Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February Secret Agent #37

TITLE: Forgotten
GENRE: YA Spy

I knew from the first day of school that Mrs. Dane was insane, but I never realized quite how much until that day in November when she opened a class by emphatically stating, “Imagine all the wonderful things in our world that would not have been achieved without violence! What a magnificent way of solving conflicts! Don’t you agree?”

We, of course, replied with a hearty round of silence.

“Well, DON’T YOU???”

This was met with a smattering of, “Um. Of course, Mrs. Dane,” and, “Do I get an A if I say yes?”
I couldn’t help but roll my eyes, because, here we go again, Mrs. Dane was back into one of her fits – err, lectures. They had a pretty high entertainment value, actually, though I’m sure that wasn’t the effect she was going for with them. You know that saying “Make Peace, Not War”? Well, she was completely the opposite. Fighting and wars were totally her thing. She was obsessed.

She had started out her first day of school speech saying that her favorite sport was boxing. I mean, who does that? The next day, I arrived late to find that no one was in the front row, which meant that I was stuck sitting there by myself. Freaked the heck out of me when she punched the door closed behind me. I think she might have cackled, too, but that was probably (hopefully) just my imagination.

18 comments:

E. Arroyo said...

I had to laugh. I'd say yes too. Good job. =)

Sharon said...

I LOVE your first sentence, although I really did trip over the fact that "Dane" and "insane" rhymed. Tried to ignore it because it's so great, but it still bugged me. Otherwise, a totally awesome start to a book I would really want to read!

rbgreene04 said...

I really liked the first sentence as well, and enjoyed the Dane insane rhyme. It almost reminded me of a Dan Gutman book title (I know it's not the same genre, but still). The third or fourth paragraph was a little awkward for me. ("This was met with a smattering of...") I think it may be more powerful to skip that tag and just put the quote. Other than that, I really liked it. I love the concept (maybe because I am a teacher that loves boxing--who knows?). Good Job!

Stephsco said...

I like the voice and this line:

We, of course, replied with a hearty round of silence.


I like that the reaction is snarky against something worthy (weird teacher) rather than just attitude for no reason that seems to happen a lot in early pages of some drafts.

Metz Photography said...

The first paragraph is good, and I keep reading it in one giant breath and get the impression of rushing through it because you just can't believe the teacher. Other than the rhyme of Dane and insane, the rush works, especially paired with the simple, one sentence pargraph following.

Where you lose me a little is the paragraph with the eyeroll because up until this point, the opening has been "telling" rather than "showing" and it worked, but at this point, I want to be in the story and in the MC's head.

I enjoy the teacher and I'd read more just to see what other crazy things she does. Good job.

Kelly said...

While I don't think there's anything wrong with this page, it doesn't feel like a first page. Especially not the first page of a spy story.

I don't know, maybe I was expecting to eavesdrop on some big secret, or witness a crime. This tale about insane Mrs. Dane is entertaining, but not grabbing me by the shirt and demanding that I read on.

GSMarlene said...

I'm intrigued! I want to know what class this is - I assumed history because history is pretty much the study of war and conflict otherwise it wouldn't have made history!

But throwing in boxing and punching doors, now that is different!

I'd definitely read on.

Alleged Author said...

I think is has some awesome voice and internalization. Good job!

Matt Stern said...

I think I had this teacher once. In all seriousness though I like the voice and would be intrigued to see where it's all going.

Merry Li said...

Really enjoyed this! VERY hilarious! Interesting character AND teacher.

Hero said...

This is a really great opening - it totally caught my attention. You really have no idea where this is going, and you want to find out. It's interesting to see how this'll become a spy novel.

I also have to say that the title is super intriguing. What's Forgotten? How does it translate to the story?

I really want to read the rest now!! The writing is fantastic. Way to hook a reader. Awesome job!

Lisa B. said...

Wow. This is very unique. I love the teacher already. LOVE. My only critique point would be to lose all but one of the question marks when the teacher insists on an answer from her students. Other than that great job here.

Kelsey said...

It's good!! I have to say, her dialouge seemed a little bit werid, like, not the content but the way things were phrased didn't sound as natural as a most teachers would talk, to me. I don't know, I would think she would be more aware of how her views are so crazy...maybe add a little bit of something like, "Now the principle doesn't like me to say this, and sure, I have recieved some emails from parents, but the truth is the truth. Violence is the answer". Or maybe you want her to be oblivious? Which is fine too! I'd make it more obvious if that is the plan though. Gosh that sounds stuck up LOL sorry! These are all just suggestions and you know I love your writing :) Love the cackling part!

Amy said...

You do a good job painting the teacher in this excerpt. I have to agree with Kelly, though, I didn't get YA Spy story from the first page. But that's just my personal opinion.

I'd keep reading to see where it's going, but I'm feeling a bit confused here on the first page.

Good luck!

Unknown said...

I thought the Mrs. Dane is insane line was funny, but my interest started to drift away once the narrator rolled her eyes. I know that's a typical teenage reaction (I should know), but, I guess that's just it...it's typical. And then the class didn't have any reaction to the teacher's violence line other than to sit there? It didn't seem real to me, because I could practically hear the smart-a** remarks that would be coming from real high school kids. I'm all about spy stories, but this one didn't capture me.

Victor K said...

I thought this was a good start. It certainly makes me want to know the teacher more. Thought the Dane/insane rhyme worked because it sounds exactly what a kid would do with a name. I guess the previous commenter gave me an idea for a weakness - 'Unknown' referred to the narrator as a 'she' - that made me go back to read it again...then again....to find some clue or justification for that..and I could find none. So, I am not sure why 'unknown' thought it was a she. To me, it could be either male or female - and therefore I think you want to make it more clear up front who we are listening to.

Anonymous said...

There's a lot to like about this piece. I initially wondered if Mrs Dane was making outrageous statements to provoke an apathetic class into some sort of discourse - but no. She reminds me of the psychopath principal in Roald Dahl's "Matilda".

I would omit the lines between "You know that saying..." and "She was obsessed". Too much telling when you've done a great job showing us the same thing. Besides, isn't the saying "Make Love Not War?" Or are you trying to show us your MC is not as clued-in as (s)he thinks.

Secret Agent said...

I think you have a good voice here but will it work in a YA spy genre? Is the main character going to be able to keep it up?