Wednesday, November 4, 2009

37 Secret Agent

GENRE: Young Adult, Paranormal

Brown gravy.

A minute ago I kissed a boy.

A blue-eyed, black-haired boy. In my dreams, of course.

I'm almost seventeen, and never been kissed. Not that I haven't had offers. I'd rather get my tongue stuck on a frozen flagpole in January than kiss any of the boys in my town. You can't blame me. I've known them all since the Tooth Fairy left me shiny quarters under my Hello Kitty pillowcase.

Wish the boy I kissed a minute ago lived in my town.

Now this.

Brown gravy and rubbing alcohol. My eyes didn't need to confirm where my nose told me I was. This place needs to develop a punch-card system for people like me. Every 8th emergency you get a freebie. Just like the drive-thru espresso bars.

After so many trips here, I shouldn't expect Mom to hover over me, waiting with a smile as soon as my eyes opened. But I did. Instead she sat nearby, reading a People. I faked a painful moan. Mom smiled at me over her magazine before she stood up.

My eyes asked her what my mouth couldn't.

She brushed hair away from my face. "Concussion, and broken arm, but you'll be fine, Holly." Mom whispered.


I remembered.

After sixth period, I'd pedaled into the crosswalk by Mom’s bakery, escaping Josh's calls from across the courtyard.

Rusted grille of the truck, frosted with dried mud, or poop, and feathers.

I smelled smoking brakes, screeching tires. Did I hear chickens clucking?


  1. Id read on, if only to discover why this girl seems so accident prone! The jump from gravy to kissing to emergency rooms to a Mom who doesn't seem very concerned was a bit much, for me. I would like to stick with it to see where it's headed, though!

  2. I second what Ant said -- the transition from kissing the boy to the emergency room was jarring for me. I do want to find out about the gravy, however.

  3. I think starting with the words "Brown gravy," just thrown at like that is really distracting. It seems a little gimmicky. A too-literal attempt at creating a hook.

  4. The brown gravy threw me as well. I'd cut that and start with the kiss of her dreams. I'd continue reading because I'd like to know why she'd had to make so many trips to the hospital. Why couldn't she talk? She said her eyes asked what her mouth couldn't. Seems weird.

  5. Hooked, mostly definitely Hooked
    Loved this submission all the way through, from beginning to end and I am left aggravated beyond belief knowing I can’t read the next page.

    I tried to find something to criticize, something to tweak just to justify my existence if nothing else. But Sista (or Brudder), I loved it all. If there are grammatical errors, they aren’t enough to cause any problems.

    Best of Wishes. I sincerely hope this one makes it.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Whoops, saw some stuff after I hit "post."

    1) I agree that the brown gravy line doesn't fit. Start with the boy.

    2) "I'm almost seventeen, and never been kissed." This sentence is missing a "have."

    3) In the middle of the sixth paragraph, you switch from present to past tense. Stick with one or the other... I think past works best.

    Otherwise, though, I really liked this--the story had me hooked!

  8. I know our minds jump from random thing to random thing, but in the introduction of a novel, I found it too distracting. Granted her random thoughts are strange enough to have me wondering about her - so maybe that works.

  9. I'm sorry, but as interesting as the mix of words in this opener was, I am left scratching my head.

    Has potential for a good opening, but sequence of events seems a little off. For example, she says she was kissed by a boy and then a couple sentences later claims she has never been kissed?

    Or is this the effect of concussion in the narrator?

  10. Oh, okay. She was kissed in her dreams. Got it.

  11. I'd leave out the brown gravy, which confused the heck out of me.

    I'm intrigued - I'd keep reading.

  12. I like the brown gravy. For me, it's the "I'm almost seventeen" paragraph that's out of place. It takes me out of the immediacy of her impressions on waking in hospital, and I'd be happier waiting a while to learn she is seventeen and has never been kissed.

    That quibble aside, I really like this. It's a strong, confident opening. I want to know more.

  13. Yeah, the beginning was rough. As for the accident prone girl, the guy in her dreams, and the hovering mother, I get a Twilight feel.

  14. I like it. I don't think you're missing a "have" in the "never been kissed" line- it works with the voice. And yeah, it's a little choppy and disjointed but it seems so is the narrator. I'm hooked! I wouldn't change anything. ;)

  15. I'm laughing, curious and hooked. Great voice.

    Love the brown gravy first line. I wouldn't have liked it except that it is explained shortly afterwards.

  16. I love it! I love the voice and can totally relate to the "brown gravy" smell of a hospital. ;-)

  17. It was a bit too disjointed for me and I know that was kind of what you were going for. It was just too much in my opinion and it pushed me away instead of pulling me in. If the thoughts were slightly less scattered, that might work better.

  18. I think I can see what you're trying to do with the brown gravy line, but it doesn't work for me. I'm voting with the people who want to cut it. Other than that, I really liked this.

  19. I agree with some of the other commenters. Leave out the brown gravy line and I'd be tempted to read on. As is, it's a bit much for me to take in.

  20. I'd start with the "I'm almost seventeen and have never been kissed." then, when you say "Wish the boy I kissed a minute ago ... you could just add "in my dream" after "a minue ago" then that'd tell me she was just in a dream.

    I read this twice and I still didn't know what Brown Gravy had to do with anything. But then again, I'm dim sometimes.

  21. I am hooked. I'd read on. I liked the voice.

  22. I think the randomness of the disjointed thoughts is very dazed YA. I'd keep reading and I can think of kids to pass this to.

  23. I do like the imagery of the hospital and the associated smells. However, my suggestion (FWIW) would be to actually cut the first "brown gravy" line. To me, it just flows better started with "A minute ago I kissed a boy." I think the second reference ("brown gravy and rubbing alcohol") works just fine, especially since you follow it with her nose telling her where she is. It's like a little jolt of reality after her dream kiss. But as a first line, "brown gravy" slowed the momentum for me.

    I am intrigued to know if she was running from Josh, why she's so accident prone and how the whole paranormal angle fits in. Cute title, too.

  24. I kind of like this, mainly because of the voice, but it has a few problems. Not sure the paragraph about her never being kissed works where you have it. Wouldn't she be more concerned about where she is and what happened than to dwell on these thoughts at this moment? Your tenses are uneven. I'm happy with either past or present, but they need to be consistent, and this isn't.