Wednesday, March 10, 2010

12 Secret Agent

TITLE: VISIONS
GENRE: YA

Turning the corner, I did my best to avoid running into anyone. I just wanted to be on my own because keeping my distance meant that I could keep the visions away. The last thing I needed was an invitation to expose what I was. What was I, anyway?

“Channing! Chance!”

Uggghhh…so much for avoidance. Rolling my eyes, I slowed to a stop and turned around to see Taylor running to catch up with me. It didn’t matter how much I tried to be alone, Taylor never gave up. We went to preschool together and were practically inseparable from that point on, until I unraveled at the seams - ruining not only my life, but also my family's.

“Hey Tay,” I said shuffling my boots around in the fresh snow.

“Every day Channing. Every day I remind you that we could walk together and every day you either show up to school like two hours before it starts or you randomly take the long way to school without me. Seriously. Sometimes being friends with you is more work than it’s worth,” she said, letting out an over-dramatic sigh.

Quickly dropping the performance, she flashed me a genuine smile and then nudged me with her shoulder, trying to get a response out of me.

I gave in, thankful that her playful bump didn’t cause me to have a vision, and nudged her back with a half-smile parting my lips. We walked the rest of the way, mostly silence.

14 comments:

ChristaCarol said...

Intriguing. I like how you got the weather in there. I'd definitely read on to see how she ruined her and her family's life.

Amy Jo said...

I'm very curious to learn more about the visions.

You might want to change "unraveled at the seams." It's a cliche.

For being upset, Taylor seems to take too long to explain herself.

folksinmt said...

I didn't love the first paragraph. I felt like it was a little too much info right off the bat. I would rather not know about the visions that quickly...I would rather have it dangled in front of me for a while. I should be thinking, "what is wrong with her? why is she trying to stay away from everyone?"

I didn't think Taylor's dialogue was realist.

But I am curious about how she destroyed her life and her family, so I'd read a bit more.

Amalia T. said...

I didn't realize at all that Taylor was a girl until the dialogue tag, and now I'm wondering if Channing/Chance is a girl or a boy, too.

I'm interested in the visions, and want to know what the story is with ruining her life and her family. I wasn't sure if she had already unraveled, or was predicting that she would unravel in the future though, and I think it would be good if that was clarified.

I would keep reading.

Anonymous said...

I have to be honest, I wasn't hooked.

This:

"I just wanted to be on my own because keeping my distance meant that I could keep the visions away. The last thing I needed was an invitation to expose what I was. What was I, anyway?"

And this:

"Uggghhh…so much for avoidance. Rolling my eyes, I slowed to a stop and turned around to see Taylor running to catch up with me. It didn’t matter how much I tried to be alone, Taylor never gave up. We went to preschool together and were practically inseparable from that point on, until I unraveled at the seams - ruining not only my life, but also my family's."

Were what spoiled the premise for me. I'll try to break it down further to be more helpful.

The whole first snippet read like telling, as opposed to showing, to me. "I just wanted to be on my own because..." Then, the "What was I, anyway?" seemed like an awkward and forced transition, particularly before the line of dialogue.

As for the second snippet, the "Uggghhh" did not endear me to the MC or the author at all. Why does it demand so many letters? Why would an ordinary "Ugh" not do the job? The rolling-of-the-eyes bit also seemed unnecessary, because at this point, there's no one around to see her reaction. I also think eye-rolling tends to be used as a crutch sometimes by YA writers--I know for me, I have to try particularly hard to overcome it. Lastly, we find out that Taylor is a friend, and perhaps an annoying one, but the exaggerated Ugh and the eyerolling doesn't make me like your MC all that much. Seems like a rather snotty reaction; if she does have dangerous visions and needs to avoid everyone, maybe she should emote fear (about having a vision) or anxiety instead of exasperation and annoyance at the friend, who doesn't know better?

The sentence that begins "We went to preschool together..." also seemed like telling as opposed to showing to me.

There is also a typo in the last sentence; "we walked the rest of the way, mostly silence." Mostly IN silence, right?

Overall, I think this needs a significant amount of polishing. I can't say I'd read on.

SeaHayes said...

I liked it. I did get confused about the gender of both charachters. Channing/Chance can be boys or girls and we dont' find out Taylor is a girl until after we've read her passage. Other than that, I'm intrigued and would read on. Good job!

Barbara said...

I'm with Anonymous in that I think this needs more work. Here's a person who, it seems, may have a vision if he touches someone. He's lived 13-17 years (because it's YA) with this, and nobody's ever learned his secret. Now he's suddenly worried about people finding out? Why? He's kept things under wraps this long. What's different now? That's what's missing here. Find a way to work it in.

And if he's lived a lifetime this way, wouldn't his natural inclination be to move away when someone gets too close, rather than nudging them back?

The unraveling seems realistic because of all the pressure he would have been under for so long. Perhaps start with that, or give us more of exactly what it was, how and why it happened?

There's also a lot of telling rather than showing, as well as passive sentences vs. active.

It's an interesting premise. It's just not quite 'there' yet.

Vicki Tremper said...

I'm not worried about the gender of the 2 characters yet. I'm sure that will be clarified soon enough, and it doesn't affect how the words make me feel.

However, the first paragraph reminds me a lot of Evermore by Alyson Noel. What makes this different? Why does some physical contact give her visions, but not all contact?

Kristen said...

I would definitely read on to find out what happened to Channing and her family. I thought that Taylor's dialogue was funny :) you have channeled a teenager perfectly. Keep up the good work!

Laura said...

These opening paragraphs definitely leave a lot of questions, some of them good (in other words, some of the questions create the hook).

I was also confused about the gender of both characters. Taylor we know now, how about Chance? I liked Taylor's dialogue...she seems sassy and confident and dramatic. You can feel the friendship between the two kids because of her openness.

I do think the bit about the visions was too much at first. I am also confused, if Chance needs to keep a distance, does he/she get a vision when Taylor nudges him/her?

Another thought, if the two are such good friends, wouldn't Taylor know about what's going on? Or at least know something is happening to her friend and her friend's family?

Lisa Blandford said...

I would read on to find out more. A lot of what the visions are about can't be explained yet. But I was confused in the beginning regarding how Channing was moving. At first I thought he/she was driving, then maybe riding a bike.

"Turning the corner...avoid running into anyone"

"Slowed to a stop"

Then I realized when Taylor ran to catch up that Channing was walking.

Otherwise, good job!

Trish said...

I loved the idea of the vision and the writing was good, but I didn’t like the description of the ‘half-smile parting my lips’ I actually stopped reading to see what it felt like to do that, and it slowed down the story. I would maybe tighten the fifth paragraph too. Otherwise great, I would definitely read on.

Secret Agent said...

I don't see why these two are friends? Every day Channing avoids Taylor? And she never touches her? They walk in silence? I don't get it. And instead of introducing Channing's power in a mysterious way, she comes off as almost whiny.

The premise sounds like it could be good, but this just isn't the best opening for it.

Zara Penney said...

I'm getting tired now. Startng from number 50 I should probably stop now but I did read your first sentence and on that admission I will just comment on this because this is your beginning hook. From here you must convince me that you and I are going to get on.

I copied this sentence:

Turning the corner, I did my best to avoid running into anyone.

This is such a rough way to start.
I don't like this kind of sentence as a rule because I think they are clumsy. But as a first sentence it just doesn't work. It is like having too many 'that's'

Ask yourself. If you are turning a corner and you don't want to run into anyone what do you do? Probably you flatten yourself to the wall. Try to unobtrusively put an eye around to see if anyone is around. IF it was on a stick that'd be poked around. IF you turn a corner and run into people because everybody you ever knew was out walking their dog, then what's the point of this sentence.

Can you see what I am saying? This sentence doesn't really say anything - especially at the most vulnerable point of your manuscript. First impression.