Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July Secret Agent #24

TITLE: The Beamer Boys
GENRE: YA Dark Contemporary

I stared at the Sun, big and golden as it dipped towards the horizon. It was cool, watching it shade the darkening blue sky with strokes of pink and purple. It reminded me of the watercolor paintings I did in art class last semester. Unlike the junk I created, it was worth admiring.

My best friend Donovan sat next to me, but he couldn’t see how beautiful it looked. He was sobbing, and tears blurred his vision. I blinked my eyes dry as he cried, trying to stay strong as he crumbled to pieces.

“What happened, Donovan?” I asked him. “Please tell me. I’m all ears.”

He cried harder, mumbling a bunch of stuff I couldn’t understand as the summer heat beat down on us. I felt like a human hot dog, cooking inside of my clothes like beef hissing on a hot grill. Sweat trickled down the curve of my back. My pits got moister by the second.

I tried to take another sip of my Seven-Eleven Double Gulp, which probably contained enough Pepsi to supply an entire kid’s birthday party, but I couldn’t get any of it down. The lump in my throat, hard as stone, kept getting in the way.

I frowned as I noticed that Donovan hadn’t touched the equally oversized Slurpee I’d bought him. It wasn’t easy traveling with it to Lewami Park.


  1. Some of these analogies are fun and refreshing--the human hot dog, the amount of Pepsi being enough for a kids' birthday party--you had me chuckling, and it does a lot for the voice! At the same time, there's some dissonance between Donovan's distress and the narrator's own sorrow (clued by the lump in his throat). The images are funny, but the situation isn't, and I'm not sure what I should be feeling.

  2. Yay, great entry! I really like the first paragraph, giving us inside stuff about your protag already, with the art class and how he felt about it. The rest of the entry is tight and good. I feel hot just reading it, with the sun and everything.

    Just a couple of suggestions.

    I don't think you need "and tears blurred his vision" in the 2nd par. If he's sobbing, we get it.

    My only other question is why he frowned that Donovan hadn't touched his Slurpee when he himself can't drink his. I'm not sure if your protag is as sympathetic as he said to Donovan (I'm all ears) or if he's really just pretending, if he's mad about the Slurpee.

    Really liked this entry. Good luck!

  3. The description is great and I like the scene you've set up--two best friends, one upset, the other trying to figure out what's wrong. I wondered why your MC wasn't more upset about his / her friend. Maybe show more than just a lump in his throat? I wanted to be sucked into the drama of what happened to make the friend sob, especially if this was something he'd normally never do. (show emotion etc.)

  4. I like this, especially the art metaphor to describe the sunset and the description of the size of the Pepsi.

    There were a couple of wrong notes for me, though.

    The first is the MC saying "I'm all ears." That just didn't ring true. Leaving the dialogue at "Please tell me" would sound more sincere.

    The other is the MC's concern about Donovan not drinking his Slurpee--because the MC can't drink her(?) own Pepsi and because it makes her earlier concern for Donovan seem insincere, like she's more concerned about the drink than her friend's well-being.

  5. As others have said, I'm a little confused about what I should be feeling and what the MC is feeling as well.

    The best friend is clearly upset about something, but the comments the MC makes about themselves leaves me confused. I'm also not exactly sure on if it is a boy or a girl. If I had to guess I'd say it was a boy narrator. Anyway, he talks about blinking his eyes dry (so was he crying too?) and having a lump in his throat. This makes me think he knows what is wrong or...has something he is feeling bad about too. If he "knows" what happened to make Donovan upset we should know about it. If he is just feeling bad about his friend being upset, then I would think he would be more uncomfortable (shifting around, picking at a fingernail) instead of having a lump in his throat.

    I also enjoyed the analogies but they did make him sound like he wasn't that concerned with his friend's feelings as much as he was about himself.

    And is there a reason "Sun" is capitalized? Significance later maybe? Just made me wonder...

    Good job!!

  6. I liked this. The only thing I might do is mention the friend crying beside him/her sooner. I know people like to open with the picturesque setting, but I'd rather see the reality of where I am and what is going on. If you mention the friend and crying, then the sunset being so beautiful but he/she can't enjoy it because of sad friend, that would ring a little clearer to me.

    otherwise, very nice writing. I would read more.

  7. This is really good. My only suggestion would be to trim some of the first paragraph about the sunset, as well as some of the real estate dedicated to the heat and the sweating and use that extra space to hint more tangibly at the situation that has them upset, as well as some more about the setting. I know they're hot and there's a sunset but have no idea if they're on a boat or a deserted island or in a parking lot or riding on the backs of circus animals or what. I feel like grounding us just slightly more by showing where we are and what's going on would strengthen this opening considerably. Otherwise, great job! I agree that the voice is really developing nicely! Good luck.

  8. I’m interested to know more about what’s going on with Donovan and the main character; why the MC isn’t letting his (or her?) emotions show. Perhaps the answer to the MC’s question Donovan comes in the next paragraph, but I would have liked to stay in that conversation, rather than jumping back into description. As it is, I wasn’t sure what the MC is really feeling; I’d like to feel more connected.