Wednesday, November 4, 2009

29 Secret Agent

GENRE: YA Paranormal

Someone was watching: again. LeeAnne looked away from the table where she sat eating lunch with her girlfriends and squinted against the sunlight as she scanned the campus. No one obvious was looking her way – no one at the other tables, or sitting on the grass, or in the amphitheater. She glanced around at the other girls sitting with her. None of them seemed to share her feeling. A look of mild irritation passed over her face. This was just like when she and Glen played tennis with their moms recently and that time last week when she walked to her pre-period class with Elise. No one else noticed anything then either. Weird. She tried to brush it off and turned her attention back to Grace.

“We call ourselves ‘Rocks in Your Head.’” Grace told the new girl, Kylie. “You know, ‘Rocks in Your Head’ like because we’re rocking out in our heads all the time, but then, ‘Rocks in Your Head’ like because people think we have rocks in our head for thinking our band might go anywhere.” Grace was proud of thinking up the double entendre.

LeeAnne still couldn’t decide if the name was clever or just kind of dumb. Who would want to point out the fact that people might think you had rocks in your head?

The feeling of being watched continued. LeeAnne looked around again. Not seeing anyone looking back, she returned to Grace and the story of her band’s recent exploits.


  1. Not hooked
    The first paragraph was very wordy it needs trimmed.

    I felt no connection with the character and feel there needs more done to bring her into the spotlight, maybe a back-story element or more action to hook the reader from the start.

    Dive into more of the intrigue and mystery to make the reader say, “What the heck is going on’.

    I liked the ‘…rocks in you head…’ conversation but, again too wordy.

    Sorry, but don’t get discouraged. This needs a lot of work but don’t let my subjective opinion stop you. Keep going and edit, edit…re-write, re-write.

  2. Not hooked. The first paragraph was too wordy, which minimized its urgency. And Grace was trying too hard to sound like a teenager.

  3. Not enough tension to keep me reading. I think you have a good concept here; it just needs a little more work. Good luck!

  4. The colon in the first line seemed awkward. Why not just: "Someone was watching again." or "Someone was watching. Again."?

    The looking around gets repetitive. Don't hit us over the head with it. I think this first page could benefit from a vaguer feeling of creepiness rather than what you have now, which seems to be a contrast between LeeAnne's paranoia and the chipper conversation going on around her. I'd opt for an overall mood to match LeeAnne's paranoia.

    I might flip the page to find out more, but my attention would be waning.

  5. Not hooked. I felt that it was too wordy and I agree that the voice was trying too hard to be young.

  6. Agree with everything said above. Also, while technically "double entendre" does mean "double meaning," it almost always has a risque meaning, so I don't think it's appropriate to use it in the context of the band's name. Second para, should read "...Head,'" Grae told..." (i.e., a comma between Head and Grace). "No one obvious was looking her way" -- this is awkward. Some of the other writing is also a bit clunky, sorry.

  7. I like the idea of this (someone's watching LeeAnne, someone nobody else can see), but wasn't hooked by the execution, sorry.

    The colon in the first sentence doesn't work (you want a comma, or a full stop, or nothing at all -- but for emphasis, a full stop not a colon), and there are just too many words in the first paragraph, as well as some confusing things: How can one scan an entire campus at one glance? And what's a "pre-period class"?

    I don't think I understand why LeeAnne doesn't *ask* her friends whether they've seen anything weird, instead of just assuming they haven't. It's also not clear enough whether these are people LeeAnne actually likes and cares about or whether they bore her out of her tree -- there seem to be moments of both. (Well, maybe we all have friends who give us moments of both...)

    Overall I think this would benefit greatly from a concerted effort to trim at least a word or two from each sentence and reduce unneeded repetition (e.g., LeeAnne returns to what Grace is saying, in just about the same words, twice just in this first page).

  8. I'm going to agree with the other comments and add that an easy way to trim the first paragraph would be to simply say--This was just like what had happened last week--and not give the examples of tennis and pre-period. You can add those details later.

    Also if you said what kind of table she was sitting at in the second sentence, it would imediately tell the reader that this is an outdoor setting--I wasn't sure until the grass was mentioned.

    I love the band's name and the reasoning. I think you have a good start that just needs some trimming.

  9. I disagree with these comments. I think this is among the better YAs I've read here. It needs a little smoothing, sure, but you've established 1) setting, 2) social situation-- and I did like the Rocks in Heads idea, and 3) element that intrigues me (why is she being watched?) You could still smooth it a bit, but I am curious about what will happen from here.

  10. I'm not connecting with the character yet. The fact that she feels that she is being watched is interesting but there needs to be more, preferably with the voice, to help hook the reader. YA is all about voice.

  11. First paragraph was wordy. There wasn't anything that compelled me to want to know more. I wasn't hooked.

  12. I really liked Grace. Could be hooked with some crafting.

  13. I like the second and third paragraphs, but the first and last feel a bit forced to me. I think it might work better if you start with the conversation with the band and then have LeeAnne get the prickly-someone's-watching feeling and look for them. Make it evolve more naturally and let me feel what she is feeling as it happens.