may want to make that clearer.

  13. I was too confused to be hooked, but I do think you've got some nice things in here:
    My first thought was that he's a she, which was validated by the Rapunzel reference.
    Starting a book when your hero is supine in bed is rarely a good idea, either. It means nothing's happening, folks. Come back in an hour.
    That said, I liked your hero's nonchalance at waking where he does. I liked his bravado and sense of humor and want you to play more with that earlier.

  14. *Posting before reading the others.*

    I thought your MC was a girl, so the stubble thing made me blink. I'm don't think I'm hooked by this, but I can't really put my finger on why. I think the writing needs a bit more polishing. It's not that it's bad, it just doesn't really stand out. I'm finding the same thing with my own manuscript.

    One specific suggestion: I would lose the exclamation mark after 'changed'. It dragged me out of the story.

  15. While this shows some promise plot-wise, the kid takes way too much time to figure out he's not dreaming and I'm afraid you lost me. I'd try combining the best lines of each paragraph and distill it into one, then get on with it. That might hook me.

  16. No idea what's going on. Not hooked, sorry.

  17. This isn't hooking me because it's confusing me more than anything. I can't really tell what's happening at all. Go back and start with one simple thing, and go from there.