Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Secret Agent #20

Title: Space Shapes
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Lucy hesitated, her heart thumping. She took a deep breath and continued into the classroom, her eyes glued to the floor. All these people she didn’t know. That blond-haired boy in front of her was nudging his friend, the two of them laughing in her direction. Lucy cringed. If only she could disappear. Unbidden, a flash of darkness filled her mind; for a split second, only nothingness existed. What was that? She shook her head to get rid of it.

The rows of individual desks in the classroom were almost full. Chatter crescendoed in the room; some students were catching up with friends, others silently organised their papers and books. Where could she sit? Near the back would be best, where she wouldn't stick out.

The chair screeched as Lucy pulled it out. She squeezed her legs under the desk, her knees thumping against it as she positioned herself. The pixie-like girl next to her stared. Grrr, Lucy, enough! Focus on something else.

At the front, “Advanced Level Biology” was scrawled on the whiteboard; at least she’d found the right place.

The room was kind of cosy. No windows, but that made it homely. A tattered old poster of the human anatomy on the left suggested a history of debates, hinting at years of students passing through these walls.

“Good morning, everyone!” Mr Thompson’s voice from the raised wooden platform at the front cut through the noise. Everybody hushed.

7 comments:

  1. I'm always intrigued by a hint of magic because that's the kind of story I like to read! That said, I think this line happens too early: "a flash of darkness filled her mind; for a split second, only nothingness existed. What was that? She shook her head to get rid of it." The first paragraph is probably too soon to introduce her powers. Unless the power is going to actually affect what happens on the first page--for example, if someone saw her disappear. That might be a cool way to start the book. Otherwise, it feels out of place.

    The description of the classroom is strong. So is the writing in general.

    I hope I've helped. Good luck.

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  4. I have to agree with the previous comment that it seems like the "flash of darkness" happens too early. What if her discomfort and embarrassment just builds and builds for a few paragraphs before all she wants is to disappear, and then it happens then? That would also allow us to build up some empathy for her.

    I like your writing! I feel for this girl—I've definitely been in her shoes before, and you write the experience very convincingly.

    I think there's a typo in the second to last paragraph: shouldn't "homely" be "homey?"

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  5. I like the set-up of her feeling uncomfortable In a new environment, and the clash between something darkly magical happening in her mind and the normalcy of the room surrounding her.
    That said, I think it’s a bit heavy on description of setting, and you could cut down on the description so as to get to the meat of the story more quickly.

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  6. From what I read, I get the sense of nervousness of the Lucy. It's all very real. However, like the previous comments, I'm not even sure the flash of darkness is. It feels out of place to me and doesn't return in the first 250, so it's hard to know what it is. That being said, it's likely explained following this. Thanks for the read and good luck!

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  7. This opener feels pretty familiar to me; introducing the new girl who hates attention on her first day feels like a scene I’ve read before in YA. I’d like to see more clues that hint at Lucy’s past to help me connect with her better off the bat and provide tension beyond ordinary first-day jitters.

    There’s a hint of intrigue when Lucy gets a glimpse of the void, but it’s so brief and vague that it fails to really prick up my ears! I think this story stands a better chance of hooking the reader with a different opening scene that’s closer to the action and that layers in more of the plot.

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