Wednesday, January 23, 2019

January Secret Agent #50

TITLE: Child of Night
GENRE: YA Fantasy

“Give me back my phone, you sea urchin,” I growled at Roland as he snapped ridiculous selfies.
Roland moved the phone high up in the middle of the isle, way out of my reach. “Well, Avery, if you can’t tolerate oceanic creatures maybe you should change seats.”

I silently cursed my foster mom for stopping for coffee on the way to the school. Five minutes earlier and I would have had the back seat of the bus all to myself. However, because of her caffeine addiction, I now found myself wedged between the bus window and the most annoying boy in my class for the next half-hour until we arrived at our field trip’s destination in Salem, Massachusetts. I continued to remind myself it would be less than a year before I could turn my tiny savings into a car and drive myself but each agonizing moment made that day seem farther and farther away.

From the second we stepped on to the bus, Roland made it clear that he was not going to change seats. But neither was I. Each of us wanted the back seat and we were both willing to fight for it. His idea of fighting was apparently to be the most annoying person on the planet until I got fed up. I was not going to sit at the front just because this jerk decided to claim my spot, no matter the idiotic behavior I had to put up with.

13 comments:

  1. I really like how this begins in the middle of a conflict (albeit a minor one about bus seating). The main character's desire to sit at the back of the bus tells us a little about her. Though I kind of want her to get her phone back.

    This is marked as fantasy, but right now, it feels contemporary-- which is okay since it's only the first 250 words. Maybe find ways to hint at the fantasy elements early on, though.

    As a reader, I'm kind of curious how Avery feels about this field trip-- is she bored? Excited? Maybe instead of her thinking about her car and how annoying Roland is, she could think about the field trip? (just a thought).

    I did appreciate how you slipped in the detail about her foster mom-- that's a nice touch and I expect it will become important as we go on.

    Minor point-- I assume Avery is a girl, but maybe find a way at some point to make that clear since it's a gender neutral name.

    This is off to a good start.

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  2. I like that it starts with an action, but I feel like you could possibly enhance the first line a bit, since it is so important to hook the reader.

    'As he snapped ridiculous selfies'

    Perhaps you could enhance this section to help the reader feel as irritated as Avery. Did he swipe the phone from Avery when she was in the middle of texting or looking something up. Is he taking a burst of selfies that will take a while to delete?

    I agree with Patti, this feels contemporary, but I'm guessing it's urban fantasy? I disagree in the sense that I wouldn't stress about touching on the fantasy on the first page if the MC doesn't yet know it exists. Especially since their field trip is to Salem. I think I can already guess from that there will be a touch of fantasy.

    I would reword the last sentence. It just sounds like she is complaining and calling his actions idiotic behavior pulls me out of the story. In this sense, perhaps show don't tell? What else is he doing besides taking selfies that is driving Avery wild?

    Not a bad start at all. I'm just being nit picky because the first page is so important. The title sounds promising and I'm curious to find out more about the relationship between Avery and the foster mom. Also intrigued as to what they will do in Salem and what might happen while they are there.

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  4. Good start with conflict, but I'm wondering if you wouldn't be better off dragging out the dialogue and action a little longer, and interspersing some of the summary of how the situation came about into it? Just a suggestion though!

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  5. Love the title and your beginning! I do feel that Avery should get the phone back within these 250 words, but maybe it’s because we only have this small section to read. I’m also guessing Avery is a girl.

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  6. I agree with the others that opening with action is great! I would watch that the next couple paragraphs are telling and are introspection. It may make it move faster to show. I do feel immediately sympathetic for Avery! Nice start!

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  7. Great start! I love the voice. I'd love to see exactly how Roland is annoying. Nagging? Burping?

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  8. Fun start! "Sea urchin" is an interesting choice for an insult, and I'm curious to know what that's about (if this is a quirk of the MC, or the product of some history between Avery and Roland).

    The last paragraph might be drifting toward tell-y. I wonder if you might be able to get across the important information (e.g., that they're both willing to fight for this seat, and that Roland is trying to drive her away by being obnoxious) through continued action and dialogue. Just a thought!

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  9. I also loved the use of 'sea urchin' though it made me assume, for some reason, that this would be about merpeople until it mentioned Salem (which is an automatic hook for me;). Though maybe Roland is hinting there about being a sea creature? which makes me even more interested!
    It is a bit sketchy starting stories with dialogue because we do not know the characters or voices yet, so maybe a paragraph or line about the annoying selfies or other Roland behavior.
    Is he an important character? A LI? I like setting up their animosity right away, but there is maybe too much mention of fighting for the seat. Maybe there was another recent interaction? Also, How would Avery get the seat alone if they were earlier?

    Small notes: "aisle" not "isle"; just use "field trip" no 's; and I think one 'farther' is enough.

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  10. "Sea urchin" seems like a stretch for an insult, unless it proves to have some tie in later!

    A field trip to Salem is an interesting setting, but I wish there was something more to hang my hat on than a squabble over the back seat.

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  11. Strong opening with a compelling first line of the sea urchin. Good bits of tension and suspense about the field trip on the bus. I agree with the other suggestions. I do have minor nits: try to use adverbs sparingly and show how silent you were. Use contractions like wasn't to save some words and seem is passive. Maybe say was or another word to replace it. Nice start!

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  12. This is a bit all over the place.
    I don’t think anyone under the age of 40 would ever call someone a sea urchin for any reason and in any context.
    At first you think she’s in the car with mom, and I’m not sure why getting there earlier would mean she didn’t have to share a seat. Why do you want the backseat so badly if you’re so annoyed with him? I don’t understand. It all feels very juvenile, like an adult writing in what they think a teen’s voice might be.
    I love the idea that you’re trying to set up an enemies-to-lovers-style romance right from the start, and she’ll discover her magic in some way in Salem, but I just find the tone a bit off-putting right now.

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