Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January Secret Agent #4

GENRE: YA Comic Multicultural

Mr. Vaughn called my name. “Faiqa.” Because of his heavy New York accent, it sounded more like an accusation: Faker. My homonym.

In Arabic, the Q is a K, only from the back of the throat, like a bug flew into your mouth and got stuck there. The AI is really aieee, like Speedy Gonzales would say.

Of course, nobody goes to all that trouble. In Texas, they just called me Fifi, which is too poodley for my taste. Here, kids call me F***-ya. I respond: “I'm sure you'd love to but it is not going to happen.” Only they’ve usually snickered long past me by then, so I end up yelling it down the hall, my voice swallowed up by the crowd.

It’s funny: “Faiq,” the Arabic word my name comes from, means excellent, superior, outstanding. So all things considered, Faker’s close enough.

I was furiously faking it just then, as a matter of fact, when I walked to the front of my English class. I tried hard to keep my body loose, cool, calm. I'd give this stupid oral report, but I would not look the way I felt. I thought I was pulling it off until I glanced down and saw that my nipples were staging a demonstration. If nipples could talk, these would be screaming and carrying signs. And it wasn’t just that they were hard. They were living separate lives, they weren't lined up or even facing the same direction, like they didn't want to be seen together.


  1. This was good. The writing is solid.
    I was intrigued by the subject matter and the point of view. This is not the typical story teller, so kudos for that!

    This sentence "Only they’ve usually snickered long past me by then, so I end up yelling it down the hall, my voice swallowed up by the crowd." was a bit awkward for me.

    As was the sentence: "I'd give this stupid oral report, but I would not look the way I felt."

    And then the last paragraph! Whoa! Did not see that coming!

  2. You totally had me until the last paragraph. I'm not familiar with Arabic names and maybe read too quickly, bit I thought this character was a boy. Then I'm thinking, is this a girl wearing a silk shirt and no bra? What's going on? Is this a boy wearing a shirt two sizes too small? :) Still interested in him/her and the voice/writing is good.

  3. I thought you had a nice voice going here, but you might consider showing that last parg. instead of telling us. Maybe have here say a line or two of her report and have her notice her nipples. And if her report was about something that could be taken two ways (relating to her subject and relating to her nipples) it could be even funnier.

  4. I was also very intrigued by the voice of this MC and by the way she explained her name (I also thought she was a boy, until the nipple part, but I don't think it was the name--I think she reads tougher than the wiltable person her classmates try to make her because of that name; I love strong girl MCs).

    I agree with the comment above about more showing of the what's going on in front of the class. Maybe she notices someone staring and a few snickers and notices--how does she feel being trapped up there with that happening?

    I enjoyed your writing style, and I'd keep reading!

  5. I felt the MC was a boy until the last paragraph. Love the voice. Not sure where the story is going after the perky boobs - where do you go from there?

  6. Loved the first four paragraphs. You have a great voice, it's very clever and you totally had me hooked. The nipple paragraph threw me for a loop, though. If she (I'm assuming it's a she) is wearing a bra, would they really be so visible? If she's not wearing a bra, wouldn't she be hyper-aware and already hunching her shoulders? I agree with the other commenters that you might want to ease into this situation with a little more scene-setting so that it's not quite so startling.

  7. I like the beginning. Faiqa seems like an interesting character. Tough, with plenty of personality. I would want to get to know her better.

    The second paragraph felt a little awkward to me. And you lost me at the last paragraph. It felt like too much right after the name explanation. Maybe if you show and set up the situation a bit differently my feelings would change.

  8. I love the humor in this and I am instantly attached to the MC. I want to know more about her. Great job!

  9. I adored this, especially the last paragraph. I laughed so hard I almost fell off my seat. I do agree with Barbara's idea about showing this scene. I think it would make it even better.

    On the whole, excellent. I would definitely read more.

  10. I teach in a very ethnically diverse school, so I wasn't surprised by Faiqa being a girl. However, I was a little thrown by the last paragraph because the Middle Eastern girls I teach are very thoroughly clothed, so I can't imagine them wearing anything so sheer that their bodies would show throw.

    That being said, I loved the voice! Great YA material here!

  11. CB already made my point about the two awkward sentences for me.

    I wish I had something more constructive to say, but the writing is fluid and this definitely sets up the character for the future. Nice work!

  12. Your voice caught my attention right off the bat, and I LOVED it--the bit about "I'm sure you'd love to" is golden--yup, I loved it right up until the nipples. I think I would have been okay with it if it was just one sentence but by the end it felt objectifying. I think you're probably going for the honesty teens love and, who knows, maybe this would go over well. Personally, I would prefer a more subtle approach, though. I.e. "Until I glance down at my shirt/chest. Oh sh**, why didn't I wear a bra?," or something like that (going with the assumption that the MC is female.
    Hooked? Hmm, to be quite honest (and this obviously speaks more to who I am than to your writing) it would depend on your (the author's) gender. If female, I'd keep going, but if male I wouldn't. If the excerpt stopped at "Faker's close enough," though, I would keep reading, either way.
    I think your writing is very strong.

  13. Nothing I can add other than I really enjoyed your writing and the characters voice.

  14. I think this is great, and daring, and in-your-face without feeling cheap, and even though I flinched a bit at the last paragraph, it still cracked me up and felt in line with the personality you'd already established for the narrator...I dig it!