Wednesday, September 9, 2009

3 Secret Agent

TITLE: Beyond the Wishing Well
GENRE: YA urban fantasy

Devon Zanis stood in front of Eastmont High, watching the train wreck that was her life, unable to do anything to stop it. Sitting on a picnic table was Cooper. And he wasn’t alone.. Next to him, propped under his arm as if she belonged there, was Trisha. Even as Devon watched, Cooper laughed at something the little blond said and leaned down to kiss her. Devon thought her knees might go out when their lips touched. It didn’t stop there, and soon they were fully making out while people around them cheered.

Devon backed into one of the trees surrounding the open area and inched around until she couldn’t see the couple anymore. She closed her eyes, breathing deeply while she got control of her emotions. She wasn’t with Cooper any more, didn’t have a claim on him. He was allowed to go out with whoever he wanted. Devon ran her hands over her face. Okay, breathing deeply wasn’t helping. She still wanted to spit in his face. Or maybe wish …

“You should wish some black roots to go with her blonde hair.”

Devon opened her eyes to see her best friend, Jersey. “You know I won’t do that.” Trisha would get black roots all right – and then her hair would fall out. Or she’d get cancer. Or something equally horrible.

“Suit yourself.” Jersey made a show of cracking her knuckles, the picture made more bizarre because she was five foot nothing. “I can make sure she won’t enjoy kissing anytime soon.”


  1. I liked this. Two nits... I think 'blond' should be 'blonde' when referring to a female, and 'knees go out' was jarring. Should it be 'knees give out'? 'Knees give way"? Anyway, very minor quibbles for what I think is a great start.

  2. I'm intrigued. I love the idea that she doesn't have what she wants. But it's Jersey that really interests me. The contrast of menacing verses her tiny shape is interesting.

  3. loved your mix of normal highschool angst with the hint of wishing magic. I'm hooked.

  4. Nice. I'd want to see more. I love how you end it with "I can make sure she won't enjoy kissing anytime soon." That's really what hooked me.

    The opening feels kind of "telling" to me. Oh, and I love the name Devon. The humor made me smile as well (black roots part). Nice work.

  5. I'm hooked. I really love your title, by the way.


  6. I didn't get the 'black roots' thing. The feeling I got was the character knew that wishes (to Jersey, who was some kind of genie) went horribly wrong, even if the wish itself was minor? Am I right?

    While I liked the start here, I spotted little edit nits along the way (blond/blonde, people popping up out of nowhere to cheer, inched around).

  7. I liked it. The only thing that jarred me was "watching the train wreck etc."

    She's watching Cooper and his girlfriend, and perhaps *what happened* between Cooper and Devon was a train wreck, but Cooper and Trisha aren't the train wreck itself. So the line doesn't quite fit, I think.

    Loved the black roots and Jersey. The plot was clearly laid out (and in only 250 words!) I'd read more.

  8. Also don't think the train wreck sentence really works. I was a bit taken aback at 'fully making out' - probably not as fully as I'm imagining. I liked the idea that the friend could grant wishes, but I'm not sure that it's clear who's the villain - Cooper? Trisha?

  9. I'm interested. The possibility of wishes is intriguing ANd wishes going horribly wrong makes me want to read more.

    There were some awakward sentences, but I didn't get that Jersey was a genie like Catherine above said, so maybe I'm missing something. I got the impression that Devon has a power, that her wishes come true, and Jersey was there to goad her into a little revenge on the blonde. All the same, I'd keep reading.

  10. I wasn't crazy about the opening line about train wrecks, but I really loved where this is going so far and am hooked! Nice job!

  11. I would not keep reading. I think the writing isn't quite there yet.

  12. Yoda sentences there were in the beginning. And I'm not sure I've ever heard people cheer a make-out. Alright, maybe if the girl starts getting naked, but not in YA, right? If it's her imagination it should be clarified a little.

    I like the idea though. Wishes and genies have always been interesting.

  13. Didn't like the crowd cheering, were they cheering the couple making out? would that really happen? Small thing that wouldn't put me off.
    I did like the part about wishes, left me intrigued as to whether Devon is a witch who can 'make' things happen or has some other power.

  14. I'm curious, but not quite hooked. I'm actually more interested in Jersey than Devon. And is it wrong that I actually wanted her to let Jersey have her fun? That would keep me reading. Safe can be boring. If Devon's emotional, have at it...give the blonde some roots. The consequences can come later.

    ...awesome MC name by the way. :)

  15. Not hooked. The premise doesn't seem very original (normal high school angst sprinkled with magic), and the awkward/passive sentence structure in the first paragraph drained it of all its immediacy.

  16. This is pretty good, but I have some doubts. Do people openly applaud others when they start making out?

    I'd be interested in seeing a little more about how Devon's friend is reading her thoughts, and why something horrible would happen.

  17. Tentatively hooked, but had a few small quibbles. Like everyone else, I was thrown by the idea that people would cheer making out. I'm also quite intrigued by Jersey (and curious why she's named Jersey).

  18. Good teen high scene, but it doesn't really hook me as urban fantasy.

  19. I love your title as well. I guess I'm the only one who didn't mind the train wreck opening line. The second line is what turned me off a little. It does sound like Yoda and is distracting. However, once to the second paragraph, I was hooked. You could just keep the first line, strip out the rest of the first paragraph, then move the second paragraph to the first…

  20. I like that you resisted the urge to explain the wishing magic and worked it in a somewhat subtle fashion. This genre isn't my cup of tea, but you could have something here. It is fine as a start to the novel, but so far there is nothing unique to set it apart from other entries in the genre. It could be later in the novel, though.

  21. I would work on basic sentence structure.

    "Sitting on a picnic table was Cooper."

    Why not "Cooper sat at a picnic table."

    "And he wasn’t alone.. Next to him, propped under his arm as if she belonged there, was Trisha."

    Why not "And he wasn't alone. Trisha sat next to him, propped under his arm as though she belonged there."


  22. I liked this. Unlike everyone else, I don't think people applauding a kiss is weird. That could totally happen. I don't know if I'm entirely hooked yet, but I think it was good.
    Good luck!

  23. I liked this. I also think the writing could use some tightening up (it feels a bit flat right now) but it's definitely an intriguing scene.

    And I think instead of applause you would hear more heckling, like people shouting "get a room." But that's just my $0.02

  24. Needs some tightening - try my favorite trick, if you haven't already: read it aloud.

    A few awkward phrases derail this - easy fixes. Sitting on a picnic table was Cooper is an odd construction that throws people off. Calling a girl a little blond sounds odd, no matter if you spell it blond or blonde. (It's optional, guys: look it up at

    You could trim both first two paragraphs - say, in graf 2, cut didn't have a claim on him as you don't need that as well as wasn't with him and was allowed to go out with whomever he wanted.

    Love the black roots things - love the suggestion that Devon can't quite control her spells or magic - and love the feisty Jersey.

    You did much much more in the last 3 short paragraphs than the longer first two - tighten the first two, and you're good to go.

    I'd definitely keep reading. You're successfully blending teen angst and fantasy, which I think the market will lap up.