Wednesday, November 4, 2009

45 Secret Agent

TITLE: My Name is Death
GENRE: YA urban fantasy


I’ve lost the Book of Death. Usually, it’s in my bottom drawer, under this pile of work from the tenth grade I never bothered to chuck out. Today, an old geography textbook’s the only thing beneath my trig exams, and the sad canvas that’s my attempt at art. S***. I stare at the empty space, hands limp at my sides.

The Book of Death’s kinda vital. I can’t kill anyone without it. Not that killing people’s my all time favorite hobby or anything. Just comes with the territory when you’re the Grim Reaper.

I rip into my drawer. Please, God of Lost Things, God of Found Things, God of damn Birthday Cakes: let me find the Book of Death.

Only one item in my drawer requires any care – the Book of Life. It’s important, too. I write the names of those scheduled to die in the Book of Death, ending their lives, but the Book of Life tells me who to kill, gives me the names.

Once that’s safe on my desk, I reach back into my drawer, shoving things out again. What on earth are my sneakers from the freshman year still doing in here? They stink. After the sneakers, the only thing left is an SAT guide. Mom bought it for me once upon a time. Don’t think I’ve ever looked at it.

Still, there’s a slim chance the Book of Death is hiding beneath it. Fingers crossed. Toes crossed. Intestines crossed. I take a deep breath and plunge my hand into the drawer.

24 comments:

storm grant said...

Great opening. I loved the way you reveal the situation without any heavy-handed exposition. I think the ending line was terrific and it would really draw me in.

Shannyn said...

I love the voice. The premise is pretty interesting - a teen Grim Reaper. I'd keep reading. I want to find out what happened to the book (I'm guessing someone took it) and how the MC will deal with it.

Ruth said...

I'd read on, but think the first few paragraphs need tightening.

gigi said...

Interesting setup and premise. Nice voice. I got a little tripped up when you said "only one item in my drawer requires any care -- the Book of Life," since your MC is searching for the Book of Death. Don't they both require his/her care? Maybe s/he could say something like, "thank God the Book of Life is there ..." and then continue.

I'd read more, even though the "intestines crossed" thing kind of grossed me out a little ;-).

wealhtheow said...

Hooked! I love the voice, and I like the idea of the Grim Reaper as a sarcastic teenager :D

Like the previous commenter, I tripped on "Only one item..." -- should it maybe be "Only one other item..."? Also I think you've got a typo in the following paragraph (shouldn't it be "sneakers from freshman year"?)

Critter Cat said...

Interesting premise.

I like the interplay of his "job" and being a teenager.

I am not too hooked though by the "lost item" opening. Maybe if the narrator was actually trying to kill someone.

Dana said...

Definitely hooked. In fact this was the only one that I clicked though to from my reader. I loved the voice and the premise sounds really interesting.

jessieharrell said...

I have to admit the title turned me off, but I loved the writing! Agree with the other comments about the only one item in my drawer... adding the word "other" as suggested should fix it. Very cool to have a YA MC as death.

LoriStrongin said...

I'm kinda on the fence. I'd read on a bit to see where this is going, but I think the repetitive sentence structure didn't quite pull me all the way in. It's an interesting premise, but I'm not 100% hooked just yet.

florkincaid said...

I've heard that there are a lot of Grim Reaper submissions lately. Having said that, the writing's great, you have a really strong voice for the protag, and you've done a good job of taking a pretty normal, easily relatable scenario such as losing a textbook for class and given it a pretty attention-getting twist. I'm into it.

sally apokedak said...

This is funny, but I just can't wrap my mind around the grim reaper having been a high school student once upon a time.

But very funny stuff. I enjoyed it.

Secret Agent said...

Love the voice. Love the hook. Nice job.

Bron said...

Great voice, great premise. I'm hooked.

SphinxnihpS of Aker-Ruti said...

Hooked. Love the voice. Love the first few paragraphs. Love the concept. Only thing I don't love is the thing I don't get: "the Book of Life. It’s important, too. I write the names of those scheduled to die in the Book of Death, ending their lives, but the Book of Life tells me who to kill, gives me the names."

I just can't picture this in my head. So she reads the names from the Book of Life? Then it tells her who to kill? And then she puts them in the Book of Death? I can't quite put my finger on what I dislike this bit, except that it seems like too much comes from the Book of Life, that I don't really see the point of having two books.

Jodi

Kim said...

Great hook. I'd definitely read more. I agree with Ruth though, the could use some tightening. There are too many unnecessary details.

The first line is awesome.

Good luck,

Kim

Paranormalchick said...

Love this! Love the story, the voice...everything!

HOOKED!!

Happy Writing,
A. McElfresh

Lianne said...

Love the voice, especially the "the God of Damn Birthday Cakes" bit. I have the impression I've seen another version of this somewhere - it always sounded interesting, but this is a huge improvement!

B.Lois said...

I think I'd read on just to see where this is going. Death as narrarator reminds me of The Book Thief; Book of LIfe and Book of Death makes me think of the Mummy movies. I liked that book and those movies...

susiej said...

This reminds me a lot of It's a Dirty Job by Christopher Moore only for a younger market. Have you read that? Its very funny and your opening is too. You might check it out if you haven't already.

Valerie Geary said...

Liked the voice. I'd want to read more. Though the 4th paragraph threw me for a second- the paragraph about the book of life. Work a little bit more with that to make this first page even clearer! Good job and good luck!

Cranky Dragon said...

You've totally got me, A snarky teenaged grim reaper who can't keep track of his tools? I love it, and I wouldn't have any trouble pedaling it to my teens if the rest is this dark and funny.

Melinda said...

I have no desire to read anything about a Grim Reaper or death, and I love this anyway. The voice is great and I really want to know if he finds the book.

Enchanted Crystals said...

Really enjoyed this. Good opening good premise, clean writing.

Cheryl S said...

I really enjoyed the voice here.

I would agree that the set up for the Book of Life needs rethinking, but otherwise I was sucked right in