Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March Secret Agent #3

TITLE: A Fragment of Time
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

I was weird.

Yeah, yeah, I know every teenager on the planet thinks they’re weird, but for me, it’s the only word that provides an accurate description and unlike some teenagers, I don’t aspire to be weird. Strange things just continually happen to me. If I had my choice, I would go through high school as background noise, but weirdness follows me around like a black cloud and when too many odd things happen to you, people sit up and take notice.

I hadn’t been sleeping well for the past few weeks. My rest had been plagued by dreams that seemed far too real, jolting me awake in the middle of the night. They were tiring, annoying and sometimes frightening. Tonight I had decided to avoid them by staying awake. But for some stupid reason, I crawled into my bed and before I knew it, I was lost in a dream. I guess it was more of a nightmare, because I was standing in the middle of a forest and I didn’t care much for real nature. I was a city girl who liked trees when they were located in the middle of town. These woods were filled with weird noises that made me want to crash blindly through the bushes until I found concrete.

The sound of a breaking stick sent my heart racing and I woke up so fast I almost fell out of bed. When I flipped on my light, a few tiny green leaves gently fluttered down to my pillow.


  1. Take out first paragraph, start at second.

    First tells, you want to show all that stuff.

  2. Not hooked yet. The last line is the best one for me. The idea that leaves followed the MC out of their dream is intriguing, but the opening was too generic to pull me in. That said, I think there's a great idea behind this that I'd like to know more about!

  3. Not hooked...sorry. The first paragraph is all telling, I would either rework it or delete it. I like the second paragraph better but feels it needs to be tightened.

  4. I agree, too much telling instead of showing. Maybe start somewhere else, and then work this information in as you go. Good luck!

  5. I'm still on the fence about any opening that involves a) going to sleep, b) waking up, or c) already in the dream.

    I don't remember ever being so tired when I was a teenager.

  6. Agree with the telling issue - the first full paragraph tells us she's weird and that "odd things" happen. If you want to start that way, more specificity would be nice - tell us what some of those odd things are.

    I also have a little trouble with the statement that "weird" provides an accurate description, just because it's such a general word.

  7. There's a lot of telling in this opening. I would be intrigued if it opened with her waking up with a fistful of leaves or the leaves fluttering down on her and we went from there. The rest will be fleshed out as the story progresses. Although, agents usually frown on opening from a dream so that's another thing to consider.

  8. This would be a form rejection. First, I have an aversion to teen characters trying to show wisdom about themselves or their peers by using some form of "I'm _____ because I'm a teenager!" Second, dreams/waking up on the first page represents 95% of all the YA books in my slush pile. I really like this idea, of "weird stuff follows me," but the execution isn't doing it for me.

  9. The idea (if I gleaned it right) seems promising, but the first two and half paragraphs strictly tell me things I'd rather see happen. Everytime she told us something, I found myself getting impatient and asking "Like what?"

    I don't have a problem with dream openings if dreams figure prominently into the rest of the story, but then... I'm not the agetn.

  10. I think this could be your opening line:

    If I had my choice, I would go through high school as background noise, but weirdness follows me like a black cloud. When too many odd things happen around you, people take notice.

    I think the right elements are here, but original opening line and much of the second paragraph don't have the punch I think you're looking for. You could simplify the opening, which allows you to show us what's weird right away in paragraph two.

    I agree w/ the agent about skipping the dream portion. Get to what's weird and how other people notice. I'm so curious to find that out!