Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February Secret Agent #28

TITLE: ONE
GENRE: YA Science Fiction

Most Ones start with an ability everyone thinks will turn into a superpower. A really fast runner might have muscles that can’t take the strain after a few seconds. Or a kid who can stretch an arm out really far will wait days for it to pull back into place. They put up with getting teased at Superhero High, waiting for their Second – in those cases, enhanced muscle power or elasticity - to show up. While they do, that One power starts to fade. There are still shimmers of it, but after a while the kid quits trying and the One fizzles into nothingness.

Then their parents ship them off to Normal High, like mine did. Here’s my secret: I never quit trying.

Most nights at dusk and some mornings before sunrise, I practice. I push myself off the ground, telling my body to go weightless, and hover there, an inch, two, six, then a foot. I stay there for seconds, then minutes.

I can’t generate enough tension between my body and the air to take a step - can’t even make myself drift. I’d give anything to be able to float along like a freaking ghost. For a long time, I tried to move. Once I tried so hard my muscles strained, then burned, then ached, then trembled, and I hovered there behind the shed, weeping and getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, until I heard Dad come out the back door to look for me. Then I collapsed on the grass.

19 comments:

AG said...

Am I hooked-- you bet! You managed to make me feel bad for a girl who has a *superpower*-- crazy. Totally feel for her, totally would read on. Cheers!

Rachel Menard said...

I like the concept and the voice in this piece, but I did have to read through the first paragraph twice for clarity. These kids show signs of having an ability but it never fully develops. I think if you re-worded it a little bit, it would have more punch.

"Most Ones start with an ability everyone thinks will turn into a superpower." Wouldn't all Ones start with an ability? Otherwise, they would just be normal people.

"A really fast runner might have muscles that can’t take the strain after a few seconds." This next line tripped me up. "Really fast," doesn't imply something supernatural to me. This could be an opportunity to add some imagery, ie, "A runner who can outrace a cheetah will collapse after three seconds."

"Or a kid who can stretch an arm out really far will wait days for it to pull back into place." Again, you could use some imagery here and "will wait" implies he's waiting to pull his arm back on purpose. Possible suggestion, "A kid who can reach the top of the Empire State Building from the ground floor will be stuck waiting for days while his arm slowly shrinks back into place."

These are just suggestions of course, but I think you should take a second look at it and try to avoid generic descriptions like "really fast" and "really far." How fast? How far?

Good luck!

Maggie Hall said...

Totally hooked! And not just because I know how amazing the rest of this book is.
Really great first page!

Vivid said...

I really, really like that she was almost The One (at least, that's what I'm getting here) but then wasn't (but probably will be!) -- it's refreshing after all the super-normal kids. Very hooked!

hersheygirl68 said...

This sounds amazing. I wish I was a One, how long until the Biohub finds my perfect match and teaches me how to fly? :D

Stephanie said...

The last couple paragraphs made me want to keep reading, but the first two were a bit confusing in terms of what a One vs. a Second is--especially judging by the other comments, which suggest something different than what I understood. :P I think being One is a bad thing, because you lose your abilities...maybe I'm wrong.

Anyway, good luck with this!

Gina said...

I love this opening. And as someone who's read the whole thing, everyone who hasn't should be extremely sad about that. You're missing some gorgeous imagery and some yummy kissing, not to mention a great story :)

Myrna Foster said...

You slip into info dumping at the beginning, but the characters voice really comes out toward the end. I wanted to keep reading. :o)

Marieke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marieke said...

Don't mind me, I'm just here as cheerleader :D

*waves blue pompoms* GO ONE GO!

rbgreene04 said...

I had to read the first two paragraphs a couple of times, but once I grasped the concept, I was hooked. The first and second sentences are great! I really like the voice and imagery. The only complaint I would have is the second to last sentence seems really long and clunky. Great stuff!

Alleged Author said...

I think the voice is great here. Good luck!

MarcyKate said...

Love it! I actually enjoy the bit of world building at the beginning. I think it works and helps set the scene in an interesting and unusual way. Good luck! :)

SMKrafty said...

I like the premise. You really hooked me with the Second paragraph-"Then their parents ship them off to Normal High, like mine did. Here’s my secret: I never quit trying." I'd like to see it start there, with a little mod and then weave some of the info from the first paragraph.

Sounds like a fun read.

JEN said...

Lots of fun elements here to enjoy. I usually don't like superpower books, but this one looks quirky enough that I'd definitely keep reading.es

KSZ714 said...

I have to agree with what some others have said. First, I definitely want to read on, but after the first graf I was confused. I actually like starting with "most nights at dusk". The last graf of this excerpt is so fantastic that I really, really want to read more. First lines are so challenging!

andimjulie said...

I saw this on another blog! (Cupid, maybe?) Either way still love the premise! Best of luck!

Secret Agent said...

I found the first paragraph confusing. (The burst of speed without the muscles to support it makes sense but why would a kid wait to pull his arm back in?)

I’m not a science fiction reader so this one just didn’t grab me. Sorry.

T.D. McFrost said...

I don't read SF either but this is interesting.

I profess myself a "freak" when it comes to all things fantasy but that first paragraph seriously confused me. I am still a bit wobbly on the matter. So, a ONE is someone who shows signs of superhuman abilities and they endure training to unlock their unique skill? Is that it?

I liked this either way, because it's a superhero SF and I've never read one of those.

Good job.