Wednesday, May 16, 2018

May Secret Agent Contest #5

TITLE: The EX-Mean Girl
GENRE: YA Contemporary

Jab. Cross. Hook. Cross.

Ashley repeated the routine for a minute, balanced on her toes. She kept on even when it hurt her abs, shoulders, and arms. The pinch of pain learned with every throw meant little as compared to the fear she felt inches away from Parker. On her way to business math, Parker had grabbed her by the waist and pulled her into an empty class next to them. It had been days since, but she could sense his touch on her waist. He had pinned her to a wall and leaned in to kiss her. As soon as his lips landed on Ashley’s she pushed him away enough to move out of his way. Annoyed he had called after her, “Cm’on don’t make me chase you. Why do I get the special treatment, you didn’t seem to have a problem with the other guys on the team?” His words echoed as she pictured his smug face and let the rage power her more.

Again. Jab. Cross. Hook. Cross.

With fists clenched and knees bent, she pushed through the air one hand at a time. Her thin arms and petite height didn’t give her enough thrust to push through. Every second jab was confused and sluggish but it had only been few odd weeks since she started practicing.

After days of stalking YouTube Videos and pestering the local gym, she finally decided to train herself.


  1. You've done a good job of creating awareness of a problem. I should sense tension but there is too much information. You don't need to give more information about what Parker did but the reader needs to feel it. For example, his breath smelled of mint. She couldn't get that sense out of her mind and it made her stomach turn. The first big paragraph needs to engage a lot more emotion that the reader can feel. That gives impetus to why she is taking self-defense. Everything after the first big paragraph should come along a few paragraphs later. You need to use all 250 words (and probably more) to bring the reader into her experience and now feelings of vulnerability. Again, you don't need to give every detail of their encounter but more about what she experienced. Good luck!

  2. I love the hook line. It makes me want to read more, find out what she is fighting. Maybe leave out pestering the local gym? or put that it was too costly.
    But really I love this so much.

  3. I love the MC is using boxing to harness her emotions. She's sounds feisty and determined. Great voice. Maybe put "it had only been a few..." and take out "odd"?

  4. This sounds really good! Although, I'm not sure 'business math' is a subject in school? Some nitpicky suggestions: "could (still) sense his touch" & "lips landed on (her,) she pushed him..." I really love how you brought out Ashley's determination & attitude!

  5. You've got a good start. My recommendation is similar to Kirsten's. Take the first paragraph and break it apart to show us the moment, bring out her anxiety, fear, emotion. You can show a detail then bring us back to the present as she attacks whatever she's punching. Then show another detail and give us a sense of how it made her feel.

    His hands slipped around her waist. (put this in italics to indicate it's a memory)
    She slammed her fist into the bag, replacing the sickly feel of his fingers with the pain of the punch.

    Good luck!

  6. I love that this starts in action, but I agree with the comments from Kirsten and Jen. Also, breaking up that second paragraph will also help visually since right now it's a rather large block compared to the rest. I would definitely read on to find out where this goes!

  7. This is a YA contemporary tackling a sexual assault issue. Before I even know the character, she's flashing back to her assault, and I don't feel the punch I want to feel for such a profound issue.

    There are a lot of YA sexual assault books out there, and if this wants to stand out, there has to be some context to such a traumatic event to help teens navigate through it. I don't feel the flashback on page 1 does this topic justice.

    Consider introducing the MC and her current state and then weave her backstory in more subtly as the narrative unfolds.

    Thank you so much for sharing!