Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January Secret Agent #45

TITLE: Kisses and Curses
GENRE: YA Paranormal

"You're freaking out, aren't you?" Alyssa Vandevsen looks down on me from the extra three inches of height provided by her spiked, snakeskin heels, and gives me her patented I-see-right-through-you stare. "I told this party was a bad idea."

I pull on my goes-with-anything sweater, which has the benefit of requiring me to break eye contact with Lys, and try not to hyperventilate. "I'm not freaking out. I just hate to be late."

"I can tell when you're lying, Rory. You get all--"

"What?" I look up.

Lys is staring at my mouth. As if her gaze has conjured the sensation, my upper lip tingles.

"Your lips," she says.

The tingle develops into a prickle. Seizing on the distraction, I run into the adjoining bathroom.

Was I stung by a bee? Did someone shoot me full of Botox as part of some elaborate practical joke?

I do a quick visual inspection, but it's hard to tell what's going on given my sorry excuse for a mirror. The narrow oval is tarnished, and the silver scrollwork border eats into the small amount of useable surface area.

Lys strolls into the room behind me. "Did you get a new lipstick?"

My lips don't look puffy, but the deep red color of the overpriced lip stain I bought this morning hasn't faded. I press my lips together and feel a spark, like a faint electricshock.


  1. Hmmm...this sounds interesting. The sparking, maybe-cursed lipstick? And not being fully honest with one's best freind. I'm intrigued enough to read more.

  2. Interesting, but the most dramatic part is what happens in the last paragraph with her lips. Perhaps some of the dialogue could be compressed so that you get to the tingly lips part right away. And what exactly is happening? Otherwise, it's intriguing. Good luck!

  3. I like this. From the beginning, you've grabbed my attention, and I can totally see two friends talking about a party, even if the MC barely says anything. You're establishing these characters early on, and it works. I don't think you need to compress dialogue as Mari suggests; you get to the sparking lips quick enough in my opinion. That said, I wouldn't mind a few more details about the main character. I can easily picture Alyssa from the first line. Maybe work a few more physical details in about the MC when she looks in the narrow oval mirror?
    Honestly, I loved this, and I like all the foreshadowing, from the impending party, to the lying to the best friend, to the sparking lips. I'd love to read more.

  4. I really like this. Your writing flows very nicely and I can easily picture what's going on. I love the camaraderie between the girls. I'm intrigued by the electric lipstick and would definitely read on!

  5. There's a type in the first paragraph.

    "I told YOU this party was a bad idea."

    To be honest it took me a bit to realize anything was wrong with her lips. Lys is talking, but doesn't finish her sentence. Immediately Rory asks, "what?" It might help if you show Lys physically when she stops talking. That way we know something is wrong. Does her mouth hang open? Eyes wide in terror? It might help with transition.

  6. I was going to suggest the same thing as Rebecca: that you look at how the paragraph about the friend noticing the MC's lips ended. At first I thought she was suggesting that something happened to Rory's lips when she lied! (At least I'd end the quote with elipses rather than a dash, but a dialogue tag to indicate she trails off would also help.)

  7. I really like this, although I was worried when you started with dialogue. You certainly have the teenage voice down!

  8. I'm with Mari- but totally pulled in too...Great description of the mirror. I got a great visual.

    Super start!

  9. I liked this. I’ve got the mystery of the party and why it might be a bad idea, and the mystery of the lipstick, or her lips, which are enough to make me want to keep reading. You might cut Alyssa’s last name and get it in somewhere else. I’d even suggest changing it since it was hard for me to read. It didn’t just flow off the lips. I had to think about how to pronounce it, and where the accent went. I’d read more.

  10. Just Another YA AuthorJanuary 19, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    Very intriguing. I'd keep reading to see where it goes.

  11. This is a fun concept, but it’s not really grabbing me. Nice teen girl dialogue, but I’m not drawn in by the fact that the MC’s lipstain is still on. The most exciting element is the spark at the end, but this opening just isn’t compelling enough to hook me. Others have said that perhaps showing more of a reaction from Lys might help to show that this is something pretty out of the ordinary, and I agree.