Wednesday, January 23, 2019

January Secret Agent #8

TITLE: At 7th and Broadway
GENRE: YA YA Contemporary

There was a drugstore down the street from Aunt Sylvie’s house, and once my leg healed, I walked there daily to stare at tabloid headlines. Some actress from the ‘50s had a secret son! Bekah Ashton is working for the CIA! Get all the details about Leslie Abrams’ orgies here! The tabloids lied. I stared at those ridiculous headlines and reminded myself that the tabloids lied.

The first time had been an accident. I went to buy bleach for my hair, and I happened to glance at the rack next to the register. My face stared back at me. “Brianna Vincent, pregnant with twins?”

Trash. Absolute trash. But somewhere out there, maybe, people were believing it.

It’s a miracle I didn’t run, stealing the box of bleach in the process. But no, I paid. I walked out, and I went home and chopped off every inch of my hair. Mia found me in the bathroom, standing in a circle of the clippings and reading the instructions on the back of the bleach. She gave me that look, her classic look these days. The “you’re such a screw-up, I can’t really stand to look at you, but you’re my sister, so I have to” look. Then she took the box from my hands, told me to sit down on the toilet, and got to work. I sat still, frozen, replaying the tabloid picture in my head. Somewhere, in an alternate reality, Brianna Vincent may have been pregnant with twins, but I wasn’t Brianna Vincent.


  1. Very voicey and intriguing already!!

    I feel like your second paragraph would be a hookier opening:

    "The first time I found my name in the tabloids had been an accident." Says more about our character and her situation than the list of fake celebs!!

  2. oooh, I really like this! It really piqued my interest, but I'm a bit unsure: is she Brianna Vincent and is she famous? Loving the voice!

  3. Oh, I love Catherine’s idea!

    We learn a lot about our character’s situation in these lines to give us a picture of who she is. Lives with aunt, can’t afford to get hair done, is thought to be a screw up, etc.

    I really like the last line, it makes me want to keep reading!

  4. I'd want 'the first time had been an accident' to be explained a little more, I'm a little confused. Unless that's tying into her not being Brianna and you're leaving little bread crumbs...

    I agree with Catherine to moving that 2nd paragraph first, and you can move the first paragraph second or third to back up why it's all lies and trash.

    That last line though! Ahh! I'm so intrigued!

  5. I love her voice, but the list of fake celeb names throws me off. Maybe if you added "hollywood sweetheart (name) or NFL's "pro quarterback (name) it would help explain who these people are and why they're important. I really like her impulse to chop off her hair and disguise herself, but if she could give a little more internal feeling about the tabloids I think it would strengthen it. For example, Brianna Vincent pregnant with twins? (That's funny, since I don't even have a boyfriend) For example ;-) Overall though its a GREAT opening!

  6. So intriguing. I instantly want to know more about this girl after reading this. She's in the tabloids. What for? You've done a great job of hooking the reader.

    I agree with Katie, 'the first time had been an accident' needs to be explained a bit more. Was the accident reading the tabloids? A little more clarity might be helpful.

    I want to know what happened to her leg and why. You do a great job of showing v telling.

  7. I wasn't sure what was going on here. From the above comments, it seems 'I' may be Brianna Vincent. But that last sentence clearly says she isn't. And the story isn't F/SF, so it doesn't seem the alternate universe is real, making her Brianna Vincent, but not that Brianna Vincent.

    And it all seems to be happening in the past. Where is "I" now? What is happening now? When you say 'the first time it happened' what do you mean by 'it?' The first time she read a headline? Went to the drug store? Cut or bleached her hair? What is happening that you aren't telling us?

    Sorry, I just don't get it. I'd pass.

  8. I'm intrigued and it's honestly hard for me to offer much feedback because I totally get this story and adore the voice in it. I'm really stretching here, but consider adding a sense of place with the drugstore, like is your main character in a large city, a small town, etc.? I do like Catherine's comment (the first one) to make the 2nd paragraph the opening lines. Also, what was her internal reaction to the tabloid? Like why didn't she run and why was it a miracle she didn't? Does she normally run away from things? Sorry! I ask a lot of questions and I hope they're helpful!

  9. Okay, so I admit to a bit of confusion after reading the last sentence. Is she really not Brianna Vincent? Is she Brianna Vincent but something has changed her so dramatically that metaphorically she’s not the same Brianna Vincent? Is she a different Brianna Vincent all together and this is a case of mistaken identity? I don't know, but I don't mind not knowing right now. I don't expect to have all the answers in the first 250 words...

    I am intrigued. I love the voice. Love the way we see the MC through her sister’s eyes. Love how I’m just throwing into this scene that I can really picture. I do want to read on, I just hope that sometime relatively soon I’ll get to know who Brianna Vincent is…

  10. I love the voice this MC has - right from the first line, I'm drawn in and want to read more. Why is she changing her appearance? What accident? etc. I agree that perhaps cutting the first paragraph and starting with a line about seeing herself in the tabloids by accident could be a bit more hooky... and perhaps with the last line make it clearer that she's Brianna Vincent (the celeb) but trying not to be anymore: i.e. "Somewhere, in an alternate reality, Brianna Vincent may have been pregnant with twins, but I wasn’t going to be Brianna Vincent anymore." But this is a fantastic opening and I would absolutely continue reading, especially knowing that its contemporary YA. Nice job!

  11. I was a bit confused by the last line like she literally wasn't Brianna Vincent? She didn't want to be her anymore?
    Also not sure if this is a flashback or not but the narrative seems kind of removed to me.
    Premise seems unique though!

  12. I thought this was really well done! Love the way you trust your reader to pick up your cues. I think my one and only suggestion is that you might consider deleting the fake celeb names. It’s distracting and unnecessary. Other than that, I’m completely hooked!

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