Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April Secret Agent Contest #36

GENRE: Paranormal

The cold affected no one but me. With the changes I'd become a beacon for sub-zero temperature, drawing it to me and away from the rest of the world. Or at least the parking lot. The pleasant breeze that teased at the loose tresses of the girls, and ruffled the short strands of the boys, turned the light sheen of sweat on the nape of my neck to ice.

Spur of the moment makeovers can have dire consequences. My confidence had been bolstered when Tammy's attack on my hair transformed the thick, unmanageable mess into a sleek, flattering style. There was bound to be a price. This was it. Rather than pain for beauty, I'd surrendered warmth for just this side of pretty. Maybe anted up a soul for sexy. Safer not to think about whether I'd consider it.

My house was only five blocks from Pomona High School, not a distance for discomfort until winter spat out blizzards. It was late November and mild for Colorado fall. The manicured lawns of the neighborhood and the school were still crisp green. Most of the students donned sweatshirts and moved about the grounds of the block shaped school in a way that meant the weather was not only tolerable, it was comfortable.

And here I was, freezing in my black plaid pea coat after a sweat inducing run. The change hadn't been drastic enough to suffer this much. If I was going to bargain away heat retention, it needed to be for something substantial.


  1. Maybe it's me, but I had to re-read the first two paragraphs, and then slowly go through the rest to keep the connection of the up-do hair style with the feeling of cold. Some of the wording felt awkward.

    Because it is listed paranormal, I immediately thought that 'beacon for sub-zero temperatures' was the display of some kind of special power, but apparently your MC is simply cold, though it seems an awful lot of words to convey something so simple.

    I would read more, just to get a better sense of the story, but I'm not hooked.

  2. A lot of block paragraphs. It doesn't seem like much happens, either. Why is this significant? Give the reader a reason to care that she's cold. Let something happen.

    Like Kelly, I had to re-read a few parts, too. Awkward wording, maybe.

    I did like the phrase: "just this side of pretty."

    Overall though, I wasn't hooked.

    Good luck!

  3. Too much hair for me!

    Seriously, if you cut your third sentence to The pleasant breeze tured the light sheet of sweat on the nape of my neck to ice and skipped the entire second paragraph, I think you'd have me.

    Unless the hair is really crucial to this ... which might call out for other changes.

    But I do want to know more.

  4. I had to read this twice. The paragraphs don't seem to have any connection to one another.

    Am I right? The MC gave up warmth for pretty hair? I think I'd need to know more about the MC before discovering that fact because right now she's not very sympathetic.

    That being said, I think you have a good premise here. It has the potential to be a really fun read.

    Thanks for sharing

  5. I liked this, and the fact she could bargain away heat retention for appearance. I'd read on.

  6. Not hooked. Your MC was cold. It's not enough to make me read more. And I don't even know why she was cold. Was it the haircut, or does she have some superpower that lets her draw coldness from the air? It seemed so in the first parg., but after that, not so much. All in all, I don't know what's happening here except that your MC is cold.

  7. Not hooked. Too many awkward phrases, too little action.

    Here's an example of a phrase that tripped me up: "Maybe anted up a soul for sexy." What's the (implied) subject of this sentence? I'd? If that's the case, the "I'd" in the previous sentence is short for "I had," and in this sentence, it would stand for "I would." So that doesn't really work.

  8. I'm not particularly fond of present tense, but it can work.

    An interesting perception, her feeling colder with shorter hair. (Does your hair keep you that warm?) I'm not sure how to interpret that, so I'd probably read a bit further to see what's going to happen.

    There's a Pomona here in Southern California, too.

  9. A cool voice, but each of these paragraphs seems like an opening paragraph. I keep waiting for action to start, but then the introduction happens again.

    I got from the opening paragraphs that she, along with a group of boys and girls, were randomly standing around in a windy school parking lot. If this is not the case, make it clear that she is going somewhere or doing something.

    I'd keep reading to see when something is going to actually go down.

  10. Not much to go on here. I'm curious about the changes you mention, though. Maybe you need to start your story in a different place.