Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March Secret Agent #25

TITLE: DEATH LESSONS
GENRE: YA Paranormal

"But this isn't your kind of party, Mason."

New town, new school, new start; all I needed now was to get in with the right crowd, and that was going to be with kids across the street behind the huge iron gate.

"What you mean, not my kind of party?" I asked. "You brought us all the way out here, and you have an invite."

Ann peered over the Jeep's steering wheel. She pointed across the street, through the gate, past the guardhouse, and down a long, winding driveway to where a brightly lit mansion was barely visible from the main road.

"I brought us out here so you'd know your place."

Ouch. Subtle. She wanted to show me the box of pretty toys then tell me I couldn't play with them. She'd do same thing when we were little. My answer back then was eating an entire bag of Halloween candy and throwing up all over her mom's dining room table.

My dad was a soldier. He believed that bad luck, serendipity, misfortune, karma, whatever you called it, was the result of choices, yours and others. To him there was no random, and fate was just some complicated combination of all-the-above. Wanted greatness? Go grab it. And I agreed.

So here I was, making my own future. Carpe Diem. Fortune favors the bold. With her eyebrows up, head ever-so-slightly forward, and lips pressed together, Ann gave me her usual 'Mason-I-told-you-so' look.

"Screw that," I said. "I want in."

12 comments:

  1. I'm not a huge fan of starting with dialogue, especially when it's completely unattributed. Other than that, I like the way you're setting this up. And I love his last line. The re-write seems like it worked out for you ;-)

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  2. I like how this is going.

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  3. I am a fan of opening with dialogue. I like the way it jumps you right into the scene. A little too much of Mason's history for an intro, but you definitely set the scene and with a few strokes give us a good sense of Mason's personality.

    I like it!

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  4. I got a sense of both characters' personalities right from the start. A great start.

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  5. I too don't mind dialogue but I wish it had a tag attached 'she said' or something. I like to know who/what is talking. I'm with Mason, I want in too! :)

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  6. Opening with dialogue doesn't bother me either. I like Mason's voice and personality and would read on to see what happens.

    You're missing a word in his reply though, should read "What *do* you mean".

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  7. Interesting. I like it. I wasn't quite sure if these guys were siblings at first, but I caught up. I don't know if you want to handle that w/a dialogue tag or not. I think this starts very well~

    Best, :o)

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  8. Great voice - I like the use of first person and I feel the dialogue sets things up well for characterization.

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  9. I do like Mason's voice, but I think starting with a "but" throws me off a bit. It seems as if we dropped right into the middle of conversation, and I'm left wondering what happened before we got there. I eventually caught up, but why start with a "but" in the first place?

    Also, although I'm guessing Mason is a female, the gender is ambiguous.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  10. The first line of dialogue doesn't bother me either. Some people really have a problem with it as I discovered with my ms, but sometimes it works - yours does.

    I am confused about how Mason is in a new town and going to a new school but has the same childhood friend. Maybe this is answered soon after this excerpt?

    I'm intrigued.

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  11. I liked how you threw us right in the middle of things. And in one sentence in that 2nd parg. you clued us in on the whole backstory. It's done and over with and we get on with the story.

    I did wonder how she manages to still be hanging out with her best friend from before the move, and how that best friend just happens to be friends with the new people she wants to know. If they were best friends, wouldn't she have met the kids behind the gate already? There seems to be a logic issue here.

    It also seems strange that her best friend would take her along to a party, and then tell her it wasn't for her when they got there - another logic issue? Maybe smooth out those issues?

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  12. Who is Ann to Mason? I, like others, are assuming sister, but if she's a new friend, she wouldn't necessarily know him well enough to say it's not his kind of party. But he says "my dad," not "our dad." This doesn't quite add up. But also, Ann drove them out there, and has an invite, but isn't going to the party either? Or is she going to leave Mason in the car all night? That's confusing. Lastly, Ann is COLD! Telling someone they need to know their place is a huge insult. Why is Mason friends with her. I'd read more just to find out what the stakes of the story are, but I'm starting out unmoored as to who these characters really are.

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