Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April Secret Agent Contest #6

TITLE: Imaginary Heart
GENRE: YA Paranormal Romance

I died before I was even born.

It was April 13th, not a Friday, but it might as well have been. My mom was in labor with me as my parents raced down the two-lane wooded road that passes for a highway in our part of Michigan. A thunderstorm raged, blotting out the last of the sunset. They were two miles from the hospital when a speeding car slid through a stop sign and slammed into them.

They never even saw it coming.

My dad died first, instantly, the steering column punching a hole right through his heart. Their ancient car didn't have airbags and the seat belt wasn't enough to save my mom. She bled out while they were using the Jaws of Life, and since I was inside her, I died too.

The paramedics couldn't do anything for my mom, but they thought I deserved a chance. They cut me out, right there in the intersection, in the middle of the pouring rain. I was blue, but they wouldn't give up. A bunch of tiny puffs of air later, I finally gave my first cry. A true wail of angst.

The nurses said they should call me Lucky. Gran said, "What's lucky about coming into the world with your parents already dead?" So she named me after the reason for my sad situation. The name my nineteen-year-old mother joked about on the phone with her, before she left for the hospital.

She named me Rain.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

I really loved this. I was hooked at the first line and even though it was backstory, it was interesting backstory and it was short (I'm assuming the "real" story begins after the last line here) so you still had my attention. Good job. :)

Weronika Janczuk said...

Agreed with Anonymous on all notes.

Yes, the story should start right off the bat, and be absolutely certain you need this to get the story moving. It might fit better later on.

L.J. Boldyrev said...

Usually, back story slows things down, but this is interesting and well written and I want to know what happened. It caught my attention and held it.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I personally like the backstory. It's brief, concise, and leads perfectly into that last line. I'm definitely 'hooked' and would keep reading, perhaps even buy the book if I had no time for further perusal. :D Fantastic job!

Jessica Kennedy said...

How tragic!

I instantly felt compassion for Rain and her deceased parents. I love that she endured and came back to life. How cool, yet sad.

I want her to prevail. I hope she does. ;)

Selestial said...

I like this. I agree with people above about the backstory -- this works. And since it's paranormal, the fact that she "knows" all this will probably come into play later. I'd definitely keep reading.

Love the name Rain, btw.

M said...

I wasn't sure about this in the beginning, because I thought it was going to be another dead-girl-speaks-from-beyond-the-grave protag.

But then I read on.

And when I got to the end, I got goosebumps.

Love it. So hooked.

Tatum said...

I love this. I'm hooked. I think it is because in just 250 words, you have made me truly care about your character. Let it Rain.

Barbara said...

I'm hooked. The voice and the writing reeled me in.

I did picture her parents running when you said 'raced' in the 2nd sentence. It wasn't until I saw 'highway' that I thought 'driving.' Perhaps say - My parents' car raced?

You might also start the last parg with - At the hospital - because there wouldn't have been any nurses at the accident scene.

All in all, a nice start!

JayceeKaycee said...

Wow. Fantastic. I love it. I think the way you started with backstory, in your case, is the exception to the rule. I want to keep reading! I also want to find out what makes this story paranormal. Great job.

Anonymous said...

I'd want to change "angst" to "anguish" simply because I associate angst to emo teenagers and 1990s-era Alanis Morissette.

But, I'd buy this book based on these 250 words alone. I'm eager to read on. This is my favorite of the 50 entries.

Ant said...

Great job. Paranormal isn't really my thing, generally, but I think I'd keep reading after this great opening. I agree with the others that this one starting with backstory is truly the exception to the rule. Nice work!

Kristi Helvig said...

I love the backstory used in this case. It's the perfect set-up to whatever happens next. Of course, I know what happens next so I can vouch that the beginning is perfect for it! :)

Michael G-G said...

Thanks for sharing your work in such a public forum. That takes guts.

My comments are just a quick impression, as if I were browsing in a bookstore.

This is tricky, because the writing is assuredly good: well-paced, with good word choices.

But... I felt a little tricked by where the opening line (which is great, by the way)leads. She didn't really die because she was able to be resuscitated. Also, although I like the Grandma refusing to call the child Lucky, I question why she would name her after "the reason for my sad situation." I guess this hesitation comes because I don't know the Grandma yet and the kind of person she is.

That said, you are definitely someone who writes with assurance and I would read on to see what you would do next!

Sara J. Henry said...

Love it. No reservations. I would keep eagerly reading.

Secret Agent said...

I feel so weird commenting after everyone else, maybe I should stop reading what they have to say. But I agree, again.

Very compelling, I would definitely keep reading!

Tere Kirkland said...

Great writing on top of an intriguing premise. I'd definitely keep reading.

Way to go. I think this is my favorite, too, but I love YA paranormal, so I might be biased.

inkspatters said...

I would definitely keep reading on this one :D

Alexa said...

I adore this, I'd read on. Excellent job!

Gretchen said...

I'd keep reading. Nice work.

Gretchen said...

Oops, one thing I meant to say. Most newborns are sort of "blue". Maybe there's something more you could add.

Christine said...

I love this. Your first line was awesome and I found myself wanting more after the last line was read and done. Great work!

Conda V. Douglas said...

Excellent beginning, a real grabber. I wanted to keep reading.

Trish said...

It hooked me for sure and I love the last sentence.

Fantastic.

Marewolf said...

I love this. I saw that you submitted the first line in the last contest thingy (the first 25 words one)and I wanted to read more then. I was very excited to see it here! It's very sad, but compelling. I definitely want to read more.

Jay said...

No doubt I would read on. The opening sentence is such a grabber, as is the whole compelling story. I mean - this all seems like back story, because I assume the story will be about Rain, not her parents. However, it's so well written and emotional!

Erica75 said...

Yep, this one is great. And an infant born dead would indeed be blue. Love it all.