Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October Secret Agent #28


My second biggest fear is that I'll wake up one day and realize I've squandered the time away, sucked up all my youth together and spit it out on one wasted shot.

So far, I'm doing an awful job. I've been sitting here for twenty minutes listening to my neighbor shovel her driveway. Our bathroom window is parallel to her bedroom window, which always makes hiding in here kinda like a covert operation, one where you have to check and see if her car is in the driveway before you come to steal a smoke when you don't feel like trekking outside in the cold. I drop my cigarette in a cup of water, hearing the sad little sizzle it makes, when my phone buzzes on the windowsill.

"no school kick off fest starts ... now," Amelia texts.

Today is the first day of winter break, which means yesterday was the last day I'll be stuck inside Iron Hill High until next year. What I do with the next two weeks is entirely up to me, though I'll probably spend half the time with Amelia. She has this way of turning everything boring into fun, like the one person you wish would walk into your lame, comatose party and breathe life into it for you. Amelia can even make calculus mutate into the greatest place you’ve ever been. Though in the end, no matter where you are, you'll either get in trouble or get hurt.


  1. I am a little confused about what is going on here. Is the neighbor the one who will bring the consequences (for smoking, I assume?) Will the neighbor tell her parents? Is that why she is smoking in the bathroom of her own house? If she feels confident to do that, why is it covert because cigarettes are very pungent and obvious to anyone who doesn't smoke. I think you need to address that question. Maybe her parents are also smokers and wouldn't notice unless the neighbor told them? Maybe I am way off track in understanding what is going here, but I think it would be relatively easy to clear up some of these questions.

    I would also suggest expanding your last paragraph about Amelia with an example to give that character life. What is an example of her making boring things fun? " that time she thought Jerry's little sister's giant stuffed bear was a pinata and beat the stuffing out with a pool cue." I want to know how she makes calculus mutate into something fun.

  2. I think hiding in the bathroom to smoke is a great way to show the type of person your MC is. The beginning is a little confusing. I'm not sure why she's lamenting about her second greatest fear. What's her first? It seems like that would be more interesting.

    The last paragraph reads a little like an info dump. Most of that can be sprinkled in and shown by her later interactions with Amelia. I'd still read on though, I'd like to see what kind of trouble Amelia brings, especially since your MC is set up as someone who sneaks cigarettes in the bathroom, so I'm assuming that her definition of trouble is a little more hardcore.

  3. I love how you don't tell the reader right off the bat what her first biggest fear is...makes me want to find out! Overall, I think this is really strong. You have a great voice going on here. My one crit is to see if you can trim down the last paragraph a bit because it seems a bit chunky.

  4. I think this rambles from the cigarette, the neighbor, the second greatest fear, her friend, etc., and we're waiting for something to happen. I wonder if it would be better to start at that point instead.

  5. I like how you go to her 2nd biggest fear! Having said that, the fear sounds like the kind of thing an adult would warn a teen about so it would be stronger if you said something like "My that I'll wake up one day and realize that Mom is right: I've squandered..." or something like that.

    You tell us that there is no school and it's winter break and that this means there's no school. Try to tell us this information once and leave it at that. I'd go with winter break. We all know what that means.

    There is a lot of telling going on in the final paragraph. Try to turn this into thoughts instead. Maybe she can be excited to get Amelia's text because she makes things fun and life is not fun right now?

    Although it could be worded in a slightly stronger way, I like the way the last line alludes to conflict.

    Good luck!

  6. We like the writing and we are thinking this is a female MC, but are not sure since Amelia could be a friend of a guy just as easily as a girl’s friend. We hear what her second biggest fear is, which makes me wonder what her #1 biggest fear is. The curiosity raised here is nice. The writing is good, but we wish there was more of a hook.

  7. Nice writing here. I thought the first three pargs worked well. They show the type of person your MC is. The last parg seems to ramble in its explanation of Amelia. Perhaps give us that description when we actually meet her and find a way to get the story started instead.

  8. Love that first line! Except for the mention of "youth." It seems too mature for a teen to say.

    The first part of the entry is really good! There is introspection and I get a feel for the MC's personality, but when you segue into Amelia, I'm thrown. I feel like these first 250 words should be about your MC, but the focus switches over to Amelia. I can tell she will be important later on, but in these first 250, move the action up on what the MC is planning to do.

    Good luck with this! I wish you the best!

  9. Interesting opening line but second paragraph doesn't grab me since a character listening to her neighbor shovel doesn't make for an exciting character. It did give info about the setting though and I liked that you including the sizzling to help draw us with the sense. But feel like we get more info about Amelia than the main character.