Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May Secret Agent #29


Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Blood and guts, trees and dirt, cover the outside of the dome. We factored it all in -- every possibility. But acknowledging the possible reality is different from accepting it. We watched it come. Monitored it. Saw its descent. So close to us. Too close. We were unsure if even we, within the biodome, would survive the strike. "Terrifying" does not come near to the actuality. (Words fail.) We've lost all communication. To our knowledge, we three-hundred-forty-seven are the only human survivors on Earth. Can it be? Maybe some other domes held? This was only one possibility. We scientists were the control group -- not meant to be the only living humans. No one wants to leave their assigned apartments. None dares raise their eyes to the blackness above that was once clear blue skies. It's hard to breathe.


Year 73:Friday:Day 43

Happy Birthday to us!

Recognize your journal from way back 74 yrs ago, Great-grandmother? Even though you're recycled now, it's like we're Time Sisters. Because we share the same birthday. And journal. You were born on October 10, 2008. And I was born on Year 59:Day 29. And we have the same-ish name. You were my age when you wrote in this. And Mom gave it to me. To ME. We also share the same birthday. (Already wrote that.) And it's my inheritance, even if Mom and Grandmom chose not to write in it. And now this is MINE! Well... ours.


  1. Ok, it took me a second to understand this. Now I think I get it. The first paragraph was written by the MC's grandmother, and then from the word "Hi" on, the MC is writing. I think this just needs to be made a little bit clearer because I didn't get it at first (though maybe others will). Now that I understand, I do love how different the two voices are, and I like seeing the MC's excitement over receiving the journal, but it did feel a little like information overload when, after mentioning one date ("Tuesday, September 13, 2022") you mentioned "Year 73: Friday: Day 43", "74 years ago" "October 10, 2008", and "Year 59:Day 29"...I would say to maybe lose one of these dates or space them out a bit more because my eyes started to skim seeing so many numbers.

    Otherwise, I do love the premise and I would read a bit further to see what the MC has to say and how it compares to her grandmother's entries (or was that one entry the only one her grandmother wrote?)

  2. I also really liked how the two voices were distinct. I'd assume the second voice was the *main* main character, just because it feels more modern and "right here." The only thing that throws me is the "hi," like maybe it should be after that second date, to make it clearer who is writing it.

  3. Great premise! I'm hooked, wondering what on earth happened to earth! Liked the two voices. Agree with Rose that "Hi" needs to be under the date, but other than that, I'm ready to read more!

  4. Really got spooked with this but feel some hope already. I'd read on.
    I was confused--but that 's never stopped me from reading something I'm curious about--good luck!

  5. Love the first para! Dying to know what happened to Earth.

    I'd just get rid of the 'Hi', I don't know what it's doing there. I'm not sure how much I like the voice in the 2nd para, it sounds a bit babyish, more like MG than YA, but that might just be my taste.

  6. I love the first paragraph. It's suspenseful, it is informative without being an info dump, and it really sets the tone. I like the premise of the story this paragraph seems to go with, and I would definitely read on because of it. (I'm not a huge fan of your first sentence; to me, it reads a bit awkwardly, and I'm not generally a fan of things that begin with gory things like blood and guts. However, it does get the point across very quickly, so it's your call.)

    Saying that the scientists were supposed to be the "control group" makes it sound like this is some sort of experiment, but the actual event (with details about the impact of something devastating) sounds like it's closer to a natural disaster. You might want to be a bit clearer on which one it is.

    In any case, I loved the first paragraph.

    Then I got to the second paragraph, which was so different. I'm going to agree with Girl Friday--the second paragraph seems very young for a YA novel. Just going off of what is written, I would guess that the MC's age is around 11. My guess was that you were going for a contrast between the maturity of the first paragraph and immaturity in the second paragraph, but I think it's a little bit too much.

    Quick note: I'm pretty sure it ought to be "Happy birthday to us", not "Happy Birthday to us".

    Anyway, I was really interested in the first paragraph, but I think you need a better second paragraph to maintain that tension and the hook.

  7. The opening journal oh, we may be the last survivors on the planet seems cliche-ish to me - and the second part just confused the heck out of me.

  8. Ooo, I love the idea of the shared journal. That really jumped out at me!
    I also liked the 'snap' in some of your passages, especially the first paragraph. Good job!

  9. I really liked G'ma's journal. The last survivors on earth is a bit cliche, but it's where you take it that matters, and I'm willing to wait and see.

    The modern diary entry caught me off guard because of the contrast in voice, but I think that's a good thing. It takes us from what was, to what is, and it immediately implies people have survived and things are much better now.

    But, that was also an issue for me. Things are better. The entry is light and happy, and if this is the world I'm in now, there doesn't seem to be any problem. It didn't make me want to read on.

    I would though, because of the concept of the dual diaries. I love the idea. But where you took it would be the deciding factor. So, curiosity about the presentation style would keep me reading. The story line (I don't see one yet) wouldn't.

    And the second voice does sound MG.
    And 'none dares' should be 'none dare'

  10. I didn't like this. Everything seems contrived to establish the setting. It's all telling. You have one paragraph about the past and one about the MC and her situation. The whole thing is backstory.

    Plus, the great grandmother's voice isn't appropriate. She's 14 according to her birthday. Way too young to be a scientist and way too young for the perspective she's offering. I don't know what happens in the rest of the story, but if her age doesn't play a big role, I'd make her birthday earlier so it reflects her voice and her situation. Also, I agree with the previous comments that the current MC's voice is too young. Her paragraph sounds like MG, not YA.

    Thanks for sharing. Good luck!

  11. What I liked: The voice in the journal section, and how distinct it was from the first voice.

    What needed work: I appreciate what the author is going for with the herky jerky sentence structure in section one, and feel it could work if done with more restraint. As written, it felt far too staccato, and became difficult to read.

    Also, GIGANTIC info dump right up front. This is YA sci-fi, right? Take some time to set this world up; it doesn’t need to all be told in the first paragraph.

    Would I read on based on this sample? No, unfortunately.

  12. I'm intrigued by the idea of this, but I think you need a different approach to the opening. Maybe something that lets us know that she's reading this (very special) journal for the first time, something maybe she's wanted to do, or was sprung on her in surprise...and then bring us to the journal entry. Otherwise I feel like we've started in one time and were whipped away to another. But it sounds like a very cool idea...!

    Best of Luck!

  13. I agree 'hi' needs to be under the second date. It's way too confusing otherwise. Also, I had the same thought as Barbara - the second entry kind of kills the tension in the first one, as it becomes obvious that the Grandmother survives long enough to have a child, and society must keep going too. The voice in the second one doesn't hint at anything wrong either, though the different dates show that society has undergone some serious changes.

    I think you could cut a few sentences from the second journal entry, everything after "Mom gave it to me." The rest seems a bit babbly and I'm curious to know more about your MC and why we should be interested in her story. At this point, the Grandmother's story sounds far more interesting.

    I would read on, because after thinking about it, I can see the interest in reading about someone living through a massive change in Earth society, and also reading about someone who lives in the society after it has changed. But I'd like a hint on the first page, or at least pretty soon, of what the conflict is for the granddaughter.