Wednesday, April 15, 2009

39 Secret Agent

TITLE: Amazing Journeys
GENRE: Young Adult Fiction

I eagerly waited to be tucked into my cozy, sweet little bed and snooze away to glory. Then the lights went off and my eyes closed…to embark into another fascinating adventure, to have another riveting journey and to add another story to my collection.

At the precise moment that my eyes closed….all went awry beside me and Voila! I was in another world, another place and at another time. This time my ‘magic bed’ decided to send me to the heavenly abode, up above the sky. As I dreamily glanced around, I was momentarily spell-bound by the entrancing beauty of the ambience.

Wonderful milky and foamy spotless white clouds drifted by me and as I looked down at my feet, I was standing on one myself.

"Welcome to the "Skysi World" madam, where may I take my honor?" a sweet, warm voice with brilliant echoed out of nowhere. I glanced around and eventually realized that the white cloud on which I stood was actually speaking to me.

I faltered and stuttered but finally managed to say, "Wherever you…you…. may please. I wish to visit the chief area of this place if you may.”

"Very well. As you say, Madam, I take you to the ‘Central Skip-pie Hall’ where most of the sky world's hustle bustle is found." This time the voice had a mocking tone.

With bated breath, I finally embarked on the stimulating journey. Within five minutes, I reached the Hall while trying hard to balance myself during the speedy ride.


  1. Not sure!

    I get the feeling this is geared more towards Middle Grade versus Young Adult by the tone and words.

    ... sweet little bed

    . . . wonderful milky and foamy spotless white clouds

    . . . sweet, warm voice with brilliant (???) echoed

    . . . Central Skip Pie Hall

    I definitely think there is potential here, just not YA potential.

    And, hey, this is just my opinion, and last time I checked, that didn't count for a whole lot. ; )

  2. Sorry, not hooked. The magical quality of what's happening seems something that would appeal more to MG than YA.

  3. Another night writer, like me--sweet.

    Like the idea of dream travel, but noticed some physicality problems. First main character is in bed, but then standing on the clouds. Couldn't help but wonder what it would feel like to step out of the bed onto a cloud surface? Use of "chief area" wasn't clear to me either. tourist area? government building complex? school? What is she wanting to go visit?

    near the end, confusion--"speedy ride"--is she riding on the cloud? or did she climb into a cloud mobile of some sort?

    Your description and dialog seemed at odds with middle or YA at times.

    I like your world building, which is why I wanted to understand that physicality more. Thank you for posting.

  4. I'm not sure. I'm not a description person and tend to tune it out.

    The fact that she knows and is looking forward to this comfy trip to another world takes away the element of surprise, danger and conflict. There is no worry. Nothing to drag us into the story.

    Sorry, I wasn't hooked.

    Interesting descriptions though!

  5. When I started reading this I immediately thought it was for middle grade or younger.

    I like your peppy voice, the piece has a lot of energy. I do think the pacing is too fast and there's too much description. So much happens! You show a lot of creativity and I commend you for bringing the story to life.

    Good luck - AK

  6. I like the idea of dream travel and think it makes an interesting topic for a novel. I love how main character anticipates her journey before she goes to bed, making it obvious that she is well-traveled in the dream world. I think what's missing is more of a sense of who your MC is. How old is she? Why is looking forward to her dream travels? Is she trying to escape from something in her waking world? In a first page you want to give readers a sense of your protagonist and hint at her main conflict. You've done a great job of setting up and describing her journey, (although I'd pull back on some of the heavy description) I'd like to get a sense of what's at stake for the MC. Very imaginative.

  7. I agree with LaurieK that I was missing the sense of who the main character is and what's at stake for her. Is the anticipation about escaping from the real world or to the dream world?

    The premise is interesting, but it's tricky to hook with a dream scene. I think it would work better for me if I knew more about the character and what he/she wants up front.

  8. I thought this read 'older' than I think your target audience might be, and found a number of editing miscues which need to be cleaned up (for instance: 'a sweet, warm voice with brilliant echoed out of nowhere' (with brilliant what?). Also, the use of the word 'another' 6 times in 3 sentences is in need of some editing. With the dialogue, have you tried reading it out loud? It reads very stilted and 'this time the voice had a mocking tone' is telling us what you should be showing us in the dialogue itself. It's an interesting concept in need to editing to tighten it up enough to hook the reader. Good luck with it!

  9. The many "ly" words jumped out at me. I agree with the other comments about it seeming more MG than YA. It is very fast paced and a younger age group would appreciate that more than a YA group who is looking to identify with the MC more.

  10. Interesting concept, but I agree with others that I felt disconnected from the protagonist and story. I wondered if this might be more middle grade (but I could be wrong).

    This has a lot of great potential! Good luck.

  11. No, I'm sorry.

    I don't know if this is just not 'my thing', but my attention kinda drifted in the first paragraph with the character going to sleep...

  12. This did seem written more for MG and not YA. Either way, you may want to reconsider some of the wording, I don't think a teen or tween wouldn't normally use the word "ambience."

    Also, if I'm not mistaken, Madam is generally used for adult women, if this is a teen/tween maybe you should consider changing to Miss or something 'younger'?

    Overall, sorry, not hooked.

  13. Okay, I'm guessing that this isn't a comtemporary YA. It sounds like a fantasy, right?

    It also sounds more like MG to me. This isn't a teen's voice.

    As a reader of YA, sorry, I'm not hooked. There's no problem. No sense of urgency. No conflict. I almost expect to hear elevator music. Now if this was MG, and I liked MG, I might read more. But as it is. Nope.

    Good luck, though!

  14. Ditto that this feels more MG than YA.

    Sorry, but I'm not hooked either. There are so many metaphors and descriptive words that I had problems slogging through to find the actual story itself. I think a lot of this could be streamlined to flow more smoothly and with purpose (i.e., plot).

    Good luck!

  15. This is a tricky one. To me, I think you could take a little more time to lure the reader into the story, let things happen a little more slowly perhaps so we can experience it with your character, rather than being told what's happening?

  16. This didn't feel YA to me, but it actually didn't feel MG either - it felt very young in tone and concept, but not really MG in language or structure.

    And while the idea of dream travel is interesting, the mechanics and set up of this didn't pull me in.

  17. I agree with Emily. It sounded maybe even too young for MG with the word choice. But I like dream books, so good luck!

  18. I just don't understand if she's really traveling to these worlds or if she's simply dreaming about them. If it's all a dream, then I'm not hooked.

    I have no clue who, what, age, etc. of your MC, and I'm sorry, but I had a difficult time getting through all your adverbs.

    It might be helpful if you tried to slow down a bit - which is probably the opposite of what anyone else will say - but I feel as though you're rushing a bit too much.

    I hope you take all of this as constructive, and run with it.

  19. This read more like a travelogue than a novel to me. I didn't fine the tone to be inviting. Also, there were a lot of elipses in this, which I found to be awkward.

    Good luck!

  20. I think you could cut this down to half of what it is now. There are quite a few unnecessary words. For a start, cut out all the adjectives and adverbs and read it through again to find out which are absolutely necessary. You might want to think through some of your word choices too. For instance, "entrancing beauty of the ambience" was a mouthful.

    Also, the way these people talk to each other was just too weird for me. Is the protagonist from a different country? Is that why she uses phrases like "wherever you may"?

    I also would work on showing us this journey instead of telling us flat out that it happened.

    I hope this helps -- and good luck!

  21. You lost me in the first paragraph with the unnecessary ellipses and extraneous adjectives. This feels very young to me and unpolished, as well as grammatically incorrect.

    You've also got quotes running rampant, and not used consistently.

    Not hooked.

  22. Sorry. I was lost after the first paragraph. The overuse of adjectives and adverbs was overwhelming.

    These could be pared back by 75% or more and not lose any impact.

    I was hard pressed to work out which age the target audience might be.

    A few other nits

    'Awry' would suggest a negative action. Was this process an unpleasant experience for your MC?

    'Where may I take my honour?'just sounded wrong.
    Surely it would be 'your honour'.

  23. Hi all,
    I loved reading each and every comment here. These will surely improve my writing.

    i think I'm not supposed to reveal my identity here. But since everybody is doubting the targeted audience, I'll give a brief a background.

    I'm a 13 year old aspiring writer girl. This story is meant for the teenagers. Maybe I put YA as wrong and should have been MG. LOL!!

    Thank you all for the useful comments and constructive criticism. I loved reading all stories here. A wonderful contest.

  24. Intriguing idea. But execution needs work.

    First of all, check your punctuation. You seem to be missing commas. And when you quote something inside a quote, you use single quotes, as you did when the cloud spoke.

    Watch out for the passive voice and telling adjectives (stimulating journey -- how do we know it's stimulating? Compared to what?)

    Keep working.

  25. This sounds a bit young for YA. I'm not really hooked sorry.

  26. I just read the comments and saw that the author is 13. Most YA seems to be written by adults for teens, so it makes sense a teen would write something that sounded MG :-)

    As others have said, this needs work, but it's not like you haven't got plenty of time ahead of you to learn the craft of writing.

  27. This sounds MG to me. And it starts off without action, and even at the end the action is still just anticipated. Also, if this is something she does a lot, why the faltering and stuttering? And how does she know the journey will be stimulating? Not hooked.

  28. When I was your age, everyone made a huge fuss about my writing- because I was young and all reasons adults indulge children. But this is a writing community.

    It's a myth that you have a right to or allowances because your years number thirteen rather than thirty. And I know, you didn't say that, but it's implied. Every time a writer types the words I'm just 25, I'm just xx, it's the same as asking for special treatment. Be proud of your work not your age because has an equalizing quality. Pretty wont help you, age won't help, being popular won't help you. To be a writer requires one thing- good writing. And whenever the desire to say but "I'm only thirteen," comes over you. Don't do it. Just write well.

  29. I can see this as a picture book, if you had a really great illustrator and took out the superfluous words (of which there are many). Overall, I'm turned off by the mellifluous language and scary grammar (brilliant is an adjective, not a noun for example). Not hooked.