Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Secret Agent #47

GENRE: MG Upper LGBTQ+ Contemporary

The spotlights warm my skin before racing across the faces of fifteen girls standing center stage. They grab each others’ hands. Their ballgowns sparkle, sending rainbows dancing over the audience. Girls from all over Elmore Township competed at other pageant optionals to get here. Now is the moment when one girl wins and the rest pretend they don’t want to strangle her. I hold my breath. It’s so quiet, a fly buzzing behind me sounds like a lawnmower.

Then someone in the audience giggles. And another. Within seconds, laugher echoes off the walls. The girls’ eyes dart back and forth, smiles frozen. My grin grows wider as I squeeze the velvet curtain before rushing down the stairs and back to my front row seat.

So, okay. I might have the teensiest bit to do with what’s happening. Competition in the twelve to fifteen age group is fierce this year. Someone has to take matters into her own hands. I can’t count on my best friend to do everything on her own.

A girl wobbles as one shoe falls apart, and I pat myself on the back. That right heel was super hard to saw through. Another sniffs at the smoke drifting above her head. Oops! Note to self: Don’t mess with curling irons, Caz. We want to win, not catch the competition on fire.

I study my best friend, Britt. Her frizz-free hair rests on her shoulders as she balances on even-heeled hot pink dress shoes.


  1. For me, the first paragraph is telly. I think you can weave in the setting while the action is happening. Caz isn't endearing to me, but I don't know why she is pulling her trickery yet. Hopefully, her reasoning for being a mean girl will make me like her soon. I can sense some humor, and would love to see that right up front and center right from the beginning. The conflict is there, buzzing in the air. I think a revision of the beginning, use your comic voice quickly, and this will polish nicely.

  2. I didn't know what was happening until the last paragraph. I'd like to know what the main character did before seeing the audience's reaction. The idea of her sawing into a shoe is funny and interesting. Would it be possible to lead with that and work in the details about the dance contest?

  3. You have some lovely details in the first paragraphs ("the spotlight warms my skin," "a fly buzzing behind me..." I also like the picture of the 15 girls, but would prefer it separated from Caz's experience (I got confused in paragraph 2, because I thought she was part of the other girls). Could you leave out the stuff about where the girls came from and how they're competing for now? I'd rather just be shown things in that first paragraph, if possible.

  4. I'm the author! Thank you so much for the very constructive crits. I'd thought much of what you are pointing out was the case, and I will be working with my CPs on this (they're a bit busy and haven't returned my copies yet). This is why contests such as this are so very, very valuable. All of you rock!

  5. The voice is really fantastic here, but I had trouble placing the narrator at first. Is she on the stage? Is she in the pageant? I realize she’s watching from a curtain, but it took a while for me to realize. I also stumbled on the part where she mentioned a heel was hard to saw through. I wonder, would you even need a saw to cut through a heel? And even then, wouldn’t it be fairly easy? And was she the one who sabotaged the curling iron? The voice is fantastic, but these little details would need to be ironed out to allow me to fully sink into the story.

  6. Thank you, Secret Agent, for the insight and your time! I'm on it! :)

  7. The curling iron thing confused me. This is the end of the pageant so she probably did her hair at least a few hours before. It makes no sense for the hair to sizzle now. And I agree about the shoe. Even if she sawed it off, why would it only break now?

    Also, "my best friend" is telling. She knows who Britt is.

    Good luck!

  8. Even though this isn't my cup of tea, I liked this opening. The voice is great, but it feels more YA than MG. The imagery is great.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.


  10. بعد التحيه يسير شركة شام ان تعلن لجميع عملائها بمدينة الرياض الكرام بمناسبة قدوم فصل الصيف عن افضل عروض تنظيف وصيانة برك السباحه باحدث الطرق وافضل الاساليب وذلك من خلال فروعها بالرياض
    شركة صيانة مسابح بالرياض
    والذي توفر شركة شام من خلاله لجميع اهالي الرياض خدمات المسابح بكل انواعها من تنظيف وصيانه وترميم باعلى جوده وبافضل الاسعار ، فلا تتردد عزيزي العميل واطلبنا الان لتحصل على ما تتمناه من خدمات لنصلك في الحال .