Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August Secret Agent #16

TITLE: Abby's Turn

Like you, I was born. The similarities end there.

I’m unique.

And I hate that.

It’s not an ego thing; seriously, I wish we were more alike. To be precise, I wish I was more like you and everyone else. And less like… Duh. If I had a comparison I wouldn't be writing this.

Hold on. Stop right there. I’m writing this note so that when you find it, you’ll know what happened. EXCUSE ME for interrupting your objections!

You’re hardly the first to observe that we both eat, drink, sleep, fart, and whatever else you want to think about. So do seals and starfish and every other earthly creature. I readily concede my body is subject to biochemistry and physics just like everyone else’s.

That’s just another way of saying I was born.

And, as I pointed out, the similarities end there.

Wait a minute, you say (interrupting again). We’re both girls, we both have brown hair, and we both think the same boys are leeches and the same boys are not too bad.

Fine. But that’s a shared illusion. How many times do I have to explain this? It’s merely biochemistry, and I just conceded that!

We’re different because you belong here on Earth. You fit in, like the seals and the starfish.

Not me. I’m on the wrong planet.

It took a while, but I finally realized this two years and seventeen days ago. I remember that day distinctly because it was the last time I wanted to live.


  1. Hm, intriguing. The narrator is off-putting, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Though why I would care that they don't want to live anymore is a question, if we're not meant to like them in the first place.

    I don't love the "hey, stop interrupting me" voice, though. I'm not sure it works given that this is supposedly a note. Does anyone write notes like that? Even people who are Different?

  2. I'm on the fence with this one, but overall I'm hooked. This has voice, it's a little different, but I can roll with it. It seems like like a note than just plain narrative, so it may help if it's an actual note to start it with "Dear x:" to ground the reader. That sort of device can definitely work, I would look at how other books do the same thing.

    As with any opening, some concrete details added in soon will help to ground the reader in the story. This style propels forward for sure, but not much is actually said here.

  3. The voice is interesting and I'm intrigued by the MC's apparent predicament of being different.

    I'm not sure I like how the narrator directly addresses the reader. The big "EXCUSE ME" really threw me off because (and this is the problem with breaking the fourth wall), I wasn't objecting or making any of those following observations.... FWIW.

    (Except then the MC tells me my hair is brown, and--okay, so my hair is brown but--I don't really know who she's talking to, now.)

    But mostly, it just goes on too long. The MC is different. Okay. But I need to know how and why pretty soon. The rambling just isn't holding my attention. I think this might work better if you showed the MC in a scene that demonstrated how she was different rather than her just telling us she is.

    As it is, I think there are too many one-sentence paragraphs here. It makes things a little disjointed.

  4. Maybe make it clearer whom she is writing to from the beginning, as the others said.

    I do like that she's different and little testy. Makes the reader wonder why. That is good.

  5. You weave an interesting voice. But the writing does ramble and repeat. Maybe this is your way of showing character?

    However, this is not a book I would choose to read. The hook doesn't not pull me in.

    Good luck.

  6. I like the idea of the note, but I think it goes on a little too long and starts to feel repetitive. I also think you should start it with "Dear so-and-so" if it is meant to be directed to a specific person. If not, if it's just directed to a general "you," the brown hair mention is confusing and should probably be changed. I also think the imaginary interruptions aren't necessary and just slow things down and add to the confusion. I am curious about the 'wrong planet' and would read on to see exactly what is going on here.

  7. I honestly think you could scratch everything between the first line and the last line. Those two lines work very well. The rest was difficult to get through. I'm not a fan of the narrator speaking directly to the reader and she is also assuming the reader/listener is a girl (but that may not always be the case). Her attitude also seems over-the-top and makes me dislike her. That's not someone whose head I want to walk around in for 300 pages (or have yelling at me for 300 pages). The idea intrigues me, but the character lost me.


  8. Nothing happened. The MC is just venting. It takes 250 words for her to say she comes from another planet, and if that was said in sentence one, you'd hook your reader right away.

  9. You have a distinctive and attention grabbing voice but readers will either love it or hate it! I think that you need to be very careful with the direct conversation with the reader eg "Wait a minute, you say..' as you're forcing the reader to engage instead of gently creating the fictional dream. If you want to use this style I think I'd build the scene, the setting and allow us to connect with the protagonist before launching into the conversation with the reader. Best of luck!

  10. I have mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, the voice is strong, which is a great thing. It makes her unique (whatever else makes her unique, I'm not entirely sure yet, but a hint comes at the end, which I'll get to). On the other hand, it tries a little too hard, to the point of being off-putting. For what, I don't know yet. She's writing a note, yet she seems to have a problem with an objector to this note, which seems out of place. She can't object to the reader who hasn't read it yet. One suggestion to fix this would be to maybe create another character who she butted heads with about these issues, or maybe one that she's currently butting heads with as she's writing the note. That might put her misplaced off-putting behavior in perspective. The point you really need to get to comes at the end, which is great - that she's on the wrong planet. Now THAT is intriguing. Good luck with this!