Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September Secret Agent #13

TITLE: Wavehouse
GENRE: YA Contemporary

“Anna,” she cooed. “Six to eight feet at Early’s. Clean lines. Perfect barrels.”

I moaned and turned over in bed. It seemed the only time my mother, Sara, used that sweet tone of voice lately was to describe waves or guys. It hadn’t always been that way. Only a few years back it seemed she was sweet about lots of stuff. Not any more. I yanked the sheet over my head.

“Suit yourself,” her tone impatient now, “But if you want a ride, you’ve got ten minutes.”

My door slammed. Thanks a lot Sara, I thought. For tempting me with ideal surf conditions. For always being impossible to ignore. For making me choose, but making your opinion loud and clear.

I opened my eyes and stared at the clock. 6:00. 6:05. 6:09. I closed my eyes one last time and tried to re-imagine the place I had just been, a dream house, a wavehouse. The roof was an impossible green-blue hill of ocean water edged with a white curl of foam. The walls were made of shells and fish bones. If I had gotten out of bed a few minutes earlier and sketched the wavehouse in my notebook it would have existed, at least on paper. But the idea of an ace morning surf session was getting in the way. Now my dream dwelling was blurred from memory, replaced by real wave yearnings.

Surfing wasn’t a choice for me, it was a calling.


  1. This is very well written. My only concern would be that I've heard so many agents say they cringe when a book starts with the MC getting out of bed or dreaming. Is it possible to start in another spot?
    Good luck!

  2. I like the idea of a surfer girl MC. Normally I'm not one for starting off with dialogue, but you clearly let us know who's speaking and a part of the scene. I might still try and start with an action rather than someone talking, but that's a personal opinion.

    Based on your description I want to go to the wavehouse :) Good luck!

  3. I like the writing. I think as far as that goes, you've done a good job. But I agree about starting the book in another spot.

    If surfing is a calling, why don't you show us that instead of tells us? Or start with a scene that shows us why we need to hear Ana's story. What's happened that's different from any other day?

  4. The first line had me confused for a bit, so I agree with the others that you might want to consider starting differently.

    The description is really nice, and you seem to know your main character well.

  5. For someone who's calling is surfing, it's sure taking a long time to get her a** out of bed. ;) She sounds more like my 8 year old on a school day.

    Your last sentence is actually two sentences. Separate them either with a period or comma.

    I'm not hooked, but I would read another page or two to see where it was going (and if she gets out of bed).

    Good luck!

  6. My favorite part of this is the vivid description of the "wavehouse." That said, I'm not sure I'd keep reading because I'm not really sure where this is going. If the narrator loves surfing but doesn't want to get out of bed, maybe you should give a reason for it - she was up late the night before sketching perhaps?

  7. I really liked this line: "For making me choose, but making your opinion loud and clear." It is very telling about the mother.

    The narrator not wanting to jump out of bed didn't bother me. It seems to me this is a very 'teenage' reaction -- especially if she feels she is being rushed or that her mother is 'judging' her.

    I do wonder if there is a better place to start. Maybe with the narrator surfing. Could she wipe out and look up to see "the hill of ocean water edged with a white curl foam" and remember the Wavehouse dream from the night before?

    This passage caused me to wonder why her mother changed (she's not sweet about lots of stuff anymore). Did the mother really change for some reason or is this just the narrator's flippant observation?

    Nice job!

  8. Given I love YA contemporaries with a sport/activity angle (CATCHING JORDAN, MOONGLASS) I would keep reading. I agree with the others that choosing a more compelling spot to open the story may be to your advantage. If she's already outside, dragging her board across the sand while her mother talks in the sweet chirpy voice, then we can see how she takes in the waves and the beach and the time of day rather than grumpily not wanting to get up and thinking of a dream.

    I'm sure you have a great story here, and I hope you find the start of your story that works best for you!

  9. The voice is here and there's tension from the relationship with the mother, but I agree that this is starting in the wrong place. I get no sense of what the main problem is going to be unless it is mainly focused around the realtionship with her mother.

    I liked the description of the wavehouse but this opening needs more action.

  10. I had trouble caring about this character and the story. I don't surf, but that wasn't the obstacle--if someone makes me understand their own passion, then I'm in. Perhaps, though, if the sample had been longer, my opinion would have been different. And I do like contemporary YA with annoyingly hip or youthful parents.