Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July Secret Agent #44

TITLE: Chrysalis
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

"I think you qualify as the worst brother in the entire world."

"There have to be worst brothers." Brandon looked down at Aithley as he paused his locker digging. "I drive you all over the place and I let you beat me up all the time."

"I'm going to break Ethan's nose." Her green eyes were narrowed but she said it with a smile. Brandon sighed and ran his hand through his hair.

"Go for it."

"A better brother would do it for me."

"Well, I'm the only one you've got. You are more than capable of breaking his nose. I've told him you're not interested. I told him how seriously we take Rule Fifteen. He's met Dad."

"He's not listening! Brandon--" She cut herself off and huffed. "It's not that he's an unbearable moron."

"You spent the entire summer flirting with him. He can't be that unbearable." She glared but her anger had dissipated. She was about to get melancholy. He was pretty sure that was worse. "I thought you two had fun at theater camp."

"We did. I just want to be friends. But I'm not interested. I will never be interested." Yep. She was melancholy now. "Like you and Tiffany." Of course she had to bring up Tiffany.

"Me punching him in the face won't change that." He sighed again and turned back to his locker. He tried to find his biology book. Aithley lost patience and yanked it out for him.

"He doesn't respect me.


  1. This passage is very passive. Try to make it more active by getting rid of the was and had verbiage.

    Starting with dialogue can be a bit jarring since we don't know who's speaking. You could start with the character's actions (the one speaking). She's angry, so is she pacing, banging her head against a locker, pulling her own hair out etc? Show us what she's feeling.

    I think the scene as a whole is a good place to start. It shows the sibling relationship and gives the reader a good idea about what I assume are the two main characters in the novel.

    You are off to a good start, it just needs some polishing off.

  2. He paused his locker digging? What does that mean? Or maybe you're just missing a word. I like the angst between the siblings
    Confused as to whose POV. I'm usually okay with multiples but this just threw me.
    I was curious if she thinks he's a moron or not. That was also unclear. The problem is 250 words isn't enough to really get a feel for the story.

  3. I like the interaction between the siblings. There was one time the POV threw me, but I figured it. Could you give a little of the sister's thoughts or feelings before her dialogue.

  4. I love that this is a scene between a bro and a sister and I like that there's the banter but somehow it doesn't seem to get too far. For instance, She says she wants to punch him but then at the end she says punching him isn't going to change things. I'd rather hear more about rule 15 or get harder into some details instead of just general comments about flirting or being unbearable. I hope that makes sense.
    I definitely like how the mention of Rule 15 and Dad makes me curious to find out more.

  5. I'd like to see & feel what's going on around and with Brandon & Aithley. The dialogue is okay, but I'm not grounded in the scene. Even so, I'd probably keep reading.

  6. Should expand on the moment in description after the first sentence. It sets a tone and then you need to paint a picture before jumping back into the dialogue. Who's talking? Where are they? What's going on? You need to get our imaginations going. I like the first sentence. Draws you in.

  7. I found this a little hard to follow. I think I felt no connection with the characters. It was a little hard to follow the conversation. Maybe you just started the story at the wrong place. The opening ch is so hard to get right...I rewrote mine so many times. I like the connection between the brother and sister, though. I wish you every success with your piece.

  8. I had some trouble getting into this passage. For me it felt very generic. Also, I didn't get a good sense of being grounded in the story. There is a good relationship at the heart of this, but to draw me in it needed more.

  9. I thought the sibling relationship was well built. The brother reads the sister very well. And you can start to see that their family is strict. Here are some constructive critiques. It's hard at first to tell from whose perspective this is coming from. It should be 'there are worse brothers in the world' not worst.
    The title is very intriguing, I would read more to see how that fits in and to find out what rule 15 is.

  10. I think this could work, but doesn't as is. Instead of reading, I have to work to figure out what you mean.

    I imagined it was AIthley's POV. Then it switches to Brandon's, and it seems it's supposed to be his, but I'm not sure. Pick a POV and stick with it.

    Paused his locker digging is awkward, and 'I'm going to break EThan's nose' seems to come out of nowhere.

    Who is the older of the two?

    If A. just wants to be friends with Brandon, why was she flirting with him? Then she says, "I just want to be friends. But I'm not interested.' Again, she's contradicting herself. I know you mean she's not interested in him as a boyfriend, but it's not written that way.

    Would a teenage boy use the word melancholy?

    The 2nd and 3rd last pargs are confusing as to who is speaking. Maybe use correct parg breaks so it's easier to tell who's saying what.

    Overall, I'd suggest a rewrite to make this all clearer.

  11. The POV in this is very disconcerting. I spent most of the extract trying to work out whose POV we were in, and then realised it was switching.

    This is all backstory - and doing it in dialogue didn't work for me because it dragged on. I'd cut the talking to a minimum and build the back story in as you go - don't info dump on the very first page.

  12. I love the idea of a sibling conversation opening up your novel. These paragraphs are very dialogue-heavy, though, and your characters throw a lot of info out very quickly – I wasn’t sure where to focus. The POV also seemed to shift midway, and I was unsure whether this was Brandon or Aithley’s story. I would recommend picking one POV and exploring more of your main character’s thoughts behind his or her dialogue, rather than letting the conversation set up the whole story.

    You can also do a quick check for passive phrases and shift everything into a more active voice, which will help keep your reader engaged.

  13. I agree with what's been said in terms of dialogue overload relaying the info. The dialogue could be shortened to not reveal as much so that it starts off with bad brother convo and ends with the sister's frustration of the guy not respecting her. Incorporate more action and let some of the rest of the info be delayed for later when it may be more relevant and I think you have a great beginning.

  14. This is what I cann the Talking Head syndrome. We hear the people but don't see where they are and what they do. As far as I'm concerned, the two and a locker with nothing in it that needs digging through for a biology book are in a white void. No sounds, no smells, no other people around. I think if you involve your senses a bit more, this could be an intriguing beginning.

  15. P.S. I love the title though. It hints at great changes.