Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September Secret Agent #42

TITLE: Supernova
GENRE: Young Adult Suspense

Alexa always thought she had a high tolerance for pain. Pain is your friend. Coach Lawry’s voice echoed in her head. How many times had he said that? Except there was nothing friendly about the feeling that coursed through her body. Her head felt like her mother looked after a hard night at The Office, the locals only bar in hometown Brilliant. She knew she couldn’t be dreaming because the throbbing was like nothing her subconscious could possibly imagine. She was flat on her back, that she knew – the bigger questions were why, how, and where. She wanted to open her eyes but that would require moving, and the pain spoke loud and clear on that point.

Then, she heard a low murmur, a voice…a man’s voice. That meant she wasn’t alone. Thank God. Someone was taking care of this situation – of her. Concentrating, the voice became clearer. She recognized it from somewhere; she’d heard that voice before. That meant someone she knew was taking care of her. Elation fluttered throughout her body, became an instant painkiller, like Vicodin with a splash of vodka – her mother’s preferred method of headache relief. And in that moment of retreating pain, a vision, possibly a memory, flickered in her head.

She wakes in a hospital bed to the sounds of constant noise, beeps from machines she can’t see, phones ringing, voices carrying on conversations…and crying, somewhere, someone is crying. Through a crack in the white curtain she sees people moving about, busy with their work, their lives.


  1. Interesting. I liked the first two paragraphs. Then the third paragraph you switch to present tense. Other than that, it's a pretty good hook. I'd read more - as long as you fix the tense problem.

  2. I would pay attention to tense as well. There's some great stuff here; the vodka-Vicodin cocktail, eg.

    The punctuation in the last paragraph is a little confusing: "...and crying, somewhere, someone is crying."

  3. Would have more action and less telling. Maybe start with her waking up in the hospital, although waking up is a bit cliched...

    Keep at this, though...

  4. I really like the opening. Maybe a little more lead up to where she wakes in the hospital bed? It would give a little more time to let the pain idea marinate in our heads as we wonder why she's in the hospital.

  5. I was a little confused - where did she wake up the first time?

    I would focus a little more on emotion, immediate reactions than trying to do a data dump on hometown name, local bar, mom's drugs.

    Interesting, if possible cliched start, I'd read on.

  6. Wow, this is really harrowing. Very creepy situation for your MC to be in.

    Have you thought about putting in some more paragraph breaks to make it more digestible and move more easily?

    I was a little confused by the change in tense in the last paragraph. Something like that might annoy me enough to keep me from reading on.

    Love that her mom could work or drink at the bar, and then you let us know about the vodka habit. Great selective fact dropping.
    Good luck!

  7. The premise is catchy. However, there is way too much backstory and telling (one example would be that you mention the mom goes to The Office, then tell us what it is...don't do that yet...just say mom goes to The Office, capitalized, and leave it at that 'til later; savvy readers will catch on).

    For showing, just put us right there in the bed with this girl, right in her head.

  8. I think the writing is solid but something about this one just isn't grabbing me. She wakes up, she's in pain, she hears a voice and she has a vision. It's all pretty generic in terms of plot. Why not come up with an interesting detail about all of this that will hook the reader?

  9. Interesting. I would be willing to read on.

  10. This moved a little slowly for me. She's in pain, but we don't learn why, and the details in the second and third paragraph (she's with someone she knows, she's in hospital) kill the tension for me because she seems to be safe. Great writing, but I think you could start somewhere more suspenseful.