Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July Secret Agent #42

TITLE: The Doppleganger Diaries
GENRE: YA Light SciFi

Lexi smacks her favorite strawberry milkshake lip gloss between her lips, “Tonight is going to rock.”

Her BFF Jake leans against the door frame and lets out an exaggerated breath, “Yeah, if we ever get there.”

“You can’t rush perfection,” she answers giving his taut abs a love pat. When the usual forgiving smile doesn’t appear, she opts for a different tactic. “There’s leftover meatloaf in the fridge.”

A huge grin spreads across Jake’s face. He’s halfway down the stairs before he shouts back, “Five minutes Lex and I’m leaving without you.”

“Like that will ever happen,” she mumbles with a smile. “Now, just one more accessory.”

Lexi pushes open the closet doors and sighs at the rows of Burberry blouses, Kate Spade skirts, and Valentino dresses. Every time she steps into the massive dressing room—as her mom calls it—she’s certain she hears a chorus of angels singing. She searches the racks of still-tagged designer names until she spots the bomber jacket hidden between some skinny jeans and her dad’s old suits Mom can’t seem to part with.

“Vintage,” she mumbles, smiling as she slips on the worn-to-perfection leather. She turns her hips and admires the way the jacket skims the top of her butt in the floor-to-ceiling mirror. “Thank you swim team.”

Lexi runs her fingers through her long wavy mane for one last pose when something in the mirror catches her eye. She takes a step closer and fans the back of her hair again.

“What the hell?”


  1. I love the ending, it was the perfect cliffhanger and now I totally want to know (read: dying to know!) what is going on. My only issue is the beginning. For me it started off a bit awkward and slow - though it definitely picked up!

    All in all, I'm interested! Good job!

  2. I enjoyed it too! I really appreciated that this author grounded this SciFi story with realism and it worked.

  3. Total honesty: I hate third person present tense. Right away I found it really jarring and a bit challenging to get into. It might work for your novel, but it also might turn off a LOT of people (including agents). Depending on how it continued to read, I might advise rewriting the POV/tense. (but I can't say based solely on the 250 that it needs revision)

    That said, the voice was dripping off the screen! Voicey, slightly zany YA light sci-fi is always fun, and your title intrigues me. I'm very curious as to what unfolds -- is it clones? Long lost twin? Could be a lot of fun.

    One thing that really confused me: why does she thank the swim team? I could not connect what a bomber jacket had to do with it. Maybe you meant b/c it gave her a great body, but bomber jacket + skimming the top of her butt + thanking the swim team does not jibe logically for me.

  4. For me the tense put me off as stated already. I love the question left at the end. best part.

  5. She thanked the swim team for her nice butt! Haha!
    I love the title and the last line--I want to read more even though Sci Fi stuff isn't my thing.

    I want to critique something but I'm not going to dig around for something just so it doesn't sound like I'm cheerleading. I like the voice and the dialogue already with her and Jake.

    Good Luck!

  6. I don't understand the relation between the jacket and swim team. I am curious to know what she sees. I was slightly confused with love pat if Jake is just her BFF, but I guess if they are really close.

    As for third person, present tense...there are lots of very popular YA books out there right now with that POV and they work just fine. Do make sure to keep it active and watch out for telling, and you'll be fine.

  7. I hate to agree with Alexa, but the POV kept me from being pulled into the characters, first person might hook better. Good luck and great start!

  8. It took me just a moment, but I was able to slide right into the story. I like the excerpt for the rich voice. The MC's sass and fashionista style come through with a BAM! kind of flavor.

    By the way, what happens next?? That is a great cliffhanger ending.

    Here are a couple of things that jarred the reading for me:
    "Lexi smacks her favorite strawberry milkshake lip gloss between her lips,"

    This made me think she actually put the tube of lip gloss between her lips. Maybe too much imagination on my part...not ashamed to admit that lol! But perhaps a reword would clear the confusion.

    "Every time she steps into the massive dressing room," sort of threw me because I wasn't aware she was in her mom's room to go into her mom's closet until mention of her dad's old suits, which would be odd to have in Lexi's closet. Perhaps mention of Lexi either being in her mom's room or going to her mom's room can help make that clear.

  9. I love the voice in this piece. Immediately makes me want to read more. I also clicked with Lexi but I'm not certain I would have started the story at this point. It is a great scene but not much happens. I like the ending of this piece - I know something is about to happen but maybe you should start it sooner. I wish you every success with your piece!

  10. The voice in this piece is good, and I liked some of the details, but I had issues really getting drawn in. This may be personal taste though as I am not interested in fashion or the girly things your protagonist seems to enjoy.

    The tense didn't bother me much, however the description of 'taut abs' pulled me out of the story. It just felt jarring with the rest of the tone for some reason.

  11. I have to say, I agree with the others who feel this should be in first person. I at first thought that the MC was watching her friend put on lip gloss, and then I realized the MC is Lexi.

    A couple terms stuck out at me in a negative way: "BFF" and "taut abs" ... for some reason, it just took the fluffy, flighty voice over the edge for me, like it was trying too hard.

    Besides the intrigue of the last line, I also like the hint of her life's imperfection with the mention of "her dad's old suits Mom can't seem to part with." From her glossing over them in narration, I feel like she thinks her mom should've gotten over her dad leaving/dying years ago, which is telling.

    To me, this (with the title and genre taken into consideration) has a feel of the show Dollhouse or Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series.

    As a reader, I'd want Lexi to become (or reveal herself to be) a lot less shallow, or else I would quickly lose interest in her story. Unless she's a silly, Stepford-style doppleganger, and then it makes sense that she's so vapid. I'm intrigued to see where this goes and what the plot is!

  12. The opening could work, but you might want to consider a rewrite first. The writing is unclear, and you're using periods and commas incorrectly.

    Why would she smack her lip gloss between her lips? What is she supposed to be doing? ANd if it's stuffed between her lips, how can she speak? (I know she's supposed to be putting on the lip gloss, but that's not what you wrote.)

    THe massive dressing room - that's what her mom calls it. What does Lexi call it, and why isn't she using that term? WHy is she using MOm's term?

    Are the singing angels literal or figurative?

    She searches the racks of still-tagged designer names . . . You're saying she's searching a rack hung with names that have tags on them.

    Why would Dad's suits be in her closet instead of Mom's, especially if Mom's the one clinging to them? (After reading the comments of others, it seems this may be her mom's closet. If so, make that clearer.)

    I love the idea of a doppleganger, but the writing turns me off. Clean it up and I'd read more.

  13. While you’ve got a lot of terrific details, the story would be stronger if Lexi was a more sympathetic character. The big reveal will help with that, but you might also consider shifting the POV to first person to bring the reader into her world more. As it stands, she feels a bit too shallow and I wasn’t able to relate to her.

    Including a lot of brand names also took me out of the story—it would help to hear more descriptions of the clothes themselves and how much Lexi loves them. Intrigued to hear about the appearance of her doppelganger!

  14. I disliked the girl from the beginning. Too obsessed with brand names that will be outdated before the book is published. It might partly be due to the 3rd person narration. Maybe if we crept under her skin in a 1st person POV to see her worry and insecurities (or any other reason why she wants to look perfect) I might like her better.

    Also, I was lost at why she thanked the swimming team. Did they provide the jacket?

    Still, I'd read some more, if only to find out what she saw in the mirror.

  15. Hey! I've seen and critiqued this before and didn't notice it was here. I like that you pulled it back just enough for us to get an idea of your characters but Lexi is presented as a bit stuck up. I'm not sure if this was done purposefully but you need some likability mixed in. You can have her be a party girl we love. She's feeling a bit gossip-girly here.

    Good luck. Its feeling more full now, not so rushed, so that part was sucessful. Just work on letting the reader relate to Lexi.