Wednesday, May 16, 2018

May Secret Agent Contest #28

TITLE: More Than Meets the Eye
GENRE: YA cont

The state of Texas saw fit to give me a driver’s license yesterday and Mom congratulated me with a new car—her old red Ford Festiva, aka The Clown Car. Despite the suck factor of the rundown hatchback, I’m psyched. Now I can drive myself to shows and concerts.

In fact, there’s a pop punk band in Austin I’d love to see tonight, if I hadn’t already made plans with Meagan, my country music-loving best friend. But, hopefully we’ll have fun wherever we go. Until then, I have one class left.

I walk into World History, and there’s a sub. He’s writing on the board: Man-Made Disasters - Floods. Fires. Explosions.

Uh oh. With tomorrow being the fourth anniversary of Dad’s death, hearing about disasters is a bad idea. I take my seat and reach inside my backpack, fingers groping for my earbuds. They should be right here in the front pocket.

“Oh no,” I grumble. “I left ’em in the car.”

I’ll just have to tune the sub out. Mind over matter, Dad always said. I can do this.

But after a short lecture, the sub shows a video of disaster scenes. My blood runs cold as our local power plant is featured. “Evansburg, Texas,” the narrator says. “Five dead.”

Above the cluster of buildings, dirty brown smoke rises from a flickering light that pulses to the hum of unleashed energy from a blown transformer. I’m frozen, seeing this for the first time, yet with such a sense of déjà vu.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Instead of 'telling' about the car, maybe have her 'show' it off at lunch or something. The beginning is a fun start that turns dark fast - would she be so cavalier about concerts and fun so close to Dad's 'anniversary?' Nice set-up with the sub and video, definitely made me interested!

  3. The disaster video is definitely interesting and foreshadows great things to come! But the switch from the car to the classroom was a bit brusque. Is it possible to remove the car intro? If not, I would suggest smoothing out the transition.

  4. The first 3 paragraphs have no connection to the scene in school that unfolds before us. Maybe consider opening with the MC in school? The paragraphs before feel a bit too much like an info-dump to me.

    Also, I didn't connect to the MC in this opening. Dad's impending death anniversary had little to no emotional impact on the MC. I'd love to feel a little something there.

    These events seem to be happening too fast, and it's hard to wrap my head around what's going on after each paragraph. In the end, the foreshadowing of deja vu feels a little to on-the-nose for me. Maybe work that in a bit more subtly?

    Thank you for sharing!

  5. I'm guessing the power plant disaster in the video is how her father died? I definitely want to see how she reacts to the video in class, if that's the case. Does she have a meltdown, because she seems oddly composed for someone who is about to reach the anniversary of (probably) the worst day of their life so far. Thank you!