Wednesday, March 7, 2018

March Secret Agent Contest #39

TITLE: Absolution
GENRE: YA Contemporary

I can’t believe she brought him here.

I noticed him standing next to her right before kickoff. The smug asshole who stole my mother away from my father. During a free kick a few minutes ago, I pointed him out to Kevin. We’ve been dominating this game, but I’ve been terrible at finishing these chances we’re creating. I have one job on this team: score goals. I’ve already hit the post, the crossbar, and skied a sitter. It’s their damn fault.

The ball gets passed to my feet from Desmond and I feel their defensive midfielder lean into my back. I chip the ball out to Kevin and try to turn towards the goal. Kev passes it to Cody who keeps it moving quickly to Spencer who has made a run forward. We’re definitely dominating if he’s coming out of the defensive line to help break down their lines. I catch his gaze and point to where I want the ball. If I meet it there, I can play in Pete for a shot. Soccer is nothing is not an artistic game of angles and force.

Most people don’t consider athletes artists. But the only time I’m close to being an artist is with a soccer ball at my feet. When I’m not-quite-dancing, but weaving, sprinting, almost-flying beneath bright stadium lights like fingers across a fretboard. That’s art I understand. Sure, they appreciate the all-time greats: Jordan, Serena, Messi. They’ll always get recognized as master artists, pillars of perfection.


  1. I love how you describe the art of soccer here. It's beautifully written. But i feel a sort of disconnect between the beginning of the segment and the rest. You started off with the MC's parents, but that drops off. It feels like the MC forgot them. There were also several names mentioned, and this can get tricky and confusing in the first 250. I suggest keeping some of those names for later. Nice writing.

  2. I agree with Suja. There's a definite disconnect between the first part (about the man) and part about the game. I also think the intro would be stronger if you gave a name instead of just saying 'him'. The soccer description is nice, but give us some more internal thought (especially about this man) in between. This will help us to better connect to the main character. Best of luck to you!

  3. You've got some wonderful soccer details here, and I love promise of a sport-art connection. I'll keep reading to see how that pans out. There is something missing, though, namely a sense about the Big Picture problem and how the mother/asshole come into play. I think you need to condense or save-for-later some of the lovely soccer/art text to make room for setting the stage for the Big Event of the story.

  4. I love the in-game beginning, with the action, but I felt disjointed reading it. The first paragraph is about how the sight of a guy whom the mc's mom had brought to the game is distracting the mc then dives right into the game (although with great jargon), but then goes into a musing over athletes as artists. I think you need to connect these three paragraphs better, so your opening flows. I also think you need more of a hook to keep reading on: what is it about this man the mc's mom brought to the game that is so bad?

  5. The first line is great, and I liked the first paragraph. The line about 'it's their fault' was unclear and it's only now I'm realizing you meant the errant parent. On first read through the thought you meant the sitter who got skied. (I'm not even sure if the sitter is a person?) The paragraph with the soccer action is confusing and disjointed, and this might be stronger if you cut it.
    I do like the third paragraph, about the artistry of soccer, that is a neat way to describe it!

  6. There’s a switch that happens between the protagonist being pissed at his mom and the “smug asshole” she brought with her to discussing the artistry that is soccer, I wonder if we need a stronger transition, something to keep the reader hooked to the character, even if it’s as simple as “I don’t have time to think about though because…”. Otherwise I’m definitely intrigued by your protagonist and the way they talk about soccer, lovely writing.