Wednesday, May 16, 2018

May Secret Agent Contest #41

GENRE: YA Contemporary

I was going to kill my brother.

Yep. Kill, as in maim brutally until he succumbed to death’s cold, dark embrace. Because a slow death wouldn't do. No, he deserved to suffer. I didn’t know much about Chinese water torture, but I could learn. And the leaky faucet in the bathroom, the one he’d promised to fix months ago, would do the trick.  A couple of hours of that would surely drive him insane. His brain might even start to liquefy. Maybe dribble out of his ears a bit.
I wondered if that would be painful enough. Or painful at all, considering he'd killed most of his brain cells already, taking hit after hit of whatever his crackhead friends put in front of him.

I hoped wherever he was at that moment, whatever he was smoking was laced with some bad shit. I didn't even feel bad thinking it. This always happened. He'd disappear, lifting cash from mom's purse and leaving her sick with worry instead of anger. One day turned into two, three, eight at the most. He’d stumble in eventually, visibly worse for the wear, but with a sheepish "I'm sorry, Mommy. I’m sorry, Darcy. I promise I'll be better from now on" smile plastered on his face. And then he’d do it all over again a couple of months later.

Getting clean was part of Quinn's regimen. Staying clean was a different story.


  1. With the strong (great) opening that offers dark images like it does, I would expect the brother’s transgressions to be more than taking cash & leaving mom to worry. And I don’t know, maybe past the 1st 250 Words you get to something more deserving of the MC’s daydreaming about ways to kill him ...?

  2. Love the first two paragraphs - you set up a nice, funny tone (who hasn't plotted to kill their sibling?) And when you slip in the serious info on what's happening with him, you still manage to keep a light touch, although it starts sounding a bit more predictable by the end. Books about loved-ones-making-bad-decisions are pretty common, but if you're handling the entire story with a different twist and using black humor, I'd love to read that!

  3. Excellent first line, and interesting voice. But what did the brother do to the narrator to deserve this hostility? We know what Quinn did to upset mom but I assume he did something to the narrator too.

  4. I loved the opening sentences, but I kind of read them as tongue in cheek, the way lots of siblings talk about wanting to kill their annoying brothers. But as it went on, I was less sure if the MC was joking. 250 words is a lot for the narrator to dwell on their anger without anything concrete happening. I wonder if you could keep some of the dark humor, but then put us in an active scene sooner and get us out of the MC's head?

  5. I absolutely loved how it started off with the annoyed voice - I can relate to this. But then, midway, it turned almost dark and I wondered if this would turn into actual murder. So, one suggestion would be to cut down on the hate and move onto the reason why. Maybe add more to it by talking about her Mom worked really hard for the money, only for her brother to take it. If it was money set aside for something really important (rent, bills), then mention that. And, I think this sentence is phrased awkwardly: "I hoped wherever he was at that moment, whatever he was smoking was laced with some bad shit." - maybe try rephrasing it. Other than that, your writing has me hooked! And I LOVE the last lines! I'm really curious to read more.

  6. Personally I didn't care for the opening but I liked where the story was going. I was hooked after the first paragraph. I felt like I needed more. But I agree with a previous poster, that most likely he would've had something else terrible he would've done. Steal a t.v. a cell phone. But overall I'd read more!

  7. I really like the opening. I suggest adding some bad actions in paragraph 4.

  8. I love the voice in this sample, and I love this first page. It really draws me in with its cheeky twist. However, I'm never a fan of cuss words on pg1 of a YA novel. It restricts the number of editors I can submit to, and it makes me wonder if I really want to read a teenage voice that defers to obscenities rather than rises to clever language. (Fixed with a small tweak)

    The final line felt confused. Maybe getting clean was his regimen, but getting drugs was his priority. Hmmmm... I don't know--I'm just brainstorming.

    I've seen this full already, and I remember I loved the voice, and if the author has injected (sorry for the pun) some urgency into the MC's strife and otherwise edited to address some inconsistencies, I'd love to see it again.

    Thank you for sharing!