Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April Secret Agent Contest #46

TITLE: The Disappearances
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Walmart was the first to disappear. It started off as an ordinary night, but the chain of events that began with one local Walmart was something I could never have made up - I'm not that good of a writer.

I sat with my knees folded on rickety olive recliner, with Adam sprawled at the foot of it. We were supposed to be finishing a boring book by reading alternating chapters and sharing them.

Adam stared out the window, when I snapped; "It's not fair if I'm the only one reading. The report's due tomorrow, remember?"

"Relax, Eve. We only have a few more pages to go and I'm sure whatever we turn in will be as good anyone else's in the class." He turned back to the window.

"You're not even trying to finish!" I complained.

Adam got up and peered through the glass. "It's so weird out there. Take a look."

"What's weird?" I asked as I joined him, but he didn't have to answer. The fog crept in, wrapping itself around everything outside -houses, trees, cars, mailboxes. It was so thick; you'd believe that it would have substance if you touched it.

"Look up," Adam said and I did. The sky was sprinkled with stars and a moon that shone like the sun. That wasn't the sky you'd normally get on a foggy night.

"What is it?" I felt my skin prick in the warm room.

"Let's find out."


  1. I love the dialog and the voice, and the idea of Walmart disappearing. I'd read on for sure!

  2. I like where this story is heading--the idea of the disappearances. I especially like the first line--Walmart being the first to disappear.

    The dialogue between the 2 works well for me. It feels real. There were a few things that pulled me out of the story. The first was the 2nd sentence. We know Walmart disappeared and we know that this isn't going to be an ordianary night because something is going to happen--otherwise we wouldn't be reading it. The other thing is the line about it not being the sky you'd normally see on a foggy night. You don't need to tell the reader this information. It slows it down. Trust in your ability to describe what's happening and what everything looks like and the reader will follow.

  3. Perhaps consider dropping the second sentence: It started off as an ordinary night, but the chain of events that began with one local Walmart was something I could never have made up - I'm not that good of a writer.

    And the logician in me wants at least one more word in the lead - first building? first store?

    Need to make sure that it doesn't just seem that Walmart's going out of business.

    But this could be intriguing.

  4. I love the premise and your voice. The only thing that didn't quite work for me was your second sentence--for me, it just didn't flow.

  5. I loved the first line. I'd definitely read more. Great start!

  6. I enjoyed this. It had a ghoulish feel to it, more horror than fantasy.
    It sucked me in.

  7. This is just not believable---everyone knows that Wal-Mart and cock roaches would be the only things left after a nuclear holocaust, so for it to be the first thing to go---not believable. Just kidding. I liked this one a lot. I like the intimacy of the two characters, their comfort with each other, the dialogue, the creepiness in general. Like you're on the precipice of adventure already. Good job.

  8. I loved the first sentence, but then you left us hanging. Wasn't Wal-Mart in their city, and could they see it from where they were? [An aside: Be sure to spell the store's name correctly. Check the website for the official name.]

    I also don't think the two characters are disturbed enough at the odd weather and unusual sky. Wouldn't your MC feel some anxiety -- stomach clenching, heart thumping, or other physical manifestations when she sees the oddities?

    I'm curious but not hooked. Sorry. But keep writing. You've got a story to tell.

    I'm guessing they've been transported someplace off Earth or something like that.

  9. Hi

    The first line is great! Got me immediately hooked.

    The dialogue is believable and the characters (Adam and Eve!! big hint!) are suitably quirky in a surreal setting.

    It's intriguing and I would certainly want to know what on earth is going on??

    Well done! More please.

    Take care

  10. I loved the first line, but agree with Sara J. Henry that you should drop the second line. I would prefer the book report dialogue be cut down so we can get to the story sooner, but that might be a function of only having 250 words to read.

  11. I loved the first line. This has the makings of a wonderful story. I was hooked.

  12. I liked the last sentence--very provocative ending. I think it could use a touch more sensory detail in describing the outside, but I would definitely read on.

  13. Intriguing, fun premise, I'd definitely read more. But I got bumped at "I'm not that good of a writer." I'd consider taking out that line.

  14. Interesting, and I'd probably read on a bit more, but my pet peeve is narrators who talk to me, and that's how this starts, with a few other instances thrown in. If there was a lot more of it, I'd stop reading.

    But otherwise, I thought the opening worked. The dialogue reads naturally, there is movement, there's mystery, the writing's good. My suggestion would be to stop talking to the reader and tell the story as it happens. Put us in the moment. Don't tell us about it after the fact.

  15. I would make the first line the only line in that paragraph.

    My pet peeve is when MCs talk about how ordinary things are... and then explain that in the future, we will see that they aren't actually ordinary. Just get to the story. And it is OK if we are a little perplexed about what she means, I think.

    "Walmart was the first to disappear.

    I'd been sitting with my knees folded on the rickety olive recliner..."

  16. Yeah, I agree with many above. I didn't like the first paragraph but couldn't figure out why until I read the comments. I'm intrigued, but not definitely hooked.

  17. I'm totally hooked on this one. I liked the interplay between the siblings as well as the disappearing Walmart.

  18. Great atmosphere. Agree that the 2d sentence should be dropped.

    I found the "Relax, Eve" a little stilted, especially if he is being mesmerized by something outside.

    Would it work to say "Adam reluctantly turned."
    Then continue with the rest.

    Nice writing.