Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September Secret Agent #3

GENRE: Young Adult Fairytale Retelling

If she touched the volume one more time, she’d pull back a bloody nub. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched her little fingers inch towards the dial.

“Casey!” I snarled.

“But I love this song!” Casey said in that whiney, nasal tone all ten-year-olds used when they wanted their way. But I wasn’t giving in.

“Seriously kid! I have a headache. Could you please behave until we get home?” I cringed. I sounded just like mom.

She slumped back in the seat, crossed her arms over her chest, and thrust out her bottom lip. “You sound just like mom.”

“Yeah, well you are acting like a spoiled little brat.” When I got my license, my adventures sans parents were supposed to be filled with hanging out with my friends and cute guys. Not chauffeuring my annoying little sister to and from ballet practice.

“I’m telling mom you called me a brat.”

“Whatever.” I leaned forward and turned the volume all the way down. The pounding in my head eased as the bass dulled.

My head shot up at the stomach-wrenching sound of tires squealing across asphalt. The blinding white light from a pair of headlights barreled towards us. Dirt and rocks flew up like a rooster tail on both sides of the truck as it launched over the median.


  1. The interaction between the sisters feels real. I would remove like a rooster tail. I'm seeing a lot of guilt in the MC's future. Nice job. I'd read on.

  2. Omigod, I am so into this. I really want to know what's going to happen. I also like how she noticed she sounded like her mom and then lil' sis pointed it out--that was cute :) I also don't like the rooster tail line, but other than that this is pretty amazing! I would read more :)

  3. I thought you did a reat job with the dialogue. I comes off real and convincing. The wrting is smooth and easy to read.

    I was starting to get bored with the scene, wondering what the point of it all was, and then you hit me with the last parg. which pulled me right back in.

    It works here because you want to finish the 250 words with a hook, but my suggestion would be to get to the crash a bit sooner--maybe two pargs--outside of this contest. The bit with the sister went on just a little too long, for me.

    And the rooster tail did take me out of the story. I stopped reading to imagine what it would look like.

  4. I really like this. Hooked for sure. But I wondered if a teenager would really complain of a headache over music. Sounds very adult.

    Still, great beginning, and fabulous cliff-hanger ending on your first page!

  5. I liked the dialogue. Very realistic. The crash came on a bit too quick, IMO. Where's her reaction when she saw the headlights coming toward them? Even if she's just shocked/stunned. just a couple of words to place us in her situation as she sees the truck

  6. This is a great beginning. Great voice, and it really pulled me in. I have nothing to add, just wanted to say excellent job! <3

  7. I second (3rd? 4th?) the comments about the dialogue (and I like the inner monologue re: sounding like mom echoing back at her from her sister).

    A few moments where I feel displaced.

    1) Because I don't know the scene yet, I feel like the first line doesn't make sense. Who would be hurt? Is the statement literal or metaphorical? Of course, that all becomes clear by the third line, but I was confused until then (not helped, perhaps, by reading "volume" as "book").

    2) The accident is very confusing to me. I'm not sure if she's crossing the median (an accident of inattention blended with headache) or if it's the truck that's crossed over.

    I'd keep reading, though, because I like the voice here.

  8. Love the voice and enjoyed recalling a very similar conversation from my teen years.

    I'm hooked and would read more. Nice writing.

  9. The first line made no sense at all, but other than that, great writing, great characters.

    I disagree that a teen wouldn't complain about the music--I hate loud music, and I'm a teen.

    Very interested to see the retelling...

  10. Hooked. I wonder how this will tie into a fairy tale. I'd definitely read more.

  11. very clear voice...i'm wondering what fairy tale it is, too!

  12. Thank you all for your wonderful comments! Awaken is a dark reimagining of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale. :)

  13. The first line didn't work for me. I had to reread a few times, so I'm not sure that's a good starting point.
    Good luck! Sounds great! : )

  14. I'd change the first line to 'If she touched the volume on the car radio one more time' - that way the reader is instantly grounded in the scene and doesn't have to wait a few lines to find out where the characters are. I agree with others that 'rooster tail' should go.

    I also think the teen driver sounds too adult, saying 'Seriously kid' and complaining about thumping bass (yes I know you joke about her sounding 'like mom', but it still didn't sound right to me).

    The writing itself is clean and easy to read. I would certainly still read on to see what happens (I'm guessing one of them falls into a coma and it's a Sleeping Beauty retelling?)Good luck with it.

  15. This one is good and I would keep reading but I'm not entirely in love because I don't feel a strong pull to the character's voice. To me, she's not really jumping off the page, she's just kind of grumpy and bored. I'd like to see her be sassier, more dynamic.

    And then I don't actually love starting with a car wreck. I think it feels too obvious that you're trying to start with some exciting event. I'd almost rather see something happen right *after* a car wreck, the emotion, the fall-out, the energy of it.

    Writing is very solid.