Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March Secret Agent #39

TITLE: Never Not Broken
GENRE: YA - Contemporary

I read somewhere that humans love hands. We love them so much that when we can’t see a person’s hands that person’s attractiveness decreases. Since I read that I’ve been flaunting my hands all over the place to Jack, but it hasn’t seemed to work. Maybe there are some hand finesse tricks I’m missing out on--a special way to gesture or wave that works chemistry magic. Part of me - scratch that - most of me knows that I’m being an idiot and unfair to him and to myself, but still - a teeny-weeny little bit of me wonders if maybe he’s just confused. Maybe he thinks he’s gay just because he’s never kissed me. Maybe if he kissed me he would realize that the reason he thinks he doesn’t like girls is just because he’s never considered me as a girlfriend.

Ugh. I put down my guitar, stand up, and roll my shoulders. I shake my head hard back and forth. I’m so sick of being like this. I feel like this is all I do now when I’m by myself - sit around and think about Jack and how to make him like me. Playing music can’t even distract me lately, and it always distracts me.

I lean down to touch my toes and spot the heel of a tennis shoe poking out from under my bed. That’s what I need - movement. I dig the shoe out and after a solid ten minute search, find the other in the bathroom across the hall.


  1. I love your main character. Love her. The tidbit/factoid at the start is not only interesting, it gives me a great insight into how her mind works.
    I'd omit 'Playing music can't even distract me lately, and it always distracts me.' Just because it doesn't tell us more about her than you've already said, and you've done a great job of introducing us to her, so time for some action!

  2. Love the opening bit. Shows so much about your MC right from the start. Love her voice.

    I agree with Audrey about losing the "Playing music..." part. It's telling and I don't think you need it. Actually, aside from showing us that she plays the guitar, I don't see anything in the second paragraph that moves the story forward. The guitar could be shown later when it's more important to the plot. The third paragraph is a lead in to where I assume something important happens and I would rather jump to the conflict or at least a hint of what happens next. I assume there's more going on here than pining for her gay BF and I think you could streamline that first paragraph and not loose anything.

    The last two paragraphs feel like action for the sake of action and I think I'd be more invested if the first bits that are so awesome were followed by an introduction to Jack.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.

  3. I dig the bit about finding the other shoe in the bathroom. It gives us insight into her character.

    Since you are starting with the hands stuff--I feel as a reader that I want to know more about that. It feels a little rushed. What about hands?

    The voice is strong and she seems like someone a reader would want to hang out with.

  4. I too love the opening and the thinking about hands. It is a great example of starting with a strong voice. If being a musician plays a role, I think you can keep it here, but perhaps rework or eliminate the telling piece. Consider taking it right from "I'm sick of this." right to "What I need is movement." Even that, I would be more specific and take the word "movement" & turn it into action. "I need a good run, I need to run it off, I need to get moving" whatever movement she is heading off to. It will also help get her to the next scene more quickly.

  5. I agree with the comments above. Awesome voice in the first paragraph. The 2nd paragraph though feels a teensy bit whiny. Plus, it has consecutive sentences starting with 'I'. You go go directly from the first to her feeling restless and hunting for her shoes. Best of luck!

  6. The first paragraph was great! Loved the voice. Is that true about hands? Really good.

    I agree with the other comments about the second paragraph. I liked it. It invested me in the character more (Again the voice is really good), but I need more conflict at the start.

  7. I, too, love this--especially the opening "hands" paragraph. I like that we're already learning a little about the MC and her interests. And she's funny/able to not take herself too seriously, which I also like. I don't think you need "and it always distracts me." I also don't think you need the hard head shaking sentence--every word counts in these early paragraphs, and I don't see how that adds anything. Love the bit about the shoes though. :)

  8. As others said, great voice! I already adore the main character. She's a quirky chica. I'm quite positive many female readers will relate to her. Some characters have the most boring thoughts and I prefer to skip those lines, but this girl isn't like that. I'm sure she could rattle on about this and that, and I'd get a crack out of her.

  9. I enjoyed reading this very much. :) Your character is engaging and I'm eager to learn more about her. I'm also fine with the paragraphs that others seem not to like as much. For me, it sheds additional light on who she is and her state of mind, which prepares us for what's to come, and I want to read on to find out what that is!

    However, I'm a bit hung up on her concern that "Jack thinks he's gay..." It's a little disconcerting that she'd try to entice a boy who doesn't like girls. Does she consider it a challenge? She wants him because he doesn't want her? I don't think you need to go into a long explanation about this, but without an answer I'm left perplexed, like maybe that's not what she means after all. Or does she? I don't know. Just one additional phrase or sentence could clear this up without digressing into navel-gazing, but I do feel like it's needed. As it is, I have the impression she wants to change him and I'm not certain that's the case, but I want to know one way or the other.

    Good job! And good luck. :)

  10. I really liked the first paragraph. Her desperation for Jack to like her, and her own realization it's never going to happen.
    The second paragraph loses me a bit. When she says, Ugh and puts her guitar down, it felt like you lost the flow of the story. Perhaps find a way to transition a bit less abruptly. Also, maybe you could tell what Jack is to her. Is he her best friend? Bandmate? Or does she just like him from a far? I get the sense she's close to him in someway, but perhaps you could clarify it a little more.
    In the third paragraph I am right back with your MC. Great job showing us who she is in such a short time.

  11. This is an amazing opening. Your first paragraph is awesome, particularly voice-wise, and I got a great sense of your character, her thought process, and even her flaws. If I'm gonna nitpick about anything, it's that you can get rid of the "and it always distracts me" at the end of your second paragraph. It's not needed and it took me out of the story a little bit.

    I'm interested to see more about where this story is going, so I'd definitely continue reading. I'm a little wary of what the main conflict might be, though. Based on this snippet the only thing I can think of is that it's based on your MC's desire to make Jake realize he's not gay. If that is the conflict, then this opening is well-suited. If it isn't, then you may want to throw something in to hint at what it might be. I personally would not be interested in a story where the premise is the main character challenging someone's sexuality, so if that's not what the story is about I'd like to know earlier rather than later.

    Thanks for this entry!