Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May Secret Agent #9

TITLE: Head Games
GENRE: YA Science Fiction

When I woke up, nothing felt off except for the massive headache. I winced as I lifted my head to look around, and quickly dropped it back on the pillow. I was alone, which was weird, because what parents leave their sixteen year old daughter--their only child, I might add--to wake up alone at The Center. The Center. I hated that name, but it fit the private hospital where I was staying.

The whole place was anonymous and sterile. The ceilings were high with inlaid lights shining as white as everything else in the room. There wasn’t any artwork hanging on the walls, but a shelf held a single white flower in a glass vase. The smell of ammonia masked any sweet scent it may have had. A chill crawled up my back. Even the sheets, which I knew were soft and expensive, seemed to scratch my bare legs. I hated this place.

I closed my eyes, wishing the pain in my head away and trying not be angry that I was even here. It’s not like there was anyone I could blame, and as far as hospitals went, The Center was the nicest in Southern California. I counted to ten the way Mel was always reminding me. Mel was my father’s publicist, but you would think she was his therapist from the amount of time she spent telling me how to deal with problems I didn’t realize I had. When I got to three, I yelled for a nurse.


  1. You have done a nice job of setting the scene of the hospital, but I think it might be more effective if you took those descriptions and spread them out over the action in a few scenes.

    A nice tension is created by the sterile hospital in a setting like SoCal which would be lush.

    I would keep reading, but would hope for some action to pick up pretty soon.

  2. She wants action, but I want some dialogue with someone else. Staying in people's heads is kind of boring (no offense) I just judge characters how they act and react to others. I would read more but put it down after a page if there wasn't another person for her to talk to.

  3. I agree with S.D. about spreading out the backstory.

    If there is no one to share dialogue with, maybe add some sounds she hears.

    The lights hummed. A metal tray clattered to the linoleum in the outerhallway. Clink. Clack. etc etc

    I think this is a topic teens like to read about.

  4. You have some great ideas going on here, it's just too many at once. I agree with everyone and would suggest you read the story out loud to yourself first and then decide what is critical that we know in the first paragraph, then the first page. I would love for the first line to really grab me and I would suggest starting with something other than waking up, it's a very overdone and cliched opening and I think your story would be stronger if you started it else where. Because there's no doubt in my mind this could be a strong story. If reworked I would definitely read more.

  5. A compelling scenario that makes me wonder why she has the headache (which I'm guessing is caused by something sinister), why she's been abandoned, and what implied danger is she in. You could crank up the tension by dropping in some foreshadowing that will sink in the hook. Otherwise a good start.

  6. I think your third paragraph is very strong and would make a great opening with a good hook!

  7. I agree with MVB--I think the third paragraph is where it should begin.

  8. There is something creepy in this set-up -- nice work on that.

    The first two paragraph are very "tell-y", but your third paragraph has the most intrigue. You might consider starting here. Your voice and the protagonist's perspective shine clearly in this paragraph.

    Keep refining!