Wednesday, March 10, 2010

46 Secret Agent

TITLE: The Discovery of Socket Greeny
GENRE: YA / Sci-Fi

Blood dripped down my shirt. The tissue up my nose soaked through. I tipped my head back and pulled it out, closed the side of my nostril with one finger. The office door opened.

“Here you go, Socket.” The secretary put a fresh scented tissue on my face. “You’re bleeding a lot more.”

I sat upright. The sudden change of direction made me dizzy. “I’m all right, Ms. Kallenbach.”

She put a box of tissues on the low table and folded her hands on her belly. She stared at my nose. Stared at the pulsing knot on my forehead. Most of all, she stared at my long white hair. Who didn’t?

“Mr. Akers will be in very soon,” she said. “You just call if you need anything else, all right, darling?”

Did I really need to call? She saw me bleed through the tissue on a security lookit: a small silver ball floating over the doorway. Its red eyelight rotated around and watched Ms. Kallenbach leave, then turned its attention back on me.

First day of school and I was in Akers’ office. I’d bet he was visiting the principal to find out what they should do with the Socket Greeny kid that couldn’t wait for school to start before his first fight. I was fifteen. A sophomore. And I was waiting for an emotional counselor. There were two billion other places I wanted to be.


  1. I can't decide on this one. At first I was thinking that the bloody nose was just a trick to draw the reader in, but then it makes sense once we know that he was in a fight. Maybe you could put the sentence in sooner. The other thing was that it felt like any school scene anywhere, so I was confused at the mention of the lookit. Maybe something else with hints of sci-fi could be mentioned right off the bat, even more than the white hair.

    I'd read on a bit more to see if this went anywhere, but I'm not completely hooked yet.

  2. I like this, but the paragraph with the security lookit confused me. I thought she was seeing him bleed through the tissue, but really she saw him bleed on the security lookit. At first I thought she was holding a tissue over her eye and looking through it. So, maybe reword that sentence. :)

    Also, I was expecting him to be a lot younger. When I got to the part about him being fifteen, it surprised me. I'm not exactly sure what gave me a younger impression. Maybe it's the way the secretary is treating him, calling him "darling" and stuff. Or maybe it's the voice.

    Sorry, I hope this is helpful! And good luck.

  3. Good, good stuff! I agree with folksinmt. The reason for the bloody nose would be better revealed right off the bat. You've started with the character in conflict, so don't be afraid to tell us what it is. ㋡

  4. There's enough here that I'd want to learn more. I like his voice. I get the lookit.

    Maybe I'm just especially picky about prepositions, but I'd say the tissue in my nose or held to my nose. And the red eyelight...turned its attention back to me.

  5. Very intriguing. I'd read on. The white hair made me think the character might be an albino?

    And I really want to know more about the name "Socket Greeny"!

  6. I like the way we have to read to find out about the blood. I like the white hair--why in the world would a fifteen-year-old have white hair? I'd read on. Good job!

  7. I was confused about the lookit as well. Still, this 250 words raised questions that I would read on to get an answer to. Good job.

  8. It hooked me at first, but I ended up slipping away from it. Nothing I can really put my finger on.

    He does seem to be younger than fifteen. I expected him to be more MG-age, just slightly more mature for his age (the white hair gave me that impression).

    I do not see the Sci-Fi element in this, but I'd check out a few more pages.

  9. I didn't get who the MC was until the last paragraph. In the 2nd paragraph when the secretary gave him another tissue I thought it was some guy at his office.

    I wasn't feeling the sci-fi either but I'd be willing to go another page or two if the beginning drew me in more. As it was while the nose bleed scene was well done I really had no reason to care.

    (When the secretary put her hands on her belly I immediately wondered about that. Is that significant? Is she fat or pregnant?)

  10. I liked this. I think it has a strong voice and great pacing. One question: YA is 13-18, right? IMHO your MC should be a little older. Are you sure it's not MG? Bottom line: there's enough here to keep 'em reading and it's well written...I'm hooked. Good luck!

  11. The lookit didn't bother me - I assumed it was a security device in a futuristic setting. I did like this opening, but agree with putting the fight mention sooner. Maybe a bit of tightening, a quicker pace.

  12. My alert went out when you wrote about "my" hair. It was a mild case of tell not show.

    Very slow start, notinterested in somebody with a bleeding nose unless it's been caused by some sort of action which is dangerous, or more dramatic. But a kid in a staff nurse's office is boring.

    Also if this is page 1 chapter one, I'm not intrigued.

  13. I liked it up until the last paragraph when the story stopped and Socket Greeny had to tell me all about himself.

    Why stop the story to talk to me? Can you imagine if they did this in movies - stopping the film every few minutes to explain something?

    All the info he tells me about himself can be gotten out through dialogue and action. Get rid of that paragraph and any more like it in the novel, and I'm hooked.

  14. This one lost me a little. The voice sounds more middle grade, than YA. And the breaks in between the dialog over and over created a disconnect for me in this case. I think it's also because I'm not sure what's going on...

    I did have to reread a few of the lines too. If I were this author, I would try simplifying, and focusing on connecting us with the protagonist at this point.