Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May Secret Agent #25

TITLE: Delicate Cutters
GENRE: Young

"If you hold still, I won't have to punch you," you say.

"God. The abuse I go through for you," Danny says.

You smile. You know and appreciate what Danny is doing for you. Just two months before at the beginning of the summer you covered his head in a molding material called alginate. He wore a bald cap and went through that scary moment of having his air holes covered so you can get a flawless cast of his head. Danny said he wasn't scared. You knew he was lying. For that one moment he grabbed his thighs and squeezed them, his breathing increased, and his legs swayed. You moved fast, just as nervous since it was your first time doing a head cast. But you finished it, and no one got hurt. You never felt so relieved in your life.

After you filled the mold with plaster and made a positive imprint of his face, you sculpted the facial wound. You started over five frustrating times before you got it right. You then made a mold of the wound and created the latex prosthetic.

Now you try applying the prosthetic to Danny's face, but he keeps looking down at last year's yearbook, Owel High School Class of 1991, that rests on his lap. He points to your picture; one of the candid shots that show off your fat butt and flat chest in a side profile while your ugly face appears annoyed at the photographer


  1. This is very different. I don't think I've ever read anything from *my* POV. It takes my brain a minute to get into it, but I think it's interesting. I'd read on.

  2. Nice dialogue.

    I find the viewpoint very jarring.

    The switch to a flashback in the 3rd paragraph confused me.

    I thought it was a boy mc, but the last paragraph makes me think girl.

  3. I'm with the first poster. It's almost as though you could plug in someone's name everytime their's a 'you' or 'your' and it would flow better and make more sense. I don't think I've ever read anything in my pov either. Besides that- I like the imagery of the cast being made and the action is clear.

  4. Sorry, I'm not a fan of 2nd person POV. Based on the title, I'm also questioning if the story is similar to the book, CUT by Patricia McCormick.

  5. Hmm, I'm really not sure about this one. The writing is good, but the style is something I'm not familiar with, and I'm having adjustment problems.

    The flashback didn't work too well for me either. Is there a particular reason you didn't just start with that action instead? Just curious. BUT, in that paragraph you made a tiny booboo. It's all past tense except part of the sentence where you "can get a flawless cast of his head." I think it should be "could".

    I really like the last paragraph of this. To me, that's interesting and tells me a lot about your MC. Actually, that part works perfectly with the 2nd person POV, at least in my case.

    Good luck with this.

  6. I don't remember reading other novels with this pov perspective. Wish it was a larger sample, I'd like to read more.

  7. I read the sample because of the title/subject. But I really found the POV hard to read. It was just too distracting. If I picked up this at a bookstore and skimmed through, the POV would cause me to put it down.

  8. I've read a few pieces with this POV, usually short stories, but in this case the narrator seems so different from me that I find the POV jarring, too.

    Aside from that, I love the voice and the writing.

  9. I really don't like this POV. It's too jarring for me.

    Sorry, not hooked.

    Good luck with SA!

  10. I think 2nd person POV can work (one of my fave books, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN, is written in 2nd person). Also, while it's jarring at first, I know that readers get used to it, sort of like watching a foreign language movie with subtitles. The brain adapts. That said, I don't know whether 2nd person works here. I don't think the narrator would know how the "you" person feels - as in "You never felt so relieved in your life-" how does the narrator know that?

    The flashback worked for me. And I liked the last paragraph. But the main thing I want you to know is that I'm very hooked, despite my concerns with the POV. I really really want to know the situation here. To the point where if I knew who you were, I might ask to be a beta reader just so I could find out the story before it gets published :)

  11. I have to agree with the other comments, the 2nd POV is just way too distracting. I can't get into the story, not hooked.
    Good luck though!

  12. The sample is intriguing from start to finish! I enjoy the dialog, setting and writing, I'm not bothered by the flashback, and wanting to know the reason behind the use of the second would definitely keep me reading.

    You show a lot about the MC personality in that short sample, as well as including as she views herself. That neat.

  13. I find the beginning of the story intriguing and want to read on. As far as the POV, I agree w/ Refrigerator. We aren't used to that POV, but I think we can adapt and not let it be a distraction. My feeling is the author has chosen this POV for a special reason, and I'm interested to find out what it is!

  14. I actually think this would be a great hook if it were written in first or third pov. This age group might have a hard time reading this pov. Which, is a shame, because I actually love what you've done. Good luck!

  15. 2nd POV is a risk. Right now, it's working but I wonder if you can successfully sustain it for the length of a novel. And that the 2nd POV is necessary to the story, not just a gimmick.

    Good luck.

  16. Wow, the second person POV messed me up bigtime. I kept asking myself if I was doing what you said I was doing, and then when myself said "no" I started arguing with myself. Really don't like second person POV. I'd stop reading to maintain my sanity. Sorry.

  17. Second person is jarring to start, but as someone said, once you get into it, the brain adapts.

    I liked what you presented - the topic, premise - and would definitely read on if it was in third person. The problem I'm having here with 2nd person is the flashback, because why would I have to be told what I did in the past? I should already know it. And it was the section here where you lost me.

    I haven't read second person a lot ( a few stories years ago in high school) but I'm thinking if it was all in present tense, and you stayed away from flashbacks, it could work very well.

    On the other hand, even if you pull it off, can you sell it?

  18. Not hooked. Sperson POV is tough to pull off, but I've seen it done well. (See the first chapter of Elizabeth Scott's Living Dead Girl). I don't know why, but this piece didn't work for me. I couldn't get into the second person, and my brain couldn't process what was going on.

  19. p.s. I think I figured out what isn't working for me. When the first sentence tells me what "I'm" saying, I automatically stop and think, "Wait ... what? Why in the world would I say that? And who the hell is Danny? And why am I talking to him?" Too many questions running around inside my head for me to appreciate the writing.

  20. Second person POV always reads like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel to me. I loved those, but in the context of a novel, I just can't get into it.

    I'm sure that 2nd person POV is a love it or hate it type of thing, so if you find readers who love it, I think your hook sounds interesting.

  21. I had a hard time reading this. The POV is very different and I couldn't really get into it.

  22. I'm interested why you chose 2nd person--it didn't quite flow for me, yet. I think it's one of the trickier ones to get to read as smoothly as it needs to in order to work.

    (And when it works, MAN does it work well. I'd really like to see this work, since the content and set up are intriguing and makes me curious.)

    The flashback also is a bit jarring, especially when you're establishing the pov and voice here, so I wonder if we need the information right now, or if we could just focus on putting on the prosthetic and get the background details of how the narrator got it later?

    With a smoother opening and more polish on the voice, I'd definitely read on to see what it's about.

    Good luck! :)

  23. What an interesting start. I love it, but like some of the others, I don't like reading second person, so I probably wouldn't read on.

  24. It seems a lot of people don't like second person POV, so unless you have a really compelling reason to keep it that way, I'd at least consider changing it since it seems so offputting. I actually liked it, and the subject material, and would keep reading. It will be interesting to see what the SA says about this one.

  25. So, I'll be a lone voice of dissent coming in here to say: I have no problem with second person POV. I don't associate it with Choose Your Own adventure stories, I associate it with a lot of lit. fic actually, like Fight Club or If on a Winter's Night a Traveller.

    Right now, I would totally read on because this reads kinda like Fight Club but MG-ified, which is interesting to me.

    But, despite the fact that I like it, perhaps you could consider changing the POV since so many people dislike it :)

  26. There's actually a book coming out in September called YOU from second person POV.

    That being said, I'm more curious as to why it takes place in 1992? Most teens wants to be 'in the now' or in the future. Unless there's a serious need for it to be in 1992, I'd try for a more modern time period.

    I like the voice, though, and would certainly keep reading.

  27. Hi,

    I am the author. Thanks for reading. Big thanks to those who gaves crits/suggestions/support.

    It was fun to see the debate :-)