Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Secret Agent #3

GENRE: YA Fantasy Romance

It was like cramping, I knew I was losing control of my legs, then my arms, then my neck. The cold water had filled in the inside of the car, and now it was taking my lungs. There was no need to fight for breath anymore, I had already lost, I was really dying.

I didn't see my life passing before my eyes, I didn't think about anyone special. The only thing in my mind was the truck coming out of nowhere. I didn't see it coming. I couldn't do anything. Damn you Mark, how much did you drink?

This is not real. This can't be real. I tried to raise my head in protest, but the cramping had taken over my body; paralyzing me, freezing every single cell from inside out, until everything stopped.


I woke up in despair, trying to convince myself it had been just a dream. A nightmare. I kept my eyes wide open, trying to forget the feeling of drowning in the ocean, fighting for every breath. But before I could focus on anything around, I realized every little part of my body hurt. It was like I had been on a fight or something. What the hell happened last night? I can’t remember anything.
It was a hangover, for sure. But that time I felt really bad, I had never felt like that before. Mark, you are never ever drinking again! I promised myself taking courage to get up. It was really cold there...


  1. I'm finding this a bit confusing. Right out of the gate the line about cramps had me assuming we were dealing with a woman, but upon reading further- is Mark the protag? I'm not sure most people call themselves by name during inner monologue so this isn't reading quite true. There are also a few tense changes that made me have to reread a few times. It does seem to be a rather dramatic scene, and with a few tweaks could be quite good. Keep going!

  2. I think if you got rid of 'It was like cramping, I knew' it would make the opening line stronger. I hear that agents don't really like dream openings, but this feels more like a memory than a dream? It's hard to tell with only 250 words. The voice at this stage doesn't really sound YA to me. But it has me curious enough to keep reading to find out where the fantasy and romance comes in.

  3. Is this a Romance with a male MC?! Way to go! That's super awesome! I think adding some more description/context even for the dream sequence would help root the reader from the beginning. I had to re read a couple of times to make sure that it was the truck that was responsible for the drowning, etc. This is definitely a different beginning than most Fantasy Romances, so I'd definitely keep reading :)

  4. This is confusing. Their thoughts are too jumbled. Whether the MC is male or female, the opening line doesn't work as it is. You'd have to more specific. I have no idea whose head I'm in, how many people are in the car, or where I am. I can only gather that a car has crashed into some kind of water source. Then they wake up where? At home? In the car? In the hospital?

  5. LOTS of articles online about first chapter dreaming/waking up and why NOT to do it. I'd suggest not doing that here.

    The writing in the first section doesn't match with the second part. If this is YA fantasy romance, I would find better place in the story to start. I suspect this MC dreams about deaths that aren't's a stretch, but I'm trying to find the "fantasy".

    Also, the genre is throwing me off a little. This feels very contemporary/urban. I’m not really sure what I’m reading, actually. I don’t know who the MC is, what time era this is supposed to be, or how this will turn romantic based on the horrific dreams. Lots of confusion.

    Start off slower and introduce the reader to the MC would be my suggestion.

  6. Something about the first three paragraphs made me feel like this was an adult novel, not YA. I thought this read more like a thriller/romantic suspense/ psychological suspense novel.

    I was also confused by the "It was like cramping" - what was? And what kind of cramping? And by the end of the third paragraph she says that "the cramping had taken over my body" - so it actually isn't "like cramping" - the cramping really is happening. I found this a bit distracting and confusing.

    I will also say that it's a really familiar trope to start a novel with a kind of dream sequence. So I'd avoid that.

    However, I was compelled by the concept - why was Mark drinking and who is he?

    I also found the last sentence confusing: "It was really cold there..." - where? In her bed?

    I assumed it was a woman speaking, and that Mark is her
    boyfriend, but there is actually nothing here telling me if the speaker is male or female and I have no idea what he/she looks like.

    So, there's clearly potential here, but it doesn't feel like YA fantasy at all, there's nothing here that tells me that I'm reading that. Work on the opening! I'm compelled but confused and curious to see what makes this a YA Fantasy.

    Thanks for entering!

  7. I'm a bit confused by the beginning. Maybe it could start somewhere less obscure? It feels weighed down by the sudden action, though I was intrigued by the drinking statement. I couldn't tell if the beginning was someone talking to themselves or talking about someone else when referring to Mark.