Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September Secret Agent #10

TITLE: Unvisible
GENRE: YA paranormal

I hated this part.

The bell rang exactly four minutes and forty-eight seconds ago. Which meant I had twelve seconds to get through the next door. I was a hundred yards away, the hall was too crowded for me to run like a normal person, and with AP calculus, I had little hope someone would show up later than me to slip in behind.

Perfect attendance record, gone. Not that anybody would've given me a certificate.

I skidded toward the door. Closed, of course. Mrs. Harper always closed the door, like she worried someone would want to spy on her lesson. Not likely. Except, well, for me.

Eighteen days without a missed class. Not bad, but nowhere near last spring's stretch--forty-seven days--lots of art classes and two P.E.s. That's what I got for challenging myself this semester ... and drinking two cokes at lunch. I knew better than that.

I couldn't pick up Mrs. Harper's monotone through the thick walls, but stuck around for a few minutes anyway, hoping for a straggler. No luck.

Of course it was this hour I got stuck. The worst hour. The last hour before the seventeen I had to spend alone. Maybe I'd go out tonight. I peeked out the nearest window. It didn't look like rain. Probably safe.

Probably wasn't good enough. I'd have to check the weather forecast. I practically drowned last time. Ha ha. Drowning.

Nothing about it was funny though.

I hurried to the library.


  1. You got me. I wonder what this person is - why (s)he can't get through a closed door, why (s)he's going to be alone for 17 hours. i also found the contrast between art-and-gym classes one semester and calculus this one.
    I didn't especially like the calculations on how many days of straight attendance, but that may be just me, and it also may have bearing later.
    Good job!

  2. The voice is strong and I'm definitely wondering why the MC has the issues s/he has. So as a hook it works. The trick, I think, will be to reveal more details relatively quickly or else it will feel like a slight of hand, given the first person POV.
    But I would keep reading!

  3. Am I wrong, or is the main character "unvisible"? If I hadn't read the title of the book, I wouldn't have put that together. This whole first scene hinges on the fact that no one can see the main character, so I feel like there needs to be more of a hint about that right from the get-go.

    Also, the last couple paragraphs (when the character starts talking about rain) are a bit jarring. As a reader I've just gotten myself oriented in this new "world" and have to figure out the rain bit, too. Maybe save for later.

    I'm not a paranormal fan, but your first words caught my attention, AND I'd keep reading a bit to see where it goes.

  4. I liked this a lot. Great, original voice. I didn't catch on that the character is in some sort of altered state until I read the title. Still, I was hooked.

  5. The thoughts about the weather and drowning pulled me out of the story. I did enjoy the voice of the story and would read on.

  6. This seems a little... whipply... familiar.

    But anyway. I like the idea of this story overall, but the writing sometimes trips me up. The second sentence, for example, is ordered in a way that made me have to read it several times.

    How do you skid toward a door? That makes it sound purposeful, but skidding is the result of tripping or floundering. Rework.

    I don't think you need "I knew better than that" because it's explained in "That's what I got..."

    The seventh paragraph totally threw me. For some reason I thought it was her seventeenth birthday?! the first time I read through it. Or his. I also just realized I have no idea if this is a boy or a girl. Uh... Anyway.

    Otherwise, I like the little hints about how the character is invisible. I don't think you have to worry about increasing mention of it to your readers, because most readers I know do look at a title before they read the book. Thus, they'll have an idea of what to expect.

    :) Interesting! Hooked, despite some of the editing issues.

  7. I was a little confused about this... presuming the MC is invisible and we find out why he/she is uninvisible.
    I would like some hint as to if the MC is a boy or girl, though.
    I'm on the fence with this one.

  8. The narrator’s voice starts out strong, and remains consistent throughout the passage. I immediately believe this character. And felt interested.

    I assume, from the title, that the narrator’s dilemma is his or her inability to be seen, but this condition is not made clear in the passage. (That's okay, it's a short excerpt, but I want to know more soon).

    The story begins to really pique my interest with the paragraph that begins “Of course it was this hour I got stuck.” I would keep reading.

  9. There's a lot I like about this one, namely the conflicts the character has to deal with. I'm curious about how raining equals drowning, why they can't go through the door...

    I gather s/he's invisible, but that still makes me wonder about the rain. While I was content to let the mystery sit for the first 250 words, I'd start expecting a little more information pretty soon. There's a fine line between intrigue and frustration. Too often, I feel authors try to be coy for the sake of mystery; too often, it just frustrates.

    I didn't find the attendance thing particularly hooky. I liked that s/he was concerned about it, but the numbers... It makes sense with their desire to get into AP Calc, but it seemed a little too OCD.

  10. I love the premise. Is she a ghost, alive and invisible or three inches tall? I have to know. I didn't understand the part about lots of art classes and two P.Es. Are those the classes she tool last semester?

    I would definitely read more.

  11. I definitely would read on. Nice writing. I'm very intrigued.

  12. This one really caught my attention. At first I thought the MC was reluctant to enter class late, but then wondered if there was a physical reason he couldn't open the door. This is reinforced with the drowning bit. Makes me curious if he drowned for real.

    Clear voice. Intriguing setup. Hooked.

  13. I'm not hooked. I fell into the category Jodi talked about. Frustrated, rather than intrigued. I liked the premise of a kid who couldn't be seen, but there were just too many unexplained issues for me. Why 'this' hour? What's so special about it? Why does he need to spend 17 hours alone? What's so scary about rain?

    I don't mind waiting to find things out. Not knowing all the answers is what makes me read on. But reading on to find out why a MC is unvisible is legitimate. Reading on to find out what the story is about, or what you're talking about, is just the writer trying to withhold information. The reader should know what your MC knows.

  14. Good voice, a little conflict, but not enough.
    I'd read a little more, but something would have to happen story-wise to keep me interested.

  15. Great voice. Great start. I'd keep reading...and loved the "two cokes at lunch" comment.