Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March Secret Agent #43

TITLE: Diamond Tears
GENRE: YA Fantasy

When my left temple slammed against the handle of the refrigerator door, I was surprised by how much it hurt. It had never occurred to me that such an ordinary thing could cause so much pain. My vision blurred to a whitish haze for a couple of seconds, and I took that opportunity to go limp, dropping to the floor. Not because I needed to—no, I could take much more than that without going down. But because he lost interest when he thought I was out for the count.

“Emma?” my father muttered, shoving the toe of his three hundred dollar shoe into my side. I didn’t react in any way. He cursed under his breath, and I heard the sounds of his footsteps reverberating through the floor as he walked away. “Grace!” he shouted as he moved toward the back of the house. “Emma fell again and hit her head! She’s in the kitchen!”

I could hear the murmur of my mother’s voice, but couldn’t distinguish any words. Not that I needed to. Oh, poor, clumsy Emma, always hurting herself. Of course I’ll go help her. Why don’t you relax and have another glass of wine, dear? Even if that wasn’t what she said, it was close enough.

Thanks mom.

I heard the door to my father’s office slam, shortly followed by my mother’s hurried steps. I waited long enough to make sure he didn’t change his mind and come back, and then picked myself up off the floor.


  1. Emma's voice is really great. I like it a lot. She is desperately trying to get the attention of her father and I want to know why. Why is he distant and apparently abusive? The part that trips me up is the refrigerator handle. I look at it and would think, yes, that would hurt if it hit me. Why did Emma think it wouldn't hurt? She does say she could take much more than that so I do get an idea she is no stranger to pain...but... Excellent start though!

  2. I agree with DB Graves. Really like the voice, the scenario, but the thought about the fridge handle made me stop. Pretty much anything will hurt if you hit it hard enough. I'd keep reading.

  3. I want to hear more about Emma. Sounds like she is an abusive situation but a strong character. I'm curious where this will lead.

  4. Interesting opening. Interesting MC. I'm assuming the father is abusive, and I'll read on to find out why Emma wouldn't just tell her mother what happened, and why the dad would assume the mom would believe his lie. Good job hooking us in.

  5. This is a good beginning for a novel, but I think you should show a little more of her effort to suppress the pain. Getting hit on the temple can kill you, and getting kicked in the side isn't easy to put away either. She has to struggle some more to stop her father from realizing she's still conscious. In this snippet, she sounds far too calm for an abused person (unless that's what you aimed for). If she doesn't have super powers, she should be much more in pain.

  6. I think it's stronger if you start with 'My vision..." Here's a possible rewrite:

    My vision blurred to a whitish haze for a couple of seconds, and I took that opportunity to go limp, dropping to the floor. Not because I needed to -- no, I could take much more having my temple rammed into the fridge door. I did it because he'd usually lose interest if he thought I was out for the count.

    Some things to note:
    You have two "not that I needed to". Eliminate or rewrite one.

    Also, I agree that you could show how she suppresses the pain -- which she's all too familiar with.

    You could tighten some sentences like this one:
    I couldn't distinguish what my mother said in the next room but it'd be along the lines of "Poor clumsy Emma. Of course I'll go help her. Why don't you just relax and have a drink."

    I'd read on to see where the story goes!

  7. I'm assuming Emma has suffered ongoing abuse, so why would she be surprised by how much it the refrigerator handle hurts? Also "I was surprised" is weak. Just show her surprise. "My left temple slammed against the handle of the refrigerator door. I stifled a cry of pain. My vision blured to a whitish haze..."

  8. Interesting take on the abusive father trope. This has a good voice, and Emma has some surprising strength.

  9. The last two sentences in paragraph one is awkward and that's because it is poorly constructed. It should be one sentence: Not because I needed to (I could take much more than that without going down), but because he lost...

    You use brackets in this instance and not em dashes because the information given is a supplement to the thought rather than a strong disruption in the sentence.

    Telling us her father has three hundred dollar shoes evokes nothing visually. Describe it with a word or two.

    Reverberate is a poor choice to describe his footsteps; unless the floor is made of granite and he is wearing high heels? I think this sentence would be stronger if you remove it entirely and just say she "heard the sounds of his footsteps as he walked away."

  10. I'd keep reading if I saw this in my slush, but the next 5 pages would have to be stellar. I say I'd keep reading because I'm intrigued by the family dynamic and I want to know how this ends up being fantasy, but there are also some strange word usages and grammar errors. I'd want to see if these mechanics improve as the book goes on.

  11. I loved this. Coming from that background myself, it gave me chills and an intense connection. Great job! I would love to read on!