Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March Secret Agent #46

TITLE: Freak
GENRE: Young Adult Urban Fantasy

Nails stuck out of the walls with no pictures to hold up. Indents in the carpet had no furniture to cover them. My house was all bare walls and open floor. Not very homey, much more housey. It was like we’d been visited by—

“The Grinch strikes again,” Leah said.

I liked to think she’d picked up on my thoughts because we were twins, but I couldn’t be sure. It was possible I’d said some or all of that out loud.

“Lucy!” Mom called from the other room.

I replied with a, “ What?”

“Come here!”


She was just one room over. I had no idea why we were shouting.

“Because I said so!”

Oh, darn. Got me there, Mom.

“Don’t do it, Luce,” Leah whispered. She clutched a cardboard box marked Leah’s Necessities and spoke with crazed paranoia. “She feeds on hopes and dreams. If you have but an ounce of happiness left, she’ll suck it out!”

She could be melodramatic sometimes. Always.

“I am not melodramatic!”

I guess I really did say it out loud that time.

Lucy!” Mom snapped.

“Okay, okay! Coming!” I heaved my own box (Lucy’s Necessities) on top of my head and tried to balance it there like Cinderella. I was unsuccessful.

“I need you to put this in the car for me,” Mom said, bustling around the kitchen with a box of silverware in her hands. She stopped when she saw the wobbling box on my head. “Why haven’t you put that box in the car yet?”


  1. This is cute. I don't know where it is going but I would read on because I like the voice.

    The Cinderella reference puzzled me at first, then I remember the laundry basket - right?

  2. Leah sounds hilarious, and the dynamics here were very strong. Leah and Lucy seem like they'd be fun to follow, and Mom sounds...ominous. I'm very curious where this is headed. I'm not sure where they're headed or why, but it seems like something isn't quite right here. I get the impression Mom might be on the run and dragging Leah and Lucy with her.

    I wish I could see the query! This seems like it would be fun. I'd definitely keep reading.

  3. This was an intriguing opening. I loved that there were twins. I love it when stories have a humorous edge and this one seems like it would. I would read on to see what the fantasy aspect is. Good job.

  4. Infinitives -- verbs that begin with "to" -- don't tend to flow well at the start of a novel. If you don't mind my suggesting possible alternatives:

    "Nails stuck out of the walls, but held no pictures. Indents in the carpet had no furniture to recline on."

    And later:

    "Did she pick up my thoughts because we were twins? Or did I say all that out loud?"

    Those are just some possibilities. But editors like the initial sentences to flow well.

  5. I really appreciate some of your diction choices and references. Loved housey and your reference to Dr. Seuss. The dialogue flowed very nicely and felt realistic. The imagery of the nails in the opening made me think that this narrative is going to get scary. Right now the scariness seems focused on the house so I'm assuming this is where you are going with it.

  6. This is just really nice. Fantastic timing. Tight dialogue. Funny. I did start to wonder if it might fit better as edgy Middle Grade, rather than Young Adult. Solid work. I love how the twin relationship is SHOWN when Lucy doesn't even know whether she's said something aloud.

  7. I loved the first sentence; it set the mood right away. I was expecting the mom to ask something else more important. Why couldn't she yell "Go get something from the car" in the first place.
    But the passage is funny. The main character sounds so goofy, I agree this sounds more like a Middle Grade voice.Since Middle Grade voices are hard to pull off, you should think about it more. Good luck.

  8. I really like the dialogue and the relationship between the sisters. I might add something to the third sentence - is this a new house they're moving into, or an old one they're moving out of? I'd keep reading to see what the fantasy aspect is going to be, and because the sisters seem fun.

  9. I like the way you introduce the names, and relationships. The interplay of the characters is quite good. The voice feels spot on. I liked the allusions to the Grinch and Cinderella.

    I didn’t find the opening very hooky. A set of twins is getting ready to move. I don’t really have a burning question in my head after the snippet.

  10. I wonder whether you could start with the sentence "My house was all bare walls..." It flows better. I see where you were trying to go with the first two sentences but they're just kind of awkward.
    I do love the dialogue between the twins and am definitely intrigued by the Mom - is she truly a happiness thief?
    Also curious to see why they're moving as well.
    Good luck!

  11. Good voice.

    First two sentences are awkward. Loved housey not homey, though.

    I like Lucy and Leah, but don't have much of a hook here. Don't know whether Lucy is happy about the move or not. I start out thinking that the bare walls and floors makes her sad, but then she is joking around with her sister so I think, no, she's not really sad. Right now both twins are smart and funny, but they don't seem to be sad about moving or happy about moving. So I don't feel hooked because I have yet to feel something from the main character.

  12. This opening has captured my interest. The character has a strong voice and the apparent conflict between the girls and their mother creates tension.

    I was a little thrown off by the fact that at the end it's clear they are moving, whereas in the first couple paragraphs, I thought they were arriving at this bare house.

    Definitely a story I'd be interested in continuing.