Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October Secret Agent #33

TITLE: Posse Smackdown: A Tica Manus Story
GENRE: New Adult Science Fiction


Tica Manus sat ramrod straight in the chair that was too stiff for her backside, dress whites chafing her skin, fingers itching to grab at Sean Lander’s cap as he sat in front of her. The urge to smush the white cap down on her friend’s fool head was bubbling through her body, but she kept her hands folded in her lap, one perfect cadet among hundreds sitting in neat rows on the manicured lawn in front of Peregrine Hall. She wondered why she was so tempted to blow the stunt they had planned, her fingers twitching in her fellow cadet’s direction, her eyes playing over the sandy hair beneath the purple band of his cap. The perfect graduation stunt. He’s sitting right in front of me because his name begins with L.

The Commandant was doing the duty and honor thing from the podium, face no longer purple like his shoulder boards, and Tica chuckled to herself at his hoarse voice—no time for him to recover from that morning’s toilet prank. Cadets on either side gave her a glance, Sean’s neck muscles visibly tightened, and she realized the chuckling had come out loud. Giddy over what was coming next, she decided to tamp her mood down. Fingers perfectly still, concentrating on the smell of the freshly-mowed lawn, she was a model cadet again, and . . .


Sean had snuck his left hand up towards his cap, and she realized he was starting their prank.


  1. I think the idea of school pranks are fun, but it has more of an upper-MG/lower-YA feel to it than NA. I think a few details about the prank up front would be good too to set the scene. I'm not getting much of a sci-fi feel to this either.

    Your MC seems like a trickster, and I think that could make her a really interesting character, but I feel a little detached from her. There are a few instances of filtering, the use of "she realized" twice, that take me out of the story, making me feel like I'm being told what is happening rather than being along for the ride.

  2. I agree with Sonia's comments, the exception being that I did connect with Tica. You've done a good job with the 3rd person POV.

  3. There were a few things that bothered me about this one.

    The scene setting in the first paragraph is fine.

    o The line that starts 'He's sitting right...' feels forced. You said earlier he was in front of her. Why would she think this thought? She is in the scene and knows it already. Why point out his name starts with L? Since he seems to be in on the gag, perhaps she would think something more like 'Sitting right in front of me, just as we planned.' Or leave it out altogether.

    o Something about '...chuckling had come out loud.' sounds awkward. She's just 'chuckled to herself', which sounds deliberate. Those two things in succeeding sentences don't fit well.

    o Also a problem, '...decided to tamp down...' Just let her tamp down her mood, rather than decide to.

    o I'm also worried that I don't understand what this story is going to be about. Gags, pranks? The title gives me little clue, nor does the opening. I suggest you insert a paragraph after the first that gives us a hint of what concern is in her mind about the future, and possibly her coming struggle. give us a little taste of the sci-fi element to come.

  4. Great character setup, and good descriptions/inner observations! I already know so much about the MC (and she sounds hilarious). It is a bit hard to place the age range of the characters though, and what sort of a graduation we're attending.

    I’m also not sure it’s necessary to point out why Sean is sitting in front of Tica.

    Great job!=-)

  5. The graduation setting and description is great, but we are not sure if she is playing a prank on Sean or of they are in it together. We would like to see more of the sci-fi element (even if it is just a reference to something strange to us that is common to the characters) up front.

  6. I don't know what the story's about. A girl sits at graduation and contemplates a prank. That obviously isn't the basis for the novel, so what is. Or, at least start with the prank being played out so we see the MC in action. Let her do something, and if that something is coming up in the next few pargs or page, start there.

  7. This voice reads younger than YA, especially with mention of pulling a prank right off the bat.

    My second thing is just about every sentence is somewhat lengthy. They're not run on sentences, but they don't seem to very all that much. It's almost tiring. If you think of reading like running a marathon, commas are pauses but periods are chances to take a "breath" and regather before continuing.