Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April Secret Agent #7

TITLE: The Blues
GENRE: YA Contemporary Mystery

Thursday Morning 6:45 AM

Henry Knight was found bludgeoned to death early this morning.

I'm pretty sure I was w******* *** to one of those p**** s** commercials at the same moment that someone bashed his head in. I don't know if anyone is going to miss him. Hell, I don't know if anyone even remembers who he is. Maybe David Warren does. Especially since he's our friendly neighborhood drug dealer. I know I remember Henry. He's my best friend's number one customer at school. Henry's the main reason Kyle was able to buy me that badass skateboard for my birthday.

"Who is this kid?" Ma points to the TV.

I slurp up another spoonful of my Cocoa Krispies and shrug.

"You know him, Blake. You know everyone at that school. There's only like twelve of you in a classroom."

"He's just some druggie, Ma. I don't talk to him or anything."

"But you know him?"

I nod.

"Oh my God. Blake." Ma watches me for a moment and I shift my eyes back to the TV.

"Do you want to stay at home today?"

I shake my head.

Ma sighs as she buckles her belt around her waist. It barely makes it to the very last hole but she manages to get it around her. She really needs to lay off the late night snacks. Of course I would never
tell her this. I mean, she's allowed to gain weight right now.


  1. I really liked the voice in this entry. Kind of gritty, but obnoxiously funny at the same time.

  2. You've got a good voice, but I had some trouble following this. He starts out by saying no one would know Henry or remember him except a drug dealer, but then he says he knows him and so would his best friend. So is his best friend a drug dealer? I think you could clear it up a bit and not lose too much. Less is more and all that.
    Good luck!

  3. I, too, was a bit confused about whether or not his best friend was also the drug dealer. Had to go back and re-read a few times.
    That said, the voice is great in this. Also, now i want cocoa krispies. For me, once the dialogue starts is when the story really hooks me. good job!

  4. I thought you did a nice job showing us the world your MC lives in, without explaining it, but I was looking for some kind of reaction from your MC. Not necessarily an OMG! reaction but something that showed his character. Well it was only a matter of time, probably didn't pay his drug dealer, some kind of callous remark. I also wondered if Henry's death was just an event that happened, or if it is the thing that sets everything else in motion.

    I wasn't sure if David Warren, the friendly neighborhood drug dealer was the same person as the MC's drug dealer friend.

    You might also want to look at your tenses. Since henry is dead, the MC should be using past tense when referring to him - nobody even remembered who he WAS, since he no longer IS.

    I thought it has promise, but as is, it wasn't strong enough to pull me in.

  5. The second paragraph was a little confusing and longer than it needed to be. I did catch the tense confusion that Barbara mentioned. Nice voice.

  6. The first paragraph confused me. Are there two drug dealers, David and Kyle?

    I liked the dialogue and I like the MC's voice, but wouldn't he have had some sort of reaction to the guy's death? Even if only to himself?

    That said, I would read more to see where it went.

  7. Good voice. I'm hooked.

  8. Good voice. I had some trouble following what was going on. Are there two drug dealers? Is the MC one, too, or is he just friends with him? In the last paragraph, I think you want "first hole." when I put on a belt, the first one I come to when I'm putting it on is the first one. When I read last, I thought she was way skinny, and it didn't make sense. I know, totally weird thing to notice. I'd also like a bit more reaction--or clarity that he's this cynically distant--because it seems way jaded for a kid his age. Maybe he can perform that indifference, but internally I don't know that he'd be that stable. Death really unsettles young people, even if they're not immediately connected to it. If it's shock, I'd get that too, but I'd like it to be more clear. I'd read more.

  9. I like this, it's grittier than normal which interested me. The only problem I have is that you have charcacter soup at the beginning - do you have to mention David Warren by name? Can't you just say a drugs dealer? If you take him out then we're only trying to keep track of the MC, his mother, his best friend and the dead guy, which is plenty already.

    Also I agree that he should have *some* kind of reaction to hearing about his murder, even if it is a callous one.

    I'd read on though.

  10. If this first line is from the TV, you need to italicize it or put quotes around it as I immediately wondered who was saying it. Also, you might want to consider changing the time frame as they don't generally release a victim's name in the media for 24 hours (which means 2-3 hours is too soon, especially if he's a minor!)

    Also, you don't call your best friend "my best friend" in your own head. He's just Kyle. If you need to tell us how he knows him, make him tell his Mom this.

    And I agree with the other comments about no one knowing who he is. If there are 12 people in his class, they probably know every single detail about him.

  11. I agree with Holly about putting the headline regarding Henry's death in italics.

    I love this voice and tone. It's a gruff and rough around the edges. I like how clipped the dialogue is and it definitely has the Noir influence.

    I think David Warren may not be relevant... yet. His presence makes this a bit confusing and if this read something like "I know I remember Henry. He's Kyle's number one customer at school. Henry's the main reason Kyle was able to buy me that badass skateboard for my birthday." I would have been all over it. And, any momentary confusion would be cleared up later when Blake says that Henry was just some druggie. Nothing would be lost in the revision.

    Lastly, there's a discrepancy here. I would buy that no body remembers Henry if he'd stopped going to school (and that's what I had assumed) but that's negated when Blake mentions Henry is Kyle's #1 school customer. So, either people have to remember him, Henry needs to be a drop-out, or the idea that Henry is a loser with no friends or prospects (which is, I think, what Blake was getting at) needs to be expressed differently.

    I think it'd be relatively easy to tighten this up into something fantastic, and then, I'd definitely read more.