Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January Secret Agent #26

TITLE: A Tear Between Worlds
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

Chloe’s eyes were guarded and dark with secrets. She sat across from me, staring into her coffee and checking her phone and looking over my shoulder, but she wouldn’t look at me. Her once bright smile had faded, and her dimples were gone. Everything I’d feared had come true. Chloe had let them change her.

“What did they do to you?” I asked.

“They showed me the truth,” she said.

Chloe turned eighteen yesterday. Like everyone from Riverton Hills, she was taken out of school and inducted as a member of The Riverton Mission. But unlike the others, Chloe had promised she wouldn’t let it happen. She didn’t believe the religion’s lies any more than I did. Yet here she was, another one of their pawns.

And a week from tomorrow it would be my turn.

“You believe them, don’t you? That’s why you don’t want to be here. You think I’m damned,” I said.

Chloe looked up from her drink. Her gray-green eyes met mine.

“It’s not like that, Vic.” And that was all she said. She ran a hand through the back of her pixie-cut blond hair and turned her focus back to the coffee.


  1. I am intrigued by this. You have a great way of writing that shows the reader this scene. I feel the same trepidation as your main character. Showing how Chloe changed was done nicely, without just telling.

    I'd read on, I want to know more about what I'm assuming is much more than a typical cult.

  2. I liked this. This is interesting and reminds me of another book I read about society trying to control everyone's thoughts. Interesting take if you are going towards the religion aspect of it. I'd definitely read on.

  3. I like this a lot - I think it's a very strong beginning! I have a lot of questions already - was she really "taken" from school - by force? What do you mean by "damned"? Is this a Christian religion, or something else? Why DID she agree to have coffee when she plainly doesn't want to be there?

    Questions are good. :)

  4. Interesting beginning. Sets up all kinds of possibilities. I like the tension that in one week it will be MC's turn. I'd read on.

  5. IMO, rethink your first few sentences. You tell us her eyes are "guarded and dark with secrets" and then you show us this. If this was mine, I'd start with: Everything I'd feared had come true. Chloe had let them change her.
    That's your hook. Everything before is just filler.
    This reminds me of the set up for Delirium...which I loved.

  6. I don't know if this is truly about religion or something else. I'm kind of hoping religion as I think that would be unique, but I'm intrigued either way. I agree with the previous comment about changing up your start. I wasn't in love with sentence two, and starting with "everything I'd feared..." gets away from that. I almost think if you reversed the order of these sentences it'd be great. I don't mind a touch more narrative before the dialogue but maybe streamline it a touch. Great job!

  7. You guys! This is so helpful. Especially thanks to Lori and Rewrighter. I'm a little shocked I didn't come to this conclusion myself. Thank you, thank you!

  8. I love the feeling of fear you set up right away. I'd definitely read on. I think your first sentence might be stronger if you were more specific -- I'd love to see Chloe's eyes or face right away with Vic. I love the rest of the first paragraph. Unlike readers above, I like the second sentence because it puts us right there. Other small suggestions: I'd like to see how Chloe looks or hear how her voice sounds when she says, "They showed me the truth." What a powerful line. I can also imagine having some kind of physical reaction or movement from Vic after the line "And a week from tomorrow it would be my turn."I enjoyed this a lot!

  9. I thought rewriter's suggestion for an opening was great, as was Carol's suggestion to add a look or a movement to Vic's They showed me the truth line.

    You've created some nice mood here, as well as tension and suspense. My only suggestion would be to eliminate parg four completely and move parg five so you don't interrupt the dialogue, and then after the last parg., find a way to slip in parg 5 as your ending for the 250 words.

    Parg four is there solely for the reader's benefit. Perhaps let that info come out in conversation or some other way.

  10. Just Another YA AuthorJanuary 18, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    Great advice on this so far. I like your writing style and would continue reading. The only thing that made me think twice was the concept of "something bad" happening at a certain very young age. Sometimes it's 16, or 18, or 20, but it's all the same idea, and I'm at the point where I'm sick of seeing this plot device in YA. (That is just my own opinion, though, I'm sure there is still an audience for it.)

  11. Rewriter had a very good suggestion for where to start. Paragraph 4 and 5 are backstory, and it would be so much more intriguing if you didn’t provide us with the answers to the questions in your setup right away. With those changes, I’d be interested in finding out where you’re going with this. Is it another dystopian, or are you going down a path exploring religion, which could be interesting. I also agree with the comment that it would stand out from the crowd a bit more if it wasn’t something that happened on a particular birthday.

  12. I agree with Rewriter, this reminds me of Delirium. Maybe changing the date away from a birthday would help?