Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April Secret Agent #48

TITLE: Rite of Rejection
GENRE: YA Dystopian

Thanks to my mother, today is orchestrated to absolute perfection. Right on schedule, I push the glowing blue button and the door slides open with a staccato puff of air. Overhead, an electric bell tinkles as I step into the store packed with other Candidates. Someday I’ll coordinate perfect plans of my own, but not today. Not on the eve of my Acceptance ceremony.

Cheryl is right behind me, bouncing on her toes with each step. My mother would die of embarrassment if I showed the same lack of decorum as my best friend, but I’m bouncing on the inside. I take a few more measured steps so our mothers can join us and the door slides shut with another whoosh of air.

We visited half the shops in Cardinal City this morning in our search for the perfect dresses and dyed-to-match shoes for tomorrow's ceremony. I got a thrill buying my first pair of silk gloves, Cheryl and I gushing over the tiny pearl buttons, but this is the purchase I'm looking forward to the most.

Shelves bursting with dance cards cover every square inch of wall space. Dozens of girls sigh and squeal over the small books we'll use to record the names of our dance partners for tomorrow's ball. One of these books is the perfect one for me. Hopefully, by the end of tomorrow night it will hold the name of my future husband.


  1. The title of your novel really intrigued me, but I wasn't totally hooked by your opening passage. I was a bit confused because it seems to go back and forth in time, like it starts one night, then talks about the morning and then talks about the ball being tomorrow? But it sounds like the balls is "today" according to the first sentence. So maybe this is just my reading of it, but it made it difficult for follow along. What was neat though is that you have it listed as a dystopian but it sounds like such a cheerful start, so if I was reading it I would definitely be interested to see things go horribly wrong!

  2. This is written beautifully. Very interesting! I'd read more, for sure. :)

    And I love how she keeps bringing in her mother, hints that mom will play a role in this story. Something did trip me up, though. Where is she? What's the room? Because she said "today" is orchestrated to perfection, but then keeps referring to tomorrow being the important day.

    I do realize I'm only reading the first 250 words, so the answer to my question may just be a paragraph away. I'd certainly keep reading to find out. :) I just thought I'd mention the possible confusion, just in case the answer isn't mentioned soon.

    Thanks for sharing. Good luck!

  3. I like your title. With these types of dystopian tales you have to be careful. Sooner or later to me they all start sounding the same. I think you need something to set it apart from the pack. I really want to know more how the main character is feeling. We see Cheryl's excitement, but I would like to see the main character’s excitement. I also would like to understand what's the ceremony about, I get it's only 250 words and you probably tell us later on, it's just with the opening I want to be pulled in and understand. I don't know if this makes any sense. But I would keep reading because I really enjoy dystopian stories.

  4. Intriguing title.
    Felt like I learned more about the mother and Cheryl than the MC. A bit confused as to how a dance equals an "Acceptance" ceremony. Not sure where this is happening.

  5. You're building good atmosphere here, but I feel a bit hurried through this. Take your time to really set things up. Ease us into this world.

  6. I like the writing and the scenario, but I agree with the others in that there's a bit of confusion as to where this all is taking place (my final view: the mall) and when.

    I definitely feel like more time could be spent in the set-up. I suppose the question is, why are we starting here rather than her buying of the dress or the actual day of the ceremony?

    And I also agree that having more of the MC would be beneficial. Cheryl and the mom are painted so expertly in such small strokes and I end up knowing/feeling very little about the MC. I have this same problem, mostly because I much more comfortable with description of exteriors than emotional interiors. Something to think about in revision is working towards making the MC as apparent to us as everyone else is to her.

  7. I dunno about the others, but I got this...her mother has orchestrated the shopping trip to get everything for the ball and to keep the MC on schedule and beautifully turned out.

    I liked this. Love the dance cards! A relic of the past I've not read about for a long time. I'd keep reading!

  8. I agree that this is beautifully written. Yes, I would read on.
    BUT the writing style of this might be a bit older than YA due to sentence structure and tone.

    As a beginning, I like to be grounded in the scene: what room is she in? Are they on earth?

    It is hard to show a lot in 250 words, but you have given lots of detail here. Good job!

  9. I didn't really get hooked into this opening because the word choices felt too old for a young adult narrator. This would work beautifully in an adult narration, though.

  10. The writing was really clean and the unique details (e.g. the dance cards) really drew me in. I especially liked the closing sentence. It tells us a lot about this world and what the MC values. Nice work. Good luck with this.

  11. I was intrigued by your opening and the MC's relationship with her mother. I also thought the voice was a bit old, but it can work for upper YA and since it is dystopian, it's difficult to say with such a small section whether it fits or not. I would definitely read on!

  12. Thank you, everyone, for you great comments. You've given me some things to go back and tweak which is exactly what I wanted. Thanks, again!