Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March Secret Agent #15

TITLE: The Gifted
GENRE: Supernatural Young Adult

The twitch of immense energy flowed into Rebecca Stevens’ fingertips. The fine hair along the nape of her neck prickled as she faced the target—a small wooden crate she had found in the forest, maybe some kid’s early idea for a fort. She surveyed the field, not a soul in sight, exactly how she needed it. Since Nathan, a kid with the power to control water, announced his ability on national television, her world had fallen apart.

Rebecca stared down the crate twenty yards away; the breeze blew her hair across her eyes. Four years ago, when she turned twelve, she’d developed the ability to move things with her mind. Since then, her life became about hiding her power, she considered it necessary to learn to protect herself, and if she desired to improve her telekinesis, Rebecca needed to practice in solitude.

The weight of the railroad spike hovering nearby rested on her mind. The sensation of a foreign object inside her head made her pulse quicken. The spike spun at her command as she tested her control. Her skill had improved over the past months, during her very limited practice time, but one thing remained constant; if she didn’t manage her emotions she lost any sort of accuracy. Perfect concentration was required, and she hardly ever achieved that.

As she focused her energy, sweat ran down her back and neck. A stiff wind chilled her cheek and rattled the nearby trees.


  1. Tight writing, but more immediacy required for it to stand out among the apparently many YA novels. Show, don't tell. Resist the urge to explain, just concentrate on sucking the reader in with what's happening right now. You write well, and that's about 99% of it. Edit and tighten, repeat :)

  2. Not hooked yet. The premise and scene are good. What is lacking for me here is voice. The writing is solid, but it needs some tightening, especially in the case of a couple of the long sentences.

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  4. This is interesting but I agree it needs tightening up.

    I think you could start with 'Since Nathan . . .Rebecca's world had fallen apart.'

    Suggest you take out paragraph 2 and take out 'during her very limited practice time' in para 3.

    Good start.

  5. You have some nice writing here, but I agree with the others that it could be tightened. Take out some of the back story about when she developed the ability to move things with her mind, why she hides it, etc. Just show her practicing, fearful that someone might see her. That would get enough of the point across for a first page.

    Good luck!

  6. This is an interesting premise, the fact that these kids are popping up with random powers, but I feel like the transition between her thoughts and actions aren't fluid, especially the thought of Nathan at the end of the first paragraph. It comes out of nowhere and goes nowhere. That sentence should be w/her thought about hiding her abilities.

    Like others have said, I don't get a sense of voice from this and I think that's important, escecially in YA.

    Best of luck!

  7. Keep looking for ways to improve this. The others on here have given some insightful ideas.

  8. It draws me in. I'd turn the page.

  9. Overall, I like it, but could you open with the action and save the backstory for later on the page?

    I would keep reading. Though I'm not sure if I'll like Rebecca's voice, I know there's something at stake (otherwise no one would have to keep their powers secret) and that's enough for me to go on.

  10. I like the premise and that the MC is actively learning to protect herself. Rather than telling me that her world has fallen apart, I'd like examples... Are "supers" plagued by papparazzi? Are they hunted by militia... or even each other?

    What I immiediately found interesting was that she's practicing with her power... but she's not practicing moving things around--she's practicing the ability to kill. I wonder if it would up the stakes and emotional investment if you focused a little more on that aspect and how she feels about it.

    Ditch the backstory dump in paragraph 2 and work that information in little by little as the narrative progresses.

    I'm not getting a sense of the MC's voice, yet.