Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July Secret Agent #43

TITLE: Forever and Ever After
GENRE: YA Fantasy

I know my index finger can't wield the all-consuming power of life and death, and yet, at this very second I feel like my entire existence is one keyboard tap away from beginning or ending. Dragging footsteps, followed by a shriek of "Caroline!" echo down the hallway. I instinctively lunge for my bedroom door, knowing I locked it, but still desperate to double check the bolt. The door knob rattles violently while I lean against the wooden frame.

"Caroline, open this door!" On the other side, my mother bangs her fists, and for a split second I wonder how she found out, but then I realize it doesn't matter. She can't stop me. Not this time. Another slam, but this time I hear her groan. That full-body contact, shoulder pound against the door makes me cringe. So does her half sob and slurring.

"Pleassshe," she whispers, and I know she is sliding down my door from the brushing sound against the frame.

Whipping around to face my laptop, I frantically click on the Unity Prep e-mail, my eyes darting through each word. I need this, please, please accept me. I'm holding my breath when I first see centered at the very top of the page the Unity Prep coat of arms, a fierce lion and a delicate white dove balancing the golden shield with the word Legatia carved upon it. Below the crest is the Latin phrase, "In Honorem Omnium." I can only exhale when I see my happily ever after:


  1. This is an interesting opening. At first it felt like this would be really life or death for her, then it was just getting into school. But for teens, everything seems to feel like life or death, so it makes sense. The only part I didn't care for was the end. I would have like that to be faster. Mom is at the door, trying to get in. There's a sense of tension and urgency. But then we get a long description of the school logo. i would have rather seen her race over and push the button without considering it any longer. then she sits back and stares at the logo and wonders if she made a mistake. something like that to keep the pace going.

  2. What an opening! I can feel her desperation and need, and feel sorry for her with the situation. Definitely you grab the reader's sympathy here.

    The main thing I would suggest is to tighten things up by eliminating unnecessary words and phrases, and use the simpler terms where you can.

    Examples: "The knob rattles violently while I lean against the door."

    "...she whispers, and I hear her sliding my door."

    You can also take out words like "instinctively" in order to keep things moving.

    I wasn't quite sure what was happening in the last paragraph. Was seeing the coat of arms the signal that she'd already been accepted? I got that she was seeing the information for the school, but wasn't sure what that meant.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Congrats on the book, and good luck!

  3. I liked the tension and thought it was life and death but then when nothing happened, felt disappointed. Why was her mother trying to get into her room? If it's to slap her around or something, maybe add it in. I was also confused about the school logo, is she in or not? Good luck!

  4. Love how tense the beginning it though some things didn't make sense. Caroline has time to lean against a doorframe and listen to her mom bang and slide against her door, then she whips around to frantically click on an email. The action needs to stay consistent, either she's in a hurry or not.
    Things I'm curious about: how her mom found out what? That Caroline's going to school? Why doesn't drunk mom want her to leave?
    I was fine with the description of the schools crest. I read it like she was waiting for the page to upload. So maybe for clarity insert "load" after "coat of arms" and before ", fierce". Perhaps cut out the clause "centered at the very top of the page" bc it slows things down and doesn't really tell the reader anything.
    Nicely done beginning!

  5. Very interesting beginning with lots of questions raised. Why is the mom trying to get into the room? Is the mom always drunk and the protag is hiding from her? I was a little surprised when the email didn't seem like a life & death type of thing (I thought she was going to report her mom for abuse or something.) With that said, maybe for the protag entrance into Unity Prep *is* life or death. I'd def read on. Nice intro. :)

  6. Ahhh, is that good or bad?!

    This is a very compelling and heartstrings-tugging opening. I can feel Caroline's desperation to get away from her mother, and hear her mother on the other side of the door. I am hooked. :)

    Good luck!

  7. Great opening! I love Caroline's voice. I hope she gets into Unity Prep and would keep reading to find out if she does.

  8. Great emotion here. Is the mother drunk maybe? The slurring made me think so, b/c the word "slurring" so often describes the speech of an alcoholic, but she may have just been emotional.

    I would keep reading.

  9. I understand that this moment does feel like life or death for this character, and I’m interested in the idea that she’s escaping by attending a new school, but without knowing more about who this character is, what she’s doing, what her relationship with her mother is like – without a greater sense of those things, it’s hard to me to care about what’s going on here. I’m more confused than connected at this point.