Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July Secret Agent #8

GENRE: YA - Paranormal

It's not every day someone dies in Mr. Sample's sixth period physics class. We were in lab and The Samp was going on about something, but I wasn't listening. I was updating my Facebook page to say I'm now completely and definitely single. We're not supposed to use our cell phones during class or even in the hall, but this was an emergency. Thankfully I did, and just in time. Now Kent Adams will always be remembered as the guy who broke up with me on the day I died.

Perfect, it's what he deserves. He dumped me at lunch. I was devastated during fourth period, angry in fifth, and over him by sixth. I'm a quick griever. I told him I wasn't ready. I'm barely sixteen and we'd only been dating for three measly little weeks. I guess when it didn't happen at prom, he figured he'd move on. That's fine. Bye-bye.

We were doing electrical current experiments — two bulbs in a series circuit, two bulbs in a parallel circuit, and something else. I wasn't really paying attention, which is my fault, but I was going to catch up after I checked my inbox.

Freddie, my lab partner, wasn't paying attention either. She was conducting an experiment of her own and surreptitiously sipping from the diet cherry cola sitting in her giant purse. She fancies herself a bit of a mad scientist, but she's much more of an Igor if you ask me. That's a joke. I love Freddie.


  1. Great start. You frequently hear that starting in class isn't a good idea, but you make it work with a hooky first like and strong voice through the first page.

    I'm not sure if the last bit where she calls her friend an Igor, then takes it back works. I'd have to read more. And I would read more. Excellent job here.

  2. This is very cute. Keep going because I want to read this book.

  3. Hooked. I love characters who are a little self-involved while still being nice to others around them. One minor thing is many readers don't like being addressed by the character. (The Freddy/Igor para). It's fine for me, though.

    What I like about this scene/plot is it seems to be setting up a girl who is pretty easy going and drops her into a serious situation (she's dead!). That's gold to me. I know I can expect humor in the situation.

    So yes, love the voice, love the character and you've set us all up to need to read more. Good job!

  4. You have a lot of good things here, but I do think you're rambling, jumping back and forth between ideas.

    Perhaps cut the second sentence in parg 1 and replace it with parg 3.
    Then make parg 4 parg 2. Take the remainder of parg 1 (from - I was updating my Facebook page on) and make that parg 3, and make parg 2 parg 4.

    You could also cut '6th period' from the first sentence. As is, it implies that while people don't usually die in sixth period physics, they do in first through fifth period physics.

    What you have works, I think. It just needs a bit of restructuring.

  5. "The Samp" is awesome, I love it.

    The first line deserves its own platform; I would switch the next line into its own new paragraph for impact.

    After it's revealed that your MC is the one who died, I think a follow up line, as its own paragraph, could work really well. Something that confirms to the reader, yes, I just said I died, which is totally weird but don't worry, I'll explain. However it's stated, I do think it needs to be acknowledged before I can buy in with the details.

  6. I enjoyed this. It's got a good voice, intriguing hook (um how did she die??), and it's fun in a creepy sort of way. I'd read more to find out what's going on.

    Nice job and good luck.

  7. Love the first paragraph. Great hook, although I think it would have an even greater punch if you took out some of the extraneous stuff. For example you don't need "I wasn't listening." It's implied. I'd also leave out "or even in the hall." Plus,I'd leave out either "Mr. Sample's" or "sixth period" in the first sentence (or possibly both) to tighten that.

    My only gripe is the second paragraph. This is back story and it really slows this down here. We probably need it later, but your MC just told us she died--a fantastic hook. We want to know how she died or her reaction to dying. Or some assurance she isn't pulling our legs. We don't want to hear about the loser boyfriend at this point.

    There are little problems. This is really a strong opening and I'd definitely keep reading it.

  8. I like the voice a lot, but I don't like the jumping around. You start with someone dying, then go to dumping (decrease of tension), then casually say that SHE dies (upping tension) and then drifting off with electrical current experiments (strong decrease of tension).

    I love the Igor comparison, but would cut the "It's a joke" statement.

    Also, I'm still wondering if Mr. Sample isn't too much as a name for a teacher -- if it's his nickname, you might want to make that clearer.

    All in all, a good start that can be perfected with some polishing.

  9. I’m hooked with the opening sentence. Once the reader knows that your main character is the one who dies, it would be great to hear another line from her—even if it’s just a jokey reflection on the big reveal. I lost the story a bit once you started to talk about Freddie the lab partner (who seems funny in her own right, but could be introduced later.) Absolutely love that your narrator calls her teacher “the Samp.”

    Very fun set-up--I would keep reading if this came in to me.

  10. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to read and comment. The feedback is invaluable.

    Barbara, you are a writer's dream Beta Reader. Your comments rock.