Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July Secret Agent #6

GENRE: Young Adult Mystery

Her pink sneakers were found by the edge of the swamp, perfectly arranged with the laces still tied. It was the one detail of Paige's suicide that kept me awake most nights.

I plopped down next to the small gravestone, and brushed away a leaf that concealed her name. Muffling a sob, my fingers traced the letters: P-A-I-G-E.

I should've known better than to sit on the ground after a rainy week in Northern Michigan. The back of my jeans were already soaked from last night's storm.

But no one here cared what I looked like.

I came to talk to Paige. To tell her I missed her. To ask the same question. Now my fingers sketched the familiar word, W-H-Y, along the edges of the wet lawn.

The fist in my stomach unclenched as the whistling wind sifted through the branches of the surrounding willow trees. The sound had almost become a welcome visitor. And no doubt Paige's mom would've agreed. She arrived with a bouquet of white daisies and her daughter's favorite book of poems.

Mrs. Meyers sat on the black wrought-iron bench under the tangle of leaves that provided shade for Paige's grave. With a simple nod she read from the tattered pages.

Tilting my face to soak up the sun, I imagined Paige sitting next to me. Not that I believed Paige was there. Not really. But sometimes I felt her there. Like our knees were touching and her breath tickled the hairs on my arm.


  1. I love this. Beautiful imagery. Love the first two lines. I would definitely want to read more!

  2. I agree. The imagery is beautiful and well-developed. You definitely paint a picture of the mood here as well.

    The only thing I would have wanted is to know the gender of the MC....

  3. I found the first two lines really engaging, but found that there was a little too much sitting around without much development after that.

  4. It's really beautiful writing, but because the conflict feels slightly overlooked, this could almost exist as a really nice piece of flash fiction. I would emphasize how the MC doesn't truly believe it's a suicide a little more.

  5. Great opening lines! In two sentences, you build up the level of intrigue:
    Her pink sneakers were found by the edge of the swamp (curious...) perfectly arranged with the laces still tied (creepy!) It was the one detail of Paige's suicide that kept me awake most nights. (oh my is that sad...)

    It's enough to keep me reading for a while. I'm curious to see where this goes since you list it as "mystery" and not necessarily "paranormal." If it's more along the lines of your protagonist discovering the clues behind Paige's suicide, it makes me think of the AMC series "The Killing" and that's a very good comparison to have! Good luck!

  6. Okay, so seriously, I loved this! It made me think of Veronica Mars and what happened to Lily (although it could be totally different). This recommended it to me from the get, as did your awesome writing :) My favorite part was where she runs her fingers along the stone and how you spelled out P-A-I-G-E. Then in the next part where you parallel that with the question W-H-Y? I love, love, love that! It was so fraught with emotion. I'm not sure you need the part about the mother, though it did show us another person who cared/still cares about Paige. I might've just kept it personal, kept the moment btwn her and the MC, but this was really fantastic.
    Ninja Girl

  7. Great opening parg! You have me immediately thinking this is not really a suicide.

    It does fall a bit into wallowing after that. There's no more movement. We get that single moment of her wondering why, then she seems to get stuck in poor Paige mode. Perhaps allow her to go back to the why, maybe mention what supposedly led to the suicide or say how it shocked everyone, whatever the case might be. But I think she does need to move on.

    Just a few nits --

    Maybe cut P-A-I-G-E since you've already told us her name.

    You might cut pargs. 3 and 4 because they have nothing to do with anything, as well as the first three sentences of parg 5, because what you are stating there is already obvious.

  8. This sucked me right in with the shoes. As everyone else has said, love the imagery. You definitely set the mood. I would like some indication of the MC's gender also. I assume it is a girl, BFF type person, but it could just as easily be a boyfriend.

  9. I agree with most of the comments here--the imagery is wonderful right away. And you set the tone well, and I am sucked in.

    I would move it along more quickly, though. We can learn about Michigan later. I'm not sure we need Paige's mom at this point.

  10. This is one of my favorite openings of this batch - I would definitely read this.

    Grammar nitpick: "Muffling a sob, my fingers traced the letters..." Her(?) fingers aren't muffling a sob--she is--so I'd restructure this sentence.

  11. Yes, the fingers muffling a sob made me stop reading for a bit. Heh. But I think it's a good start!