Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April Secret Agent #18

TITLE: Insight
GENRE: YA paranormal

"You tired, Micah?" Mom asks as she steps out of the bathroom.

She navigates slowly through the dim light to sit on my bed. Even her strawberry shampoo can't mask the smell of stale cigarettes in our room.

"Yeah." Sorting and cleaning our apartment has numbed my brain and body. Staying in a cheap hotel while we do it hasn't helped.

She leans forward to give me a hug like she does every night. She's the only person I don't flinch away from. The only one that feels safe for me to touch. I never know what I'll see when I brush against someone or shake their hand. But from Mom I see and feel the same thing. Every time. I see me. She's my one constant in the mass of images and emotions I'm hit with every day.

"At least it's over, right?" She chuckles, leans forward and put her arms around my shoulders.

I suck in a breath, and I swear my heart stops. I see through her eyes, as always, but the picture's all wrong. A man, short cut hair, a non-descript brown with grey at the temples. Warm, kind eyes, a friendly smile on the corners of his mouth. She likes him. A lot.

It's not me.

This can't be happening. Mom's my safe place. Home's my safe place. And now, with one picture, it's gone. It takes every ounce of willpower not to jerk away. My heart is frantic, beating desperately against my ribs.


  1. The part about Micah being able to see things is interesting, but the rest of it doesn't grab my attention.

    They're in a hotel room because they're sorting and cleaning their apartment . . . not sure why they had to move out to get it done.

    I'm not sure if Micah is male or female at this point either, but the way this reads to me Micah seems male.

    There are too many unknowns that keep me from connecting with the character and story. I know you can't give all the info in the beginning, but I want more action and excitement or higher stakes to keep me interested. Right now, there are two people in a hotel room and one of them can see things. Interesting, but not "hooky" enough for me.

  2. I like the idea of seeing, but the rest of the details do confuse me. I wondered why they were at a hotel, too. The "I see me" could be clarified a bit, too. The following sentence was a bit confusing, because I thought it was literal (which it seems tobe) but then the MC is "seeing" emotions too.

  3. I think Joan has pretty much said it all. Perhaps fill us in on what they are cleaning up from. It must have been major if they had to move out. And what does your MCs talent have to do with it? How are they connected? Are they connected? And what about this new guy. Wouldnt your MC have 'seen' him earlier if Mom's been seeing him awhile?

    You might also want to consider having your MC do something rather than laying in bed. Add some action or movement to the piece.

  4. I've tried not to read previous comments but I couldn't help it here. I'm afraid I don't have much to add. I would read on because the 'seeing' premise interests me but I would want there to be a good reason why they're in that motel room.

    Also, is Micah a boy?

  5. I agree with the other comments, interesting premise but a little confusing. I like the name Micah for a girl : )

  6. I have to say that I'm hooked, and I'm not a gal that enjoys first person POVs. Yes there are questions raised, what are they cleaning in their apartment, why does it mean they have to stay in a hotel, but I can think of a million things that would make a person have to vacate to get work done so that doesn't throw me off one bit. I personally think that particular detail would be a "who cares" moment so early on. Now, if an explanation isn't provided some time here soon, then it becomes problematic, but as of this blurb, I don't need it.

    What I am wondering is why the picture of this man in his/her mother's head upsets Micah so much. Is it because Micah is used to being the center of mom's world and thoughts? Because, unless mom is envisioning murders or something, I don't get why such a friendly vision would be problematic.

    All in all, wanna read more.

  7. Despite some confusion about why they're in the hotel (which I assume will be cleared up in the coming page or so, I really like this. It makes perfect sense to me that the MC would be thrown by seeing something different when he touches his mother. You've set up that she's his one constant in a world of too much info. i can see this going several ways and I'd definitely read more.

  8. I sense something very interesting here, but maybe it's my own imagination. Is the narrator a boy who thinks he's working with his mom in the hotel, but when he sees himself through her eyes, he discovers he's actually an older man also named Micah? His dad, maybe?

    Or is he actually older than he thinks he is (gray hair)?

    It's confusing but intriguing.

  9. Love it, love it, LOVE IT. More, please. (And I wasn't confused.)

  10. I like this concept. The writing is well-done. I am so close to being hooked, but I feel like there's a bit too much withholding happening here and it results in 60% confusion and 40% intrigue.

    I would never encourage you to simply "explain" (as always, Show Not Tell) but there's too much about Micha's talents that are unclear.

    What exactly are these things she "sees?" Are they premonitions, visions, present thoughts of whoever she touches?

    I assume it's the latter. What I'm gleaning from this is: Micha is okay with touching her mother because her mother is always thinking of her. That's why Micha sees herself every time she touches her mother.

    But admittedly, that conclusion took a bit too much effort to reach. And, I don't even know if I am right.

    With just a touch more clarity, I think this would be totally appealing.

  11. Interesting enough to read on, but something about the writing is keeping me from being completely drawn in. Probably some small edits/clarifications would take care of it.

    Is Micah a boy or a girl? The name makes me think boy, but the writing sounds like a girl.

    You have "She leans forward to give me a hug" and in the next paragraph "She chuckles, leans forward and put her arms around my shoulders."--Change the first one so it doesn't sound like the hug is already happening.

    I would've liked to know they were in a hotel from the very first sentence--maybe say 'cheap hotel bathroom.'

  12. Uh, I assumed Micah was a boy, since it's a boy's name.