Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July Secret Agent #2

GENRE: YA Contemporary

On our last night together we sit on the hood of my Taurus using the windshield as a backrest and gazing at the endless summer sky. Calvin is leaving in the morning for a college that is four hours away and I’ll start my senior year of high school next week.

He won’t be home for three weeks. Three long weeks.

“Make a wish,” I say when the first star of the night blinks on. I wish for him to have a great first week at college. But the idea of being without him for three days let alone three weeks seems as vast as the heavens that stretch above me. Especially after spending every spare minute together since we made up in July.

I can’t think about that though. I can’t even imagine it. My head rests against his chest as I sit between his legs. My body rises and falls as he breathes, and I lose myself in the perfectness of being here in this moment, feeling his heat flood my back. A moment that tastes of forever and happily ever after.

Then I ruin it. “How can you look at that sky and not believe in God?”

“It’s easy. I look at it and think Big Bang Theory. God is just a crutch for people who are afraid that this is all there is,” Calvin says as he twirls a strand of my long brown hair around his finger.

Is that really what he thinks of me?


  1. Interesting start. You could probably cut the first two paragraphs and lose nothing, but the part that really interests me is the God discussion at the bottom. I'm wondering if there's a way to start with that.

    The "tastes of forever and happily ever after" feels a little melodramatic - not sure if it really endears the main character to the reader. Actually, there are a couple of melodramatic moments - "seems as vast as the heavens that stretch above me; the repetition of "three long weeks" without any sort of thought as to the fact that she can call/text/Skype/generally do any of the things people do to keep in touch.

    Course, I'm not really one for gushy moments to kick off a narrative, so there's that. Still, though, I think the strongest moment by far is the end, more specifically, the last line. There's so much there, whereas the rest seems just to be pre-emptive yearning.

    Just my opinion, obviously, and take it with a grain of salt, since I'm a dyed-in-the-wool cynic when it comes to written romances. Good luck!

  2. I appreciated the description of the physical place and position of the characters. It was very skillfully done and I could see it in my mind's eye. I love the contrast of the peaceful moment with a conflict that was unexpected (the best kind). I would have one criticism about the 3rd paragraph. It reads awkwardly and if you nreak it down has some logic problems - like an idea (of being alone for 3 days/weeks) seems as "vast" as.... (I don't think an idea can be as vast as anything)- maybe find another way of saying what you mean minus the attempt at a poetic flourish which takes the reader out and makes the narrator too obvious. Also, given their rather romantic, peaceful posture, Calvin's response to her inquiry seems a but canned - as if he were in a play and waiting for her to say her line so he could spout his memorized one. It seems more likely he would just go "Hmm mmm" and wouldn't respond in such complete detail unless he were coaxed into it. But, apart from that, you set up something really interesting here and I would be reading on.

  3. Great title!

    I like how you establish setting and mood immediately. You have some wonderful prose, but I think paragraphs 3 and 4 could be trimmed up and fused together as one paragraph.

    This is set up well, and I would definitely read on.

  4. Very interesting conversation at the end. It sets up the conflicting views of the two character very well. However, I wonder if the comment about god is a little too abrupt. Maybe give a hint about their different views at the first few paragraphs to ground the readers a little.

    Please take this with a grain of salt as I am into slower beginnings.

  5. "Then I ruin it..." wonderful twist. I liked the surprise of the theological debate juxtaposed against the great moment.

    Well written and I'd read on.

  6. Ah, the melodrama. I'm embarrassed to admit that I had my first-ever panic attack the morning my boyfriend left for college, leaving me behind to finish my senior year. This scenario definitely brought back some memories (that have fortunately turned amusing with time and triggered no panic attacks!) With that said, I found the setting really good and was definitely grabbed by the God comment. I agree with the earlier comments that the first few paragraphs could be trimmed. It also might be effective to show us some of this information via dialogue between the MC and Calvin, rather than so much telling right off the bat. I also had to pause for a moment with the "He wont be home for three long weeks" thing because I'm assuming he won't actually be BACK in three weeks, but just visiting. That could just be me reading it wrong. I get that she's clinging to that, though. Maybe she would even be thinking about it more dramatic terms- days, minutes, seconds...I remember crossing each day out in red X's on my calendar. And now that I've totally blown any reputation I may have had....

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I like this. I'm just not sure in such a romantic setting that someone would bring up God and the fact that their love one doesn't believe. I would read more to find out why they were broken up to begin with. Was it because he doesn't share her beliefs?

  9. I loved all of it, right up to Calvin's response. If they've had this discussion before, and they have, this isn't the moment he'd risk another break-up, not if he's hoping for what most eighteen-year-old boys are hoping for the night they leave for college.
    I like how you put us right there on the hood of the car. Well done.

  10. I really like your MC's sweetness and naivete. It's very true to how some girls (myself inclued)are in young relationships. Based on that, your title, and the God discussion that comes up at the end of this piece, I'm hoping to see the MC really grow and stand on her own. Beautifully written!

  11. The scene setting was nice and put me there, and any conversation about God and the universe is interesting, but I thought you jumped into it too quickly. It didn't seem a natural extension of the situation. It came off forced and deliberate.

    I also didn't see how she ruined anything since Calvin didn't seem to get upset by her comment. It seemed more a difference of opinion than something that might cause problems between them.

    If that's the basis of the story (God or Science) I think you have to either ease us into it a bit more slowly, or just start with the blowup that caused their breakup (I'm guessing it was this subject?) This may not be the place to start.

  12. Dear Author,


    I was very intrigued by the last 4 paragraphs. It added a very unique conflict that you don't see often in YA, religious disputes between two young lovers.

    However it seemed very out of the blue. I think you could easily start a conversation between the two characters that leads to this revelation and his crutch comment, but you can't just throw it in there. It is too jarring.

    I am super interested to see where this goes, however.


  13. OK, I think you need MORE to make us care about a lovelorn teen mooning over her guy and thinking she can't live without him for three weeks (gack). And this is when she decides to revisit their apparently old you-don't-believe-in-God discussion? And she's just now figuring out this is how he thinks of her?

    Sorry. But I don't think these two parts work together (and I'm admittedly intolerant of girls who think they can't live without seeing a guy for a few weeks). I think there's got to be a more effective way of working these two elements into your beginning, if they both need to be right up front.

  14. Good job. I read YA non-stop and love boy/girl love drama, which felt like that here. My only hold-up was his response. It felt too thought out. I'm thinking you should start with him being frustrated she's even asking again.
    Just my thoughts. Again, good job.

  15. I think saying goodbye to someone you ache for is a great concept...

    Just have some issues with the word choice and how the protagonists relate to each other.

    I agree with some of the other readers who felt this was melodramatic. Also, if she's missing him already, would she bring up God? Wouldn't she be trying to figure a way to see him sooner?

    Seems jarring and like a way to introduce your real topic, religion.

    I don't connect with either of the MCs because of the way they don't really show their affection or lust or whatever for each other.

    He's twirling her hair or his? I've never had a guy do that. Reads strange. Maybe he puts his arm around and pulls her close and tells her he's going to miss her? The flow just isn't there for me.

  16. I like the God conflict. It is really refreshing to come upon something so unique. But, the MC is sounding so pathetic that I would run screaming from the room. She sounds 12 - oh boy 3 weeks without a boy? - I mean, really? Find a way to establish a reason that these two would have a conflict over this particular question and why it is so important to her then you have something. But please lose the pathetic girl who cannot possibly survive without a male in her life. As a woman, I feel yuou have set us back like 5 thousand years.