Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May Secret Agent #28

TITLE: The Glass Prince
GENRE: YA Contemporary Fantasy

I woke Mom up with a sound she best described as a helium-sucking squirrel. Like clockwork, she threw on a furry robe and stumbled down to the kitchen to cook my favorite breakfast meal; Belgian waffles with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, burnt bacon and mint cocoa.

"Gonna let me help this year?" I offered.

"Nope. Shove off, birthday girl."

My guilt over this was fleeting. There was no other way to say it, really. I sucked at cooking. Give me a chocolate layer cake, or a peach pie, or a few sleeves of Thin Mints, though, and I'd snarf them down in no time flat. Competitive eating probably wasn't a great hobby for a seventeen-year-old girl. Luckily, I had my dad's fast metabolism or so Mom always told me.

I snatched a ripe berry before shuffling off to the living room to daydream of birthday presents and my party tonight. Wrapped in the blue-speckled afghan slung over the back of my favorite leather armchair, I closed my eyes and sucked in the smell of smoky bacon. My toes dug into the plush, mulberry-colored carpet and I let my body lax and my mind wander.

New clothes. Wait. Even better. Shane.

I'd fill my head with my delicious boyfriend forever if I could.

So when the vision hit, I half expected to open my eyes and see Shane right there smacking me in the forehead. Not that he would ever actually hit me.

11 comments:

Holly Bodger said...

A few things:
1) Your first paragraph is suffering from what I like to call "off-stage" actions. When does the mother say the main character sounds like a squirrel? The way you've written it, it's like it happened now and yet you don't say it did so you are leaving us to wonder what else we are missing here.
2) You need a better transition in between these lines: "There was no other way to say it, really. I sucked at cooking. Give me a chocolate layer cake..." What does sucking at cooking have to do with liking to eat? We need to see the connection here.
3) The order of this paragraph is off: "I snatched a ripe berry before shuffling off to the living room to daydream of birthday presents and my party tonight. Wrapped in the blue-speckled afghan slung over the back of my favorite leather armchair, I closed my eyes and sucked in the smell of smoky bacon. My toes dug into the plush, mulberry-colored carpet and I let my body lax and my mind wander." First she sits, then her toes dig, then she closes her eyes, then she daydreams. She can't daydream first and let her mind wander later after she sits.
4) This is personal pet peeve that may not bother other people but I wouldn't use "my delicious boyfriend" in her head. She knows he's her boyfriend. She doesn't need to tell herself this. If you want to show her thoughts of him, say something more specific that makes it obvious he is her boyfriend (ie, refer to his kisses or something).

Good luck!

Bekah Snow said...

When I read the first paragraph, I thought it sounded like her mom made that breakfast every, not just her "?" year birthday. I this birthday special for any reason? Also, I think that many teenagers aren't great at cooking, because plenty of them don't do it as often as an adult, if that makes sense. I think wonder, just an opinon since it is fantasy, if there's a first page or scene other than waking up that might give readers a hint into the fantasy to come? Good luck!

RLG said...

I like how your main inciting action starts within the first 250 words (the vision). That's great because we get a setting, we get a character, and we get action.

The one part that threw me out of the story a bit, though, was the paragraph starting with her grabbing a ripe berry. It felt a little too aware to be believable. If this is her house and she sees this stuff every day, she's not going to be contemplating the plush, mulberry-colored carpet.

Sara J. Henry said...

This needs a tiny edit to be quite good - some things to pay attention to:
*Should be colon after "meal," not semi-colon. *She woke Mom up by making a sound like a helium-sucking squirrel?
*Do you have "squirrel" and "furry robe" in close juxtaposition intentionally.
*"Like clockwork" usually implies something happening at a set time, so not sure it works here.
*I don't know what a "sleeve" of Thin Mints are, but maybe that's just me. (I know what Thin Mints are - my college roommate is still mad at me for finishing hers off, a LONG time ago.)
*Don't think you can let a body lax - it can relax or be lax, but lax is not a verb

You go overboard with adjectives in the fifth graf:
*ripe
*blue-speckled
*favorite leather
*smoky
*plush, mulberry-colored
(I'd limit the adjectives to the food descriptions here, and leave out the ones describing the room, which isn't central here)

Kate Larkindale said...

I like this, but I don't love it. I'd probably give it a page or two to hook me. As it stands, it feels a little self-conscious and over-done. People don't notice the color of their own carpet when they sit down; it's just carpet. When I think about my boyfriend, I use his name, not the fact he's my boyfriend.

The opening line kind of confused me because it's not clear she makes a noise like a squirrel.

The competitive eating though, I like that idea. I'd read on just for that.

AllieS said...

Interesting, but I'm also a little taken out by the beginning. I feel as though you could start right with the birthday preparations instead of waking up, and get to the vision sooner. Also, why would a teen feel guilty about letting her mom cook on her birthday? I'd probably read for a few more pages to see what the vision's about, though.

Laura said...

I really enjoyed the first three paragraphs. After that, it slowed down, got a bit disjointed, and had some technical problems. You used 'sucked' three times, and it took away from your great first line. Is she really a competitive eater? I thought she was joking.

Wrapped in the blue-speckled afghan slung over the back of my favorite leather armchair (How can she be wrapped in something that's slung over a chair? If she's slung over the chair, you need a comma...but how is a person slung over the back of a chair?), I closed my eyes and sucked in the smell of smoky bacon. My toes dug into the plush, mulberry-colored carpet and I let my body lax (relax) and my mind wander.

New clothes. Wait. Even better. Shane.
(This begins and ends as a list, but the two middle ones are her internal comments. It's confusing. For a second, I thought "Wait" was some new slang term for a present she hoped to get. The introduction of the boyfriend here feels forced. If he's her boyfriend, why does she need him to be a present?)

So when the vision hit, I half expected to open my eyes and see Shane right there smacking me in the forehead. (I don't get why she expected him to be there. He doesn't seem to have anything to do with her visions.)

I agree with AllieS that some descriptions could go in order to bring up the vision sooner, and I wouldn't mention the boyfriend or smacking--unless he has something to do with her visions. The mention of him feels out of place there.

Barbara said...

This was too slow of an opening for me. She wakes up and sits on the couch. And when she finally gets to the vision, we don't see it happening, we don't see it as it appears in her mind, we don't even see it coming on. We're just told - So when the vision hit - and in those five words it's come and gone and is over with.

The vision, I believe, was supposed to be your hook, and you didn't do anything with it. Make it a bigger moment. SHow it coming on, let us see how she experiences it, let us see it as she does. Make the reader a part of what is happening.

duwarr said...

The writing sometimes gets bogged down in the details. The MC does a lot of time remembering and thinking, but not much happens. I would like more action on the opening page and there should be a hook. There wasn't anything that made me want to keep reading, although I did like the competitive eating angle.

Thanks for sharing. Good luck!

Secret Agent said...

What I liked: Decent voice.

What needed work: A lot of it, unfortunately. The birthday girl is coming across as unlikable to me, what with her waking up her mom so she could slave over feeding her daughter. The opening lines failed to draw me in, and I’m sorry to say I wasn’t interested in getting to the fantasy elements.

Would I read on based on this sample? No.

Bron said...

Your opening didn't really hook me, but it did make me hungry (lucky I have some cheesecake to nibble on while critting). I don't think this is the best place to start. Your character does come across as a bit spoilt, though that was mitigated when I found out it was her birthday. But so many entries begin with someone waking up, and not much seems to happen here that's important. Even the vision - I'm not sure if she just has a really clear imagination or whether she's having an actual vision. I'd cut out a lot of the unnecessary description and get to the vision sooner, if you do think this is the best place to start.