Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April Secret Agent #16

TITLE: Dreamcatcher
GENRE: Young Adult Psychological Thriller

Sometimes when I’m asleep, I dream about you.

Not in a creepy way. It’s just… I wonder. I wonder if you realize the seasons are changing, the leaves are turning red and falling, and you remain as pale as I’ve ever seen. Like what they’re saying… like it’s right. 

Like Icarus you fell, because you flew too close to the sun… and here I sit with the reds and yellows and browns.

Do you remember me?

I wake up to the sound of the bell ringing and Mr. Cartshire’s face hanging over me. I jump and stifle a yelp.

“Sleeping during class again, Miss Brender?” He cocks a furry salt and pepper eyebrow at me.

“Sorry,” I mumble. I can see my face turning fire hydrant red in the lenses of his glasses. The sounds of the rest of the school drift in from the hallway.

Quickly, I stand and collect my things, and he steps back, watching me in an addled sort of way.
“Are you alright, Miss Brender? That’s the third time this week.”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Cartshire.” I’m at the door, my heart pounding and my mind already racing on to my next class hour and trying to stay awake.

“Miss Brender –” the old teacher calls after me, but I’m already gone.


  1. I'm hooked. I want to know what's going to happen. Like the "furry eyebrow." Not so much the "fire hydrant red," as nowadays many fire hydrants aren't. I'd read on. Nice job.

  2. The writing here is beautiful and I'm intrigued to read on. I do wonder about starting with a dream and then waking up though, since this is such an overdone device.

  3. Oo, I'm intrigued! My first thought was 'Oh no, not another waking scene to start out!' but when you had her wake up in class, it wasn't at all what I expected. Well done! It really makes me wonder immediately what's going on, especially when her teacher goes from annoyance to concern so quickly. Clearly, this isn't something she's known for doing.

    Good luck, and I'd definitely read more!

  4. Starting with a dream is too overdone. It's well written though.

  5. The writing is decent, and I would continue on for a few pages.

    Having said that, the feedback I most often see from agents, critiques and writing blogs are to avoid opening stories with a prologue, dream sequence, and for YA, classroom setting. Combining all three is kind of amusing, and while there are always exceptions of what CAN work, you might want to keep these commonly seen factors in mind if you're considering publication.

    I've learned all of this from reading blogs like Miss Snark over the past year. I hope you're able to get some more feedback that's helpful :)

  6. Overdone isn't overdone if it's done well. I think this is done well. I'd read on.

  7. I don't object to the dream because it is short however I do oobject to the subject of the dream. If this is a thriller then why not make the dream more indicative of the genre? That being said, I find the writing beautiful and my suggestion is only designed to make your 1st page better so it does not get slushed away - for all the reasons mentioned about agent pet peeves. I would read more for sure because good writing is good writing - and this be it :)

  8. Very well written. I'm hooked and would read on. Torn about opening with a dream. I say if it works, go with it.

  9. I read the first line and thought creepy! Probably because I noticed it was a thriller. So, I loved the second line even more. That being said, I didn't get anything out of this. It's not telling me anything other than you've started it off like many other writers.

    I do really like your voice though. I would read on just for that. But I think it would benefit you and the reader more if you started the book with action. What change/action/inciting incident happened to make the character's life suddenly interesting enough to become a book?

  10. Okay, here's my take.

    I don't think the beginning is a dream.
    Dreams are full of images. These are more like thoughts, and they are thoughts about her dreaming. What she dreams about, etc.

    I say keep the beginning which I found lovely and very compelling, but have your MC just thinking them.

    More like a daydream.

    Yes, you have me hooked despite the tropey beginning.

  11. Your writing is very good and grabbed me from the first sentence. You showed your readers a lot without giving anything away, and I really want to read more. Because of your obvious talent, I'm willing to bet you can start this in a different place-- not waking up and not in a classroom-- and bring in the thriller aspect earlier. I realize it's a psychological thriller and you showed us that with the words spoken in her head, but I don't believe that the beginning is as compelling as you're capable of doing.

  12. The dream thing again. Maybe if she was daydreaming but was awake and gazing out the classroom window. Also the fire hydrant red took me out of it. Use of the word addled for the teacher also took me out of it. He didn't seem addled to me. He seemed concerned. Also, if she was already gone how could she have heard him call after her?

    That said, the opening was intriguing and if this was revised it could be good.

  13. I'm really concerned for Miss Brender. Three times in a week, but she obviously is feeling a bit overwhelmed with it and doesn't want to talk.

    I would reduce the dream paragraphs down. Keep the creepy one for sure (that fits the concern I have for her), which is "Do you remember me?"

    We get that this is all uncomfortable, but reducing the dream would give the first page some glimpses of how she's feeling about this, and if she knows what or who she's dreaming about and that will let us in on what's going on.

  14. Ok, so I almost didn't read because I didn't want to read another starting dream sequence and given the title and starting with italics, that seemed pretty inevitable. And there it was.

    But - your writing is great by the way - it didn't feel like a dream. Dreams are all action, no understanding. So I thought it sounded more like a poem - and thought that would be kinda cool and a surprise for those expecting the dream.

    I'd read on because of your writing, but there may be people/agents who won't want to get past the dream opening.

    Good luck!