Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March Secret Agent #21

TITLE: Vanishing Point
GENRE: YA romance/thriller

The lady was dressed in a white hospital gown and although Meg couldn't see her face as she walked away, she knew who the woman was. Her figure grew smaller and smaller as she placed more space between herself and Meg.

“Don't go! Please! Don't go!” She tried yelling out, but her mouth refused to release the words and the woman kept walking. The outline of her gown softened as diffused sunlight from the windows at the other end of the hall began to blur her into a formless shape she could no longer recognize, her blonde hair now looking as if it was the very essence of the sunlight itself.

Meg fell to her knees and buried her head in her hands as sobs escaped her mouth, but the lady was no longer there to hear them. Her mother was gone.

Meg awoke with a startle to the sound of her alarm clock. It had been only the second nightmare of the week, but she regretted it was on the first day of school. She lay in bed trying to calm her breathing, still unaware of the sheets she firmly clutched within aching fists. She could only remember fragments of the dream itself, but could fill in the missing pieces. It was always the same.


  1. There's something about the second nightmare of the week coming on the first day of school that's a little jarring. I do like the image of the blonde hair becoming the essence of sunlight, that's a very pretty line. I worry that starting off with a nightmare can be a bit of cliché and I don't want to get points knocked off of you for that. So maybe rethink that. But I'm very intrigued to know what happened to her mother. Something that is haunting her.

  2. I agree with the above comment on starting off with a cliché. Love the line about being able to fill in the missing pieces. It was always the same. Makes me wonder if she relives a memory or if her subconscious is telling her something.

  3. I'm curious about what happened to her mother, especially to give her recurring nightmares, but I echo the other posts about starting with a dream. Many agents/editors are wary of this. I also like the "essence of sunlight" and would be interested to find out what happened to her mom.

  4. I really appreciate all your advice! Thank you!

  5. There is some nice imagery here, though the disconnect of the lady she recognized but doesn't name, and then her desperate plea didn't quite work for me. Though the woman is named as her mother, the order of those events threw me off. Given it was a dream, I get that a little mystery was hinted at, though perhaps if it were rooted in more emotion, or the other direction in more mystery/confusion, that would set a more clear tone.

    I like the idea of this YA thriller, and hints of this already show. Something to be mindful of is opening a story with a dream and a first day of school are both often-used formats. It doesn't mean you can't, but your writing has to work even harder to overcome the feeling of having seen this already. It may be worth considering starting in unique setting in your story to offer a fresh perspective.

    Good luck!

  6. Thanks much for great advice! I'm already reworking the first scene from a different angle:)

  7. Dreams are always more interesting to the person having them then they are to people hearing about them. I would caution you against opening a novel with a dream or a character waking up to an alarm clock. It has been done before, which makes it feel tired. There are definitely much more interesting ways for you to start your novel!

    1. Thank you so much for your insight! I've cut that out and I already feel better about the novel. It definitely has a much stronger intro without it!