Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April Secret Agent #2

TITLE: Glimpse of Another Shore
GENRE: YA Fantasy

There should've been a party for my brother. Or at least a good-bye gift. It should be a big deal when you ship off to war.

Instead, Mom looked up from the fish net she repaired and said, "Try not to get killed."

Tidus laughed, of course. He always laughed at everything. I didn't understand how he could be so happy all the time. Of course, he was off to the navy to fight the Resties. I guess we couldn't all be so lucky.

Nemmy rushed across the kitchen to Tidus and grabbed him around the waist. Tidus rubbed her head and returned her squeeze. The evening sun spilled around them and turned them into silhouettes.

"Don't worry," he told her. "With me on board the war is sure to end soon."

Tears pooled in her eyes before she released him and ran to her room, her bare feet thudding on the wood floors. Tidus's smile faltered as he watched her go. He turned to me.

"Take care of her, will you, Bro?" he asked.

"Someone has to." I glanced at Mom.

Tidus followed my gaze. "Take care of her, too. She needs you more than she lets on."

"I wish I could go with you." I'd said it so many times before, Tidus had to be sick of hearing it, but I couldn't help myself. I would've given almost anything to trade places with him.

"No you don't, Pier." He leaned against the door jamb. "This is a war."


  1. I would keep reading just to find out who the 'resties' are. I'm also curious already about the Mother's character.

    Perhaps change 'Mom looked up from the fish net she repaired' to 'was repairing' or something, it doesn't seem to flow as well as the rest.

    I like the evening sun line a lot, I can see the two of them quite clearly in my mind :)

  2. I'm only confused about where they are exactly. At first I thought outside, but the wood floors say inside...
    Regardless, I'd keep reading to see where this was going. Pier's feelings draw me in.

  3. I like the idea that going off to war is something the MC envies in his brother, and I'd be curious to find out who the Resties are and what the war is about.

  4. I agree with tanyamaikai, you might want to set the scene a little more. Where exactly are they? You say they're in the kitchen but then the evening sun made it a little confusing. Maybe say that the evening sun spilled around them through the window and turned...

    I would keep reading.

  5. This has a bit of a slow opening, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but I'm not seeing a hook. It starts out with a typical boy going off to war and the family is fearful for his life, but as we read on, it seems that may not be the case. Going off to this war may be a good thing (We should all be so lucky)and Pier seems envious. And then at the end, it could go either way. Pier wishes he could take his brother's place because he'd be willing to sacrifice himself for his brother, or his brother is going have such fun and adventure, Pier wishes he could be in his place.

    So for me, it was kind of ambiguous. I'm not sure of where you're taking it. Perhaps give us more of Pier's feelings and emotions to make the situation, and what he thinks about it, clearer.

  6. Overall, I really like this. I think the mother being cold is a different situation than we usually see in a going off to war scenario.

    One thing I noticed though is that "He turned to me." after the sister runs off seems to interrupt the flow. I'd take it out for that and because I think it's actually more poignant to imagine him saying that to his brother while continuing to watch his sister after she's gone.

  7. I'm hooked. Great opening, very compelling. I'm intrigued by Mom and curious about the Resties. Add more sensory detail to make the kitchen scene more visual, but I'd definitely keep reading.

  8. You start off very well, then somewhere about Nemmy rushing across the kitchen you lose me. It somehow interrupts the flow.

  9. Interesting. I'm left wondering how old Tidus is and find his story more compelling than Nimmy, who's the protagonist. Fantasy is tough stuff. I'm left with a bit of mystery, wondering if Nimmy is going to try and follow his brother.

  10. I liked the opening sentence quite a bit. It was well-executed, declarative and funny, but I don't see a real "hook" here. The basic: a younger brother wants to join the Navy like his older brother, isn't something that stands out. And while I am curious about where they are, what they are, what time they are in, that curiosity alone is not enough to grab me. Ultimately, the protagonist (the narrator, I assume) seems more and more passionless as this scene progresses, and I find I don't entirely believe him when he says he wants to go to war. I encourage to focus a little more on developing pier's voice and a little less on demonstrating how his family feels. Though, I must say, I'm very fond of the mother already.

  11. I also thought this was going to be a "typical" war story set-up. It was a nice change to see that the mother had a different viewpoint than most...makes me wonder why she's like this.

    It's difficult to put a lot of time/place in such a short opening, but this made me want to know more about the world they live in and just what this war is all about.

  12. In the first sentence, change 'It should be...' to 'It should've been...'

    'she repaired' needs to be 'she was repairing' or 'she'd repaired'

    It wasn't clear to me if the MC was worried about his brother or jealous of him. I think it's probably both, but it feels contradictory the way it's presented here and keeps me from really being in his head. Maybe just establish one emotion here and introduce the other later in the scene.

    I would've liked you to clarify that Nemmy was their little sister right away. At first, I thought she might've been his girlfriend.

    I think this scene could be tightened overall. It's a little slow and nothing much has happened to make me feel like I have to read on.

  13. meant first paragraph, not first sentence

  14. I really liked this -- would like to read the rest because of the relationships you've set up.

  15. Hmmm, I don't mind that there's not a huge hook here because I like the characters and writing. I'd definitely read on.

    You need to change 'repaired' for 'was repairing' at the beginning and it may just be me, but 'pooled' pulled me out of the story a bit, it just didn't seem like the right word, I think something plainer would be better.

  16. I'd like a hint of something unusual here, in addition to the names. Otherwise this could be any war in the history of the world. Good start, but a little prosaic.

  17. I loved your first few paragraphs, particularly the mother's reaction. The rest of it wasn't as interesting because the sister and brother not going displayed fairly typical reactions. I'd probably read on but I'd prefer a bit more of a hook. As it stands, it seems like we're going to be watching the less-interesting brother.