Wednesday, May 16, 2018

May Secret Agent Contest #48

TITLE: Five Questions
GENRE: YA Contemporary

“Remind me again why I agreed to do this,” I asked Madison. The box landed with a thud that was echoed by my falling onto the bed. It was the first day of summer, and she was moving into her boyfriend Kyle’s apartment.

“Because you love me, Abby.” Madison beamed at me and flopped onto the bed beside me.

Our hair mingled on the navy bedspread beneath us, my honey blond interwoven with her espresso brown hair, as we tried to catch our breaths. We were both more winded than we had any right to be, considering her new apartment was on the first floor, but neither of us called attention to how unfit we were.

“And it had to happen today?” I confirmed. Through the window, sunlight hit my face, turning my vision pink behind my eyelids. My sweat-slicked skin warmed further, and a bead of sweat dropped from the nape of my neck onto the bedspread.

I sat up and leaned forward to start unpacking the box that I had so unceremoniously dropped onto the floor.

“Yes,” Madison said. “We’ve been together three years. Now I’m finally out of high school and don’t want to spend another day living apart from him.”

My eyes rolled almost involuntarily at her sappiness, but I did manage to refrain from making an accompanying gagging noise. I might have tried to convince her to wait to move in with him had I not seen how ridiculously happy Kyle made her.


  1. Watch passive voice (was -ing) and vague phrases (might have, almost)

  2. This says YA, but the characters are out of high school. Would this be more NA? Just wondering. Also, this is told from first person POV, but when you talk about 'our hair mingling on the navy bedspread, espresso brown with honey blond', it sounds more like a third person POV. Just some things I noticed. Otherwise, I like the opening.

  3. I echo the previous 2 comments. Also be mindful of too many adverbs, there are a lot of words ending in “ly” for such a short sample. And the “considering” is an odd word there. Perhaps “seeing as how her apartment was on the first floor”

  4. As with other comments, I'm concerned about whether this is YA since one of the characters here is out of high school. Is the protagonist still in school? If so , let us know that immediately. You have some great description here, but I think we need to have more of a sense of a teen world.

  5. Not sure I like a character who describes her own hair as "honey blonde" lol. And the "we've been together three years" line sounded a little too much like an "As you know, Bob". So far I get no sense of what this story is about. However, I would give it a bit more time because Madison seems all right and I do wonder what is going to happen to get the story started.

  6. This one feels like it's starting in the wrong place/in the wrong scene. Many authors bury their best first page several pages into their manuscript.

    For me, the first page is a promise to the reader, and I felt a definite New Adult with sexual undertones vibe here that didn't correspond with a YA contemporary. Additionally, Madison takes center stage. I know more about her than I do the MC, and so I have no idea why I should care about what's to come for her.

    In the writing, one of my personal pet peeves is explained motivation. "I sat up and leaned forward to start unpacking the box" Did she actually unpack the box then or was that just her intention that will be interrupted by an incident yet to come in the prose? If she's actually unpacking, show me: I sat up and leaned forward, pulling a stack of shirts from box...

    Thank you for sharing!

  7. I love that you started with dialogue. It's my favorite way to enter a story, and I think you did a good job pf dropping the reader into the scene. Plenty of sensory details to make me visualize what is happening.

    I'm not sure of the genre as YA. These characters seem to be grappling with something beyond what I would expect YA characters to be dealing with. Maybe new adult?

    Thanks for sharing!