Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September Secret Agent #6

TITLE: Her Old Eyes
GENRE: YA mystery

My last day of summer vacation, and the best I could do was hang out in a car with a busted A/C while Mom ran errands. I sighed. Tomorrow would be worse. If only Mom hadn't lost her job, we'd still be in Detroit, and I'd be starting tenth grade with my friends.

I stepped out of the car, squinting against the blazing Arizona sun, and pushed my long hair off my sweaty neck.

A brown-skinned, elderly woman hurried across the pedestrian crossing. With her high cheekbones, pretty embroidered blouse and long blue skirt, she looked Native American. She reached the curb, and her wide, staring gaze fixed on me. She remained frozen for a second, fingers clutching at the beads around her neck. Then she moved. Right toward me.

I glanced over my shoulder to see if she might be aiming for someone else. Nope, no one stood close by. I turned back to find her almost on top of me. Shoot! How did she get here that fast?
I tried to step out of her way, but my sandals seemed glued to the hot pavement. I could only stare as she lifted a gnarled hand to my shoulder, gasping out, "I knew you'd come. I've been waiting."


  1. I really liked this, it had me hooked and I would love to read more. In a few sentences I have lots of information about the main character, which I love. And I think overall the piece had a really good pace.
    I just really enjoyed this.

  2. Nice sensory details and an intriguing end. I would turn the page.

  3. I liked the fact that you go right into the story. I know who the MC is, I know where she is, and by the end, I know something strange is going to happen.

    You might rework the description of the elderly woman to get maybe a touch of mystery in there, like there's something odd or magical, or mysterious about her, depending on the mood you want to convey.

    ANd it is basically all telling and reads almost like a report. I did this, then this, then this. Maybe show a bit more and get in some sensory details to give it a bit of life, to make it feel like we're there. Instead of saying it was hot, show us the heat waves rippling over the pavement, stuff like that.

  4. I liked it. liked "sandals glooed to teh pavement"

    I thought she was inside the car, without A/C, but then later she was standing outside the car with sandals glooed to the pavement.

    I'd have "she looked native american" come at beginning of sentence rather than at end, because the rest of the sentence is finer tuned discriptions of this larger category.

    I wonder if what the native american woman says is a bit too direct, giving away too much of the mystery right away. but maybe in the next line you have the old woman say something else that gives an ordinary explanation for why she was "looking for you". Of course the ordinary explanation won't turn out to be true. I'd keep reading.

  5. You had me at YA mystery.

    Well, that and the voice. I feel like you get a lot of details about the character and her situation into the story without making them exposition.

    I would read on (though I feel at this point, that the mystical elderly woman who is also a stranger and who singles you out is a little cliche. I'd wait to see how you fleshed the story out before making any real judgments).

  6. Hooked. I'd read more. Nothing else to say about this one for me.

  7. I'm hooked! I do think the, "If only Mom..." sentence feels a bit info-dumpy. How about something as simple as, "New school, no friends." You can always work the rest in later.

  8. I'm a little turned off because I find the whole Native American mystical woman to be a little bit of a cliche. I'd rather see you do something more creative and unusual here--a different kind of emissary altogether.

    You're a good writer but I don't think I'd read on; the set up is too cliche and I'm not feeling like I care about this character.