Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July Secret Agent #31

TITLE: Blink
GENRE: YA Paranormal Romance

A hum of excitement buzzed through the school, and Sydnee knew why. A new ship had just pulled in, and the student body was about to double overnight.

She glanced around her first period chemistry class, noting the heavy makeup and skimpy clothes most of the girls wore today. She wondered idly how many of these girls would be pregnant within the month.

The chair to her right sat empty. This had been the one class where she hadn't been surrounded by a ring of vacant seats, but it looked like Kristen, her lab partner, wasn't going to show today. She'd seemed nice enough. There'd been no overt bitchiness.

Sydnee sighed. If only she'd waited an extra week to move in with her aunt, she could have blended in with the rest of the military brats who followed their parents from port to port. It would have been so much easier.

A dozen new students queued up by the teacher's podium. Bored, Sydnee laid her head on her desk and closed her eyes.

The she heard it, and gasped. Mandarin. She straightened up and peered curiously at the front of the classroom. A few of the new arrivals were speaking Mandarin to one another. And these weren't Asian kids; they looked as white bread American as she did. Based on the snippets of conversation she caught over the hum of the other students, they weren't any more jazzed about Bremerton High than she was.


  1. I like the way you write, and the part about the heavy makeup and what not, it reminds me of my high school, to tell you the truth. I like it! It sounds like a real teenager narating. I'm hooked!

  2. Quick question -- do the girls only wear skimpy clothes and heavy makeup when new students are coming? I was wondering because Sydnee notes the clothes and makeup most of the girls are wearing "today." If this is their usual attire, "today" isn't necessary.

    Otherwise, I'm hooked!


  3. I like your MC already.

    Two nitpicks:

    In the first sentence, "Sydnee knew why" is weak. Since we're in her POV and the next sentence tells us why, you don't have to tell us she knew why before you tell us why. Whoa, that's a convoluted sentence. Sorry, hopefully you know what I mean.

    Also, the first sentence of the last paragraph. She reacts before we know what she's reacting to. I know it's supposed to stretch out the suspense, but I feel like I've seen this sentence structure in everything I've read lately so I now roll my eyes when I read it. Just my opinion though.

  4. Your writing flows very nicely.

    I especially like the sentence about her wondering how many of the girls would be pregnant within the month. It shows us a lot about Sydnee's character as well as the character of her classmates all in just a few words.

    I also like the twist in the last para. We think we know where you're going, then bang, a surprising shift in direction.

    Nice work.

  5. I'm hooked. I'm really curious why she's into Mandarin (and these other kids too). The part about makeup and pregnancy sounded rather condescending, but if she's a condescending person, or otherwise entirely different from her peers, then that could work out later. Good job!

  6. The first paragraph opens with an interesting premise, but then the second paragraph has no relation to the first, and the third paragraph has no relation to the second. It all just seems like random thoughts.

    And if the ship had just pulled in, what are the new students doing there already? Wouldn't they be getting off the ship, getting settled into new homes, etc.

    I do wonder about the Mandarin bit, and think that's where your story lies, but I feel like I'm looking at a draft rather than the finished product. It's not strong enough to make me commit to it.

  7. While I'm curious about what's going on here, I don't feel quite grounded in this story. The main character seems distant, and she's bored. If the main character is bored, chances are the reader will be, too.

    I think you start too early. Nothing *actually* happens until the last paragraph, when new students walk in and she hears something she doesn't expect: Mandarin coming from an American.

  8. I have to tell you, the pregnancy line threw me. I couldn't tell if it was because Sydnee's character was judgmental, or because it was a clue to a larger part of the story line.

    I guess that all of the elements taken separately are intriguing enough, but when you combine the "pregnant" line (sorry I'm so stuck on that) with the Mandarin speaking white kids, and the vague setting, and by the end, I felt more lost than I felt intrigued.

  9. I am not sure I am hooked. It is an interesting opening, but I didn't like the protagonist. She sounded very condescending. Besides, if she is new at this school, shouldn't she be self-conscious or upset? Perhaps she is simply masking her self-consciousness behind those less kind emotions, but then I would like to see it.

  10. I enjoyed this submit.

    I didn't have any issues w/the pregnancy line, as anyone that knows anything about military ports / bases, knows that this is SO true!

    I think you've captured the teen voice well and I definitely like the twist w/the Mandarin, in the last paragraph.

    I would read more for sure. And I like where the setting is (Bremerton), since that's near my neck of the woods. :)

    Good luck w/the contest.

  11. I have the feeling I'd enjoy this story, but I did feel like I wasn't sure what the focus of it was.

    To make it clearer, you might try putting the name of the school in the first paragraph and also tell the reader a bit more about the ship and where it's pulling in. These details would have given me a more solid idea of the setting, right up front.