Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September Secret Agent #17

TITLE: Here Comes the Sun
GENRE: YA-Contemporary

I don't know much about flying. The last flight I went on was back when I was ten and forced to go to my great grandmother's funeral in Ohio. I say forced, because number one, I'd never met the woman before. I mean, I had heard about her. My mom was the epitome of a disappointment in her family, so of course I heard non-stop about the grouchy old witch who thought her granddaughter was a slut. Not that having a child at a young age means you're a slut or anything, but my grandma and great-grandmother – apparently - were not too supportive of my mom's bulging belly before her nineteenth birthday.

So even though my mom shed a single tear to commemorate the few good times she could remember, she was still upset with me because the news of my great-grandmother's passing did little besides pull me away from a good book. Because really, how could I mourn a woman I had never met, especially at such a young age?

And number two, the funeral was scheduled during our first official trip to Disneyland as a family of two. We used to have this tin coffee can on top of our fridge with a little label with Disneyland Fund written in thick, black penmanship. And every day when my mom came home from work, she'd filter through her wallet and the bottom of her purse, and throw any loose change or dollars in there.


  1. Lots of interesting stuff going on here.

    Your writing is good and your voice is there, but this all feels like backstory.

    I want to know who this character is and what's going on with him/her right now (not sure if it's a boy or girl yet).

    Best of luck with this!

  2. I agree with Janet above, and will add that I love your title :)

  3. You start out with not knowing much about flying and then go into backstory about grandma and her funeral, which then leads to family relationships, and then to the MC's family economics.

    Why did you bring up flying? WHy did you start with that? That's what I'm interested in knowing. What does flying have to do with the Mc's life today? Perhaps cut all the back story and get back to that. That's the story you started to tell. Tell it.

  4. I like this a lot. great voice. clear flow from one thing to the next. conlfict (she doesn't want to go on this trip that took her away from disneyland). good job. hooked.

    it is established clearly for me that MC is a girl. I liked how you did it in a roundabout way.

  5. Nice voice and clear writing, however...

    This is all back story. What action is going on right now? What do Grandma and Disneyland have to do with it?

  6. i think we need a little more action going on for the first scene, or dialogue. as someone above said, it's a little too much backstory. that said, i think the story is interesting. i always love reading about grandparent/grandkid relationships.

  7. I'm not getting a strong sense of her, and I'd like to. The first line, I didn't really like. I mean do any of us know much about flying. You take a seat and let someone else worry about it. This did't feel like a strong line to start with, unless she's flying the plane. You get me? You spent some time with the flying thing, so is it important?
    And I'm afraid I agree with everyone else. Too much backstory. I don't need to know about her mother at this point, the details of her past. I need to know about the MC!
    Hope this helps. Good luck! : )

  8. Because of your voice and the YA contemporary category, I'm assuming your novel is more literary, and because of that I'm fine with three paragraphs of, essentially, backstory (this is only 250 words, after all). Your writing is good and engaging and I like the character's voice. There are a lot of details here about her past and her current situation already (poor-ish single-parent family; lack of love from extended family).

    However, I agree with the others about the mention of flying. It seems like the rest of what we're seeing here is a non-sequitur. I would focus on the current reason that flying has been brought up OR start the novel like this:

    "When I was ten, I was forced to fly to my grandmother's funeral."

    Making that change would create relevance for everything (in this small section) that follows, and also would give us a point of tension within which to view the character.

    I would read on.

  9. I like the conflict that's been created here and you get a strong sense of the family dynamic when you hear about the way they've been saving for Disneyland. It makes the fact that the funeral is happening then more poignant and powerful.

    But there are too many run-on sentences for my liking and overall I'm not caring enough about this character to keep reading.

  10. It's all backstory and telling and I had the same thought as Barbara - you start with flying but keep going off on tangents and by 250 words we still aren't back to the flying. I would start when something is actually happening to your MC. You've got the tricky part - writing and voice - down very well, so changing the start shouldn't be too difficult for you.