Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July Secret Agent #6

TITLE: Hybrid
GENRE: Young Adult

Adie and I were born into the same body, our souls' ghostly fingers entwined before we gasped our very first breath. Our first few years together were our happiest. Then came the worries--the tightness around our parents' mouths, the frowns lining our kindergarden teacher's forehead, the question everyone whispered when they thought we couldn't hear.

Why aren't they settling?

Settling.

We tried to form the word in our five-year-old mouth, tasting it on our tongue.

Set--Tull--Ling.

We knew what it meant. Kind of. It meant...it meant one of us was supposed to take control. It meant one of us was supposed to fade away. I know now that it means much, much more than that. But at five, Adie and I were still innocent, still oblivious.

By first grade, the varnish of innocence began to fade. Our gray-haired guidance counselor made the first scratch.

"You know, dear, settling isn't scary," she'd say as we watched her thin, lipstick-reddened mouth. "Not scary at all. It might seem like it now, but it happens to everyone. And there's absolutely no shame in playing either role."

She never hinted at who she thought was destined for which part, but she didn't need to. By first grade, everyone believed Adie was the dominant soul. She'd move us left when I wanted to go right, refuse to open her mouth when I wanted to eat, cry No when I wanted so desperately to say Yes.

26 comments:

Meredith said...

Wow, what a great start. I love the premise, and your writing seems effortless. I really don't have anything negative or otherwise constructive to add. You've hooked me, and I would definitely read more!

mepurfield said...

I like what you have here too. I'm very interested to read on. I'm guessing these are Siamese twins? Well, I'll have to read on to find out :-)

Holly Bodger said...

I really like the concept but this is all backstory and you can't start with backstory. Try to start with the current action then work this in. Good luck!

Kat Zhang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JEN said...

Hooked, with a caveat. In some places, you write from separate POVs, others from both (using "we"). I'm not clear how MC can speak for Adie. Do they share senses but have different minds? Is it a split personality? I'd probably keep reading to see what's going on, but this opening doesn't seem fully thought through.

Rose Green said...

This one is interesting! Yes, it's backstory, but it's handled with good voice and hits only the important elements so you move quickly to where the action can start. Nice, tight language.

Sarah Anne Coe said...

Great concept! I think it hooks me so much because the emotional dilemma of having one soul fade away is immediately apparent. I have a million questions about how this "settling" thing works, which is great. I think that the backstory is okay as long as it stays interesting and you move into the "real" story very soon.

The only minor thing I would say is to put quotes instead of capitals for the "no" and "yes" on the very last line, because that tripped me up when I was reading.

therealtwinmom said...

Totally hooked. Not my favorite genre, but I'd definitely keep reading this one. Your writing is spot on, and the concept is very interesting. You really give the reader hints that this world works differently than our own but still have enough themes (identity, voice, doubling) to help us know exactly what is important here. Well done.

Carol Newman Cronin said...

Hooked for sure, even though I don't usually go in for serious fantasy... but this one I would keep reading! Nice job.

Penelope Wright said...

Ooh, I just love paranormal, and what a nice high concept idea you have here. The writing's good too. Would definitely read more.

Princess L said...

I love it! Very creative and original. The idea that the settling means the MC (who's telling us the story) is expected to "fade away" is very intriguing.
I wish we had more than 250 words here.

YA writer said...

even though it's telling, it's good and creative telling; hooked

Moni said...

Love the Set-Tull-Ling line!!
And I love the premise :D
I would definitely keep reading... but I would expect more things to develop in the moment, not like telling what has happened to the both MCs in their past...
Also, I'd keep an eye on the POV.
Good job!

Julia U said...

I like this. The contradiction creates conflict and it pushes me to want to read further. I'm curious how they solve their differences, and if one of them has to sacrifice.

Cheryl said...

Your backstory is intriguing - you have a good idea going on here - but there's no goal in this scene. Other than telling me a summary of her early years, the MC doesn't seem to have a purpose.

The goal doesn't have to be huge (it could be as simple as wanting to leave the guidance counselor's office), but, as a reader, I need to know the MC is planning on taking me somewhere (forward) into the story.

I really do like the premise though, and would probably read on to see where you take it.

Anonymous said...

This is fascinating.

I'm hooked.

bleeb said...

Oh, shoot, that anonymous one above is mine.

Vermilion said...

I like it. It's generally advised not to start with the backstory, but I believe some of those best-sellers out there often break the rules. And if it works for your story, why not? I think it works very well here. Good job.

Anonymous said...

Would LOVE to read more! Unique/interesting premise!

--JP

Vee said...

I'm totally hooked. And because I know what your story's about, the "We" didn't bother me at all :)

Good luck!

Tyson said...

Curious. Very curious indeed. The concept is unique and the writing has a very nice flow. I can find nothing wrong with it, and as such--though it is a quiet novel--I am intrigued by all that is implied.

One of the best YA entries thus far.

Hooked, lined and curious.

Secret Agent said...

I'm really liking this one. It's very compelling, and the voice grabs the reader right away. In just a few paragraphs, the author has managed to set up a very complex base for a story. Yeah, it's a lot of backstory (as others said), but that isn't enough to deter me from wanting to read more. Very nicely done!

Elena Patrick said...

I'm envious. This is so good. I would definitely read more.

evonne lack said...

This one is TERRIFIC and if you're looking for volunteers to read the whole thing, email me! (Otherwise, I'll read it after it's pubbed!)

Tara Maya said...

This is a fascinating premise.

Anonymous said...

Author here. I just have to say thank you to everyone for their feedback and enthusiasm for this beginning. I'm really glad you guys enjoyed it :)