Wednesday, April 15, 2009

10 Secret Agent

TITLE: My Dad's a Supernatural Investigator: Seeking Shifters
GENRE: YA Paranormal

The scent of bug spray assaulted my nose as I stumbled through the Modoc National Forest. Gloom crept in like ninjas on the prowl, and I tried to keep sight of my dad’s back in front of me. The last thing I wanted to do was get lost on a Bigfoot hunt.

“Shh…do you hear that?” Dad said.

He stopped then waved for everyone else to do so too. Our cameraman, Matt, angled his camera toward my dad then panned over to me. All I could see was his dark shaggy hair over the camera but I knew every sculpted feature on his face by heart. I mean, it’s hard to not notice someone I spent day in and day out with.

The faint sound of wood banging on wood filtered through the silence. I grabbed my thermal-imaging camera and swept the area for evidence of the big hairy sort.

“Dad,” I shrieked, hurrying over to the shrubs.

Yes! I bent down and examined a huge print in the dirt. It was easily the length of my arm from wrist to armpit.

“Oh, my gosh, Dad! It’s a print.”

My dad shouted out orders to his colleagues while our cameramen began to film the clearing. Tonight was our last night in the Modoc National Forest…not to mention the taping of this season’s final episode of Berry SI (supernatural investigator). My dad, Lou Berry is the host of the show. He’s paranormal investigator/cryptozoologist.


  1. Ooo, unique premise. You set it up well in the first 250 words too. I'd read on!

  2. I agree. Nicely set up, not overwritten.

    My only question, which is probably answered soon after this section, is how old is this character?

  3. I liked this.
    I would read on.

    Good job!

  4. MC is 16, junior in high school.

  5. Cool and different. Would read on.

  6. This was awesome. I want to read more.

    The only thing I'd change is the last two lines.

    "My dad is the host, the paranormal investigator/cryptozoologist for his own show."

    Or something like that. Using his name really threw me. HTH.

  7. Interesting premise.

    I think your opening would be stronger if you changed it to something like: We crept through the Modoc National Forest like ninjas on the prowl. I tried to keep sight of my dad’s back. The last thing I wanted to do was get lost on a Bigfoot hunt. (The bug spray didn't seem as important or interesting as the rest.)

    Is your MC a boy or girl? I thought boy until I read the part where he/she fixates on the cameraman's face, so maybe there's a way to make it clear right away?

    The end was also a little awkward. Maybe just reword it to something like:
    ...this season’s final episode of Berry SI (supernatural investigator), my dad's show. (I'm assuming it will be obvious in the coming pages that he is the host, and I don't know if you need to restate paranormal investigator/cryptozoologist when you've already mentioned supernatural investigator.)

  8. The voice in this doesn't work for me -- whether it seems too young for YA or just too rough and unpolished, it's not engaging me.

    I'd also be aware of overuse of ellipses. You use them twice in just these opening 250 words, and I would say that's two times too many.

  9. I like the idea of an MC as the son/daughter of a paranormal investigator, but I will say the MC seemed female and younger than 16. I would have guessed 14 year old girl. And he "gosh" made it seem old-fashioned to me. And the last line feels info-dumpy. Maybe have the father turn to the camera and intro himself, like for a promo?

    The premise is interesting, so work on firming up the voice and tightening it up.

  10. I love the premise but the voice seems more middle grade to me and not really 16 at all.

    Also, the line about knowing every sculpted feature on his face by heart, threw me because it sounds too romantic. But i liked the premise a lot!

  11. Not hooked . . . but the premise is interesting. I'm not sure the bug spray helps the opening. Also, it seems a bit choppy and confusing to me. Can you smooth it out a bit?

  12. I like the unusual premise! I agree with others that it needs some smoothing and polish. I wondered about the dad saying "Shh" followed the MC shrieking -- I know he was excited, but maybe a stage whisper would be more suitable from someone who spent so much time doing this.

  13. That should say "followed BY the MC shrieking" - sorry.

  14. I'm hooked. Great voice and writing. Sounds like a novel idea.

    Good luck!

  15. I'm sorry... not hooked.

    I think part of my problem is I'm a big fan of all of those paranormal shows on TV, like GH (I was thinking about Barry on GHI and smiling here). The show sounds like GH meets Destination Truth.

    I just have a hard time imagining the hunting group taking kids along.

  16. Hooked. Great character voice and what an engaging set up! Awesome hook with hunting for BF. I'd absolutely read on!

  17. I like this opening. She seems a little young, though. From the nervousness to the shrieking to the "oh, my gosh." I think YA characters tend to want to be away from their parents, so I was expecting more of a "my dad is such an idiot," kind of voice.

    I would read on to see if they find Bigfoot.

  18. I think I'm hooked.

    I was curious why they made all this noise over a footprint when they were trying to be super-quiet only minutes before as they thought they heard the Bigfoot.

    A different angle on the supernatural. I like that.

  19. I'd read on, even buy the book. It already seems to me you could make a series if you continue with the same MC and her dad's 'investigations'.

    I like your voice, just a bit of mc clean-up to better target your audience and you'll be a hit.

  20. I like the premise, but not the writing so much. There's nothing I can really put my finger on though. Sorry to be so unhelpful.

  21. I liked the bit about the My Little Pony. The part about the grandmother was slightly confusing, and I don't get why she referred to her father's family as 'his'. Wouldn't they be her family as well?

    The whole 'hates the holiday thing' was laid on slightly too thick for me. I'd prefer to hear it once, then find out why.

    I have been finding that I'm more impatient with these though than I am with the first page of a book in a bookstore. I think I want to find something out because I can't read on here!

  22. I like the premise, but the bit where the MC was looking at the cameraman I thought he'she was looking at the dad, which was confusing.
    But would read on.

  23. I wanted thank everyone for their comments--it's much appreciated. My mentor and I worked together and I've already got it revised so people will definitely know its YA. I also trimmed out some of the beginning and changed some things around.

    Thanks again :o)


  24. I like the unusual idea but I thought the writing had some rough spots. Editing would help. I'd read a couple of pages.