Wednesday, January 13, 2010

31 Secret Agent

TITLE: The Hiddeen
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Fourteen year-old Dagny Olson and her mom were footsteps away from entering the grocery store when a shrill voice called out from behind them, “Hildy Olson, how dare you tell my daughter you saw her lying in a bed of glass.”

An all-too-familiar wave of despair came over Dagny. She turned and spotted a thin woman storming toward them across the parking lot, her face pinched with anger. Another lady with chubby legs shuffled behind her. Dagny recognized both of them. Iris Armistin, and her friend Dora Jonson were known as two of the town’s biggest gossips.

Dagny’s mom let out a heavy sigh before lifting her hands in a defensive gesture. “Look, I’m sorry, Iris. Truly I am. But your husband simply wouldn’t take no for an answer. He insisted on knowing and he wouldn’t stop pushing me…”

Dagny inched away, removing herself before the situation escalated any further. Here we go again. Some kids struggle with homework. Others worry about their looks. But not me. No, I have to deal with this every day. Dagny’s mom was a seer. Worse yet, Hildy Olson was the kind of seer who saw nothing but misery. Not once had she seen love or money in someone’s future, only accidents or mishaps. Sometimes even death. And no matter how many visions she had, one thing was certain — they always came true.

Iris moved closer. “You leave my husband out of this Hildy!” she said. “My daughter is terrified right now.”


  1. This feels too much about the mom and not enough about Dagny herself. Better to introduce the main character, and then filter in her mom. Right now there's no uniqueness to her perspective or voice outside of her mother.

  2. I don't know why but I really don't like it when a character is introduced by full name (and age) in the first line. It smacks of too much telling.

    Aside from that, I really like this premise, but think it needs some work. There are 5 characters in the first 250 words. I had to read it a couple of times before I understood who was who.

  3. I like your fourth paragraph, interesting concept. Could be a lot of fun.

    I agree with Holly about introducing her full name and age.

    Good luck.

  4. You hooked me with the seer paragraph. The problem is it's far enough down that I would not have read it had I picked this book up off the shelf.

    If you take some of the tell here and turn it into show, I think this would be excellent.

    Having more of how her mom's abilities personally affects her in this beginning would be great, too.

  5. I like the premise, but too many people thrown my way up front.
    I agree with Sarah above and SA. If this is about the girl, then we need to know more of how the mother's issues become the MC's.

  6. I like the way it starts, but I also agree with the SA. I get the mom is a seer...could this possibly be passed on to her daughter? It is interesting, but I too would like to know when the daughter's story actually begins.

  7. Sorry, this one didn't hook me, but I don't know why. All the fantasy voices are started to become a blur. None of them seem unique at this point.

    I am curious about the title. It looks like a typo, but I'm guessing it isn't.

  8. I like the set up, but I think there's too much backstory and infodumping detracting from it. Ditto what the SA said, that the focus seems to be too much on Hildy and not enough on Dagny.

  9. I liked this! To me the opening was very strong and very unique, and the premise is interesting.

  10. Not hooked. Dagny's more of an outsider in this scene (and pretty young for a young adult MC), and the fourth paragraph was too tell-y. I'd like to get that information through the conversation rather than just picking it up from the narrator.

  11. I quite liked this and would definitely read on. It would be so embarrassing for a girl to have a mom like that, giving doom to everyone. I'm hooked. I want to know more.

  12. I am hooked by the plight of this character and also intrigued by the girl lying on a bed of glass. I really enjoyed reading this beginning and would definitely read on. I liked the pacing too, not too fast, not too slow, just right. I have confidence that you will tell me the story as it unfolds.

    I'm curious to see where this is going!