Wednesday, March 10, 2010

42 Secret Agent

TITLE: White Lilac
GENRE:Young Adult Science Fiction

If I do this I will only have a week left to live. I stand near the edge of the practice aquarium unable to step forward. My heart pounds in my chest at the gray water and I think I might hyperventilate again.

“Caryn, you need to focus,” Seventh Official Anderson says from somewhere behind me. “Are you listening?”

I swallow and nod, but I can’t take my eyes off the water. He steps between me and the aquarium and my focus readjusts to his dark blue suit and buttoned shirt. His tie is missing, like usual, probably stuffed in his pocket and his brown hair has been brushed through with his fingers one too many times so it sticks out beyond the dress code allowance.

“Listen,” he says. “Both May and Janissa want this, so if I look at the scoreboard and your scores are below theirs I will understand. The other officials may not, but I will. This is your life and I am not going to tell you what to do with it. But you are faster, stronger and more agile.”

“And I’m older,” I say.

“You are older, which is why we hold the Tournament, so the others have a chance and you have an honorable excuse to forfeit. Who knows maybe they could beat you, but you need to remember you’re not responsible for what happens to them.”

He has said this a thousand times and yet I still feel it is my duty to protect them, even from themselves.


  1. I love the opening sentence. "If I do this I will only have a week left to live.." WOW!!! You HOOKED me in 13 words, and I wanted MORE, MORE, MORE! ㋡

  2. I thought you had a good hook. I want to know why she won't live more than a week if she does whatever it is she is about to do.

    I think you could be a little more specific about what it is. The whole snippet is a little vague but I would turn the page. I want to see if there is something else in the aquarium besides water!

  3. I really enjoyed this and definitely would read on!

  4. I'm definitely curious, why does she only have a week to live if she does...what? That's the only part I found confusing but I assume we're about to find out after the first 250. I would definitely read on to find out though. :)

  5. I'm totally confused, but I love it. Great voice. I'd read on for sure, but I'd better figure it out soon...

  6. I liked it a lot. I'd watch the exposition. Seventh Official Anderson (great name) gives a speech about being "older" that feels a little convenient, like the writer really needed to get that bit of info in, but it's not totally organic. Maybe cut it back a little or have her reveal parts so it doesn't seem like the writer stepping in. Other than that, it was v. good. I'm hooked.

  7. I'm very curious about what she's going to do, and why Anderson wants to protect her over the younger kids.

    I was a little unsure about how a Tournament is an honorable excuse to forfeit. Is it honorable to lose on purpose? It seems to be that's what he's implying by saying if her scores are below theirs he'll understand.

    But I like your MC, she's scared, but protective and I'd definitely read on to find out what happens to her. Good job.

  8. Gail said, good 1st sentence hook and paragraph. Good intrigue in the last sentence. I want to keep reading!

  9. I also want to know if there are creatures in the "aquarium" or if it's just a pool. And why she only has a week to live if she does it. Nicely set up.

  10. Great first sentence, but I was completely thrown off by the present tense. Not that it's a bad thing, but it definitely distracted me from the story. Had to re-read it in order to get back into the story.

    It's good, but my personal taste broke through there.

  11. I really like the beginning sentence, but I am wondering what "this" means.

    Great descriptions of the area. I want to know more of what the aquarium looks like. Adding something like "metal-rimmed edge" gives us a little more, without slowing the story.

    I like the last paragraph. I think it says a lot about your character. She is a good person, who wants to help people (even protect them from themselves).

    Check through for punctuation, but I'm really liking this.

  12. I found this interesting even though I'm not a fan of the tense used. The 3rd paragraph was too wordy. I'd suggest breaking up the official's dialog also.

    I sense you're on the right track.

  13. If this is p1, Chapter one I didn't find anything exciting.

    Why the heck is it so important to have the duty to protect them even from themselves? The knowledge doesn't intrigue me. So I conclude the hook isn't working.

    And the tense is also working against me on this submission.

    I think you need to go back to the drawing board and work a new intro.

  14. Great first sentence and great endine line! And how can you not like a character who is willing to give her life so others can live?

    Intriguing all around, I thought. Thoroughly hooked. Glad I read this far!

  15. I loved this. I love the voice and the present tense. Even though we don't know exactly what's going on, we can feel the tension of the situation and the conflict within the main character. I really, really want to keep reading and find out what happens next.

  16. I enjoyed this one, and I'm definitely interested in reading further on, although I don't feel like the Caryn's voice grabbed me enough just yet. Either way, this is a solid opening. Nicely done.