Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Secret Agent #9

GENRE: YA Fantasy

Amber wanted to do something fun with her friend on this beautiful spring day, the first of a two week break from school, but Shana had to spoil it all by saying she couldn’t go. What was the point of skipping out on her chores by herself? To think, she biked all the way down here for nothing.
“Are you sure you can’t get away?” Amber asked, folding her hands together, trying to look pathetic and abandoned.

Shana looked out towards the fields. One would think corn farmers would have better corn than the stalks withering in the sun back there. Finally, she shook her head.

“Can’t. My pop wants me to spread fertilizer.” She stuck her tongue out and pretended to puke. “I’ll get my dad to lend me the truck tonight and we can go catch a movie. There’s a new one playing at the theater.”

Amber agreed, although with a lack of enthusiasm. The film was an epic based on the Resurgence, a myth she learned in school years ago. The Monks who served the Earth Elemental were killed and a group of heroes had to brave the trials of Mount Cuzo in order to create a new line of protectors of the land. Total snoozefest. She preferred the movie that had been playing at the theatre last month, which took place in a horrible world with no magic or Elementals and people were hunted relentlessly by the beasts, but their greatest enemy was each other.


  1. I like the details here-- the withering corn stalks, the hints of fantasy in the movie descriptions. But I'm not sure this is the best place to begin. We meet the 2 main characters (at least, I assume they are) and we get a few hints about Amber's personality. But not much happens. The paragraph about the movies feels like exposition designed to let us know this is a fantasy.

    Maybe check out your manuscript and see if you can begin in further, closer to where something happens. For example, does Amber get in trouble for skipping her chores? Do they end up seeing the movie or does something else happen to stop them? I think you've started a bit too early.

    Also, this is labeled as fantasy, but except for the movie paragraph, it feels very contemporary, with the truck and the bike and discussion of what to do during spring break. As a reader, that confuses me a little. Maybe if you start in further, the fantasy element will be clearer.

  2. It reads a bit young to me.I thought the characters sounded MG up until the part about getting the truck and going to a movie....

    I didn't connect with the movie descriptions either, and they took up a lot of real estate.

    I would prefer to get a sense of what is really going on in this story.

  3. The opening is a little telly and is kinda backstory even if it's only "back" like 30 seconds. Also, it's odd to skip Shana saying she can't go when you could show that in fewer words. If you don't want to start with that, maybe start with Amber's question and then have her think about why she's asking it.

    I agree that this sounds more contemporary. It also sounds a little MG, maybe because of the "fun with her friend".

    Good luck!

  4. The voice here is reading slightly younger than YA to me--as do the mentions of shrugging off chores and riding bikes to a friend's house (but that could be regional!). I also felt that the movie description was a tad heavy-handed—that we are supposed to gather that this is relevant to the plot. Otherwise, there are no hints of possible magic. Could this information be woven in in a more organic way? Right now, the tension is being implied because the reader knows they are reading a story so surely this information is important, but I’d love if the tension was being created based on the action unfolding within the pages. (And as a very small side note, from what I see here, I would perhaps classify this as contemporary fantasy rather than fantasy.)