Wednesday, March 18, 2009

23 Secret Agent

Title: Senior Editor or Bust
Genre: YA

“To be cool you either need to be pregnant or smoke.”

Student Life, Fact or Fiction –Adams Speaks

-By: Francine Louise Randall

“Frankie! Frankie!”

I put down my copy of Adams Speaks, the school newspaper, and looked up to see Abby weaving her way through the cafeteria.

“Frankie, you are not going to believe this.” Abby dropped her books on the table. “They’re suspending Jake for a week. I just saw him leaving the principal’s office. Frankie, he didn’t do it, I know it.”

Ignoring her frantic state, which is also her constant state when it comes to Jake Wagner, the guy of her dreams who is, “the most magnificent specimen God created”. (Her words not mine.) Abby has been secretly crushing on Jake for going on three years, ever since she saw him in Freshman Algebra the first day of high school.

“What didn’t he supposedly do now?” I asked forcing myself to not roll my eyes.

Abby sighed, “I know what you’re thinking and you’re wrong. This time I’m sure he didn’t do it.”

“So fine, tell me, what didn’t he do this time?”

“Graffiti. They said he spray painted a bunch of stuff at that construction site across from the strip mall. Mostly it was on the trailer and equipment.”

I’m not sure who the ‘they’ were she was referring to, but it didn't matter.

“Why do they think he did it?” except for the usual reasons, you know, that he looks and acts like a delinquent.


  1. LOL! I love this. Especially the last line. I had some trouble figuring out the beginning but it was very funny once I got past that.

  2. *eyeballs the quote thingy at the top*

    Thought 1. Is it ever cool to be preggers?

    Thought 2. Hopefully not at the same time (preggers and smoking).

    Other than that - I like the premise. I do think this needs a little work. There are punctuation issues, plus I think you could be showing Abby's emotions a little better with the dialogue. Aside from your telling us she's frantic, the dialogue doesn't sound all that frantic to me.

  3. I like your narrator, so that's a big plus.

    I agree that Abby's dialog doesn't match her supposed frantic state. Some tags showing her frantic-ness would help. And her dialog should be more disorganized and train of thought-like. What especially stuck out to me was the "Mostly it was on the trailer and equipment" sentence, which doesn't sound like typical high school dialog, and doesn't seem like the sort of detail she'd focus on, giving her infatuation with the accused.

    If the fact that the graffiti was on the trailer is significant and you want to work that in here, you could do so more smoothly by bringing it back to what Abby is supposed to be focused on: Jake. Something like, "Why would Jake paint some stupid graffiti on some dumb trailer?" would work better.

  4. I agree with the comments above that this needs some tightening - and you don't need the quote at the top.

    That said, I would turn the page. The idea of Abby dragging a reluctant Frankie into clearing Jake's name promises to be funny and interesting.

  5. You've got a fun start here. The above comments should help you tighten it up a bit. Just as an example...

    Ignoring her frantic state, her constant state around Jake Wagner, "the most magnificent specimen God created," I asked, "What didn't he do now?" Abby's been crushing on Jake since she saw him in Freshman Algebra.

    I didn't rewrite - just eliminated some of the stuff you might not need. Hope that helps you see what I mean by tightening. Good luck with it!

  6. I liked the opening and am interested in your characters. I would keep reading. I agree with some of the above suggestions about tightening up bits, but well done overall.

    Good luck!

  7. Frankie's got a great attitude! But I'm sure she's going to spend some quality time with the principal for that line.

    However, something about the tone of this didn't quite come across to me, particularly in the dialog. I think it was maybe a bit too 'together' for YA?

  8. The voice feels a little young for a YA, especially someone in their junior year. But the premise sounds interesting, and I'd probably read on a bit further.

    FYI--double check your grammar and punctuation, as I found a few errors here (ex: should be: "...created" --period inside the quotation).

  9. Yeah, I'm not sure about that quote at the top it referring to the newspaper she's reading?

    That being said, I like Frankie, she seems like she'd be an interesting MC to follow. I do have to say that something better springboard me into the story pretty quick though, or I might stop reading.


  10. I like the quote in the beginning... that would TOTALLY make me read on... it has me all stressed out that people would be pregnant and smoking haha!

    “What didn’t he supposedly do now?” I asked forcing myself to not roll my eyes. I am not a huge fan of this particular line. If you were to read it without the contraction, it wouldn't make sense... What did not he supposedly do now? I am not saying to not use a contraction, I am just saying that I don't understand the line :)

    I also love the parts towards the end... it gets very witty there...

  11. This isn't my genre, but I think some general fiction rules can apply here. I was thrown by you opening with a quote, especially a quote that few would agree with, from a source no one has heard of (yet). You haven't established what Adams Speaks is, much less Francine Louise Randall ("Frankie," I assume). It picks up steam after that, but in the end, the conflict is rather typical--a girl likes a "bad boy" and is defending him when he's accused of destructive behavior. Not really new territory. You may TAKE it into new territory, but I'm not getting that yet. Is there a way to allude to why/how this is going to be unique? The paragraph that begins with "Ignoring" feels clunky right now--I think you can smooth that out. You've got a good feel for the voice of the narrator, though, and I think I would grow to like and trust her.

  12. I liked the pace and the voice. The one thing I was wondering about is...usually you don't get suspended from school for something that happens off the school campus. Seems like he'd just get in trouble with the cops and the school would have nothing to do with it, unless the construction site and the strip mall were adjacent to the school and he did it while skipping class! But I'm not a principal, nor do I play one on tv, so I don't know everything! :) Good luck

  13. I believe different Lori is right. Kids don't get suspended for crimes committed off campus. Even if the construction site was adjacent. Might be worth a phone call to your local high school.

    There's something about this that I like, but it's jumbled. I'm not sure why I'm spending precious first page time getting to know a juvenile delinquent and your MC's friend who worships him rather than your MC. I'd read on for a couple more pages to see if there might be a romantic triangle and for the mystery. But if it wasn't nailed by the end of the first chapter, I'd set it down.

  14. Absolutely agreed that a student wouldn't be suspended for something that happened off campus (almost always), particularly if the student hadn't been convicted (or at least caught in the act).

    This is a case of the way kids talking actually being less interesting than the way we would like them to talk. You've been realistic (I have a number of children), and they do "crush on" other kids, and the do roll their eyes, and they do talk kind of Disney-witty, though not as well because they are not scripted. But in a YA book, they need to be a little better. The story is going to drag if they keep talking this way. You should cut a bit of this and get to another scene quickly. And do check out the suspension...


  15. I liked the quote at the beginning but I thouight the dialogue didn't work. So far, nothing that makes me want to keep reading. It would have to pick up quickly (I'd give it two pages) for me to go on.