Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September Secret Agent #22

GENRE: YA Paranormal Romance

A jagged crack opened in the heavens, and I ran for cover, sure I'd be struck by lightning. Raking rain-soaked hair out of my face, I shouted, "Thanks, Mom, for messing up my summer and sending me to Ohio." Not that she could hear me from her Long Island condo.

Thunder rumbled like a freight train, and I huddled under the eaves of the tiny airport. If I didn't win this stupid dance competition, I'd have to join the family mortuary business when I finished high school next year. Life sucks.

I peered down the empty sidewalk. No cabs. No limousines. No wise-mouthed New York taxi drivers.

A ratty station wagon with "Sandy's Transport" printed on the side chugged to the curb and splashed water on me. Good thing I wore my pink raincoat, which my mother made me put after she heard a weather report. Thanks, Mom, at least you did something right.

Another splash of water and a puff of car exhaust later, a tall guy about my age appeared out of nowhere. Each blast of thunder made me wince and shudder, but not enough to miss how the bolts of lightning illuminated the black hair that streamed down his back, his dark sunglasses, and the black cape that whipped around his broad shoulders. His skin looked pale, almost translucent. If I had to rate him on my Dork to Perfect Guy Scale, he'd be in the incredibly good-looking, but strange category.


  1. I'm on the fence with this one. I want to like it because that title is hilarious and it's a genre I enjoy, but the fact that the MC isn't excited about the dance competition OR becoming a mortician (which is a nice future career for a character in a vampire novel, by the way) doesn't make her very likable.

    A few small things to consider: "Good thing I wore my pink raincoat, which my mother made me put after she heard a weather report" is missing an "on" between "put" and "after." Also, in the final sentence, it seems like "incredibly good-looking, but strange" should be capitalized to match "my Dork to Perfect Guy Scale."

  2. This is one of my favorites. I think the voice is strong and the entire opening so funny. I laughed at the comment, "Life sucks." I also liked the "incredibly good-looking, but strange" category she puts him in (didn't we all have one of those when we were teenagers?) and the fact he looks like a stereotypical old-movie vampire.

    The only thing that didn't work for me is the fact that she's blaming her mother about being in Ohio when it seems like she'd be happy to have a chance to win the dance competition if it meant not being a mortician, which she didn't seem to want to do.

    Overall, I really enjoyed this and wanted to read more.

  3. I like this, but it could use a little more tension/suspense. Also, to tighten up you could avoid the two instances of 'Thanks, Mom' and also splash of water.

    I loved the last line. Its brilliant!

  4. I like your MC's voice, but her blaming her mother turned me off a bit.

    Like gm, I loved the last line.

  5. We have mortician parents who send their daughter to a town with vampires (is it intentional, I'm wondering?) We have a girl who doesn't want to be in either place. (What is it that she does want, and where would she prefer to be?) and we have a handsome but dorky young man who is probably a vampire.

    This sounds like it will be a fun story, more light-hearted than serious, and while I usually dislike vampire stories and first person, I'd read more of this.

    But I do wonder why she's alone? Why she hasn't gone there with her dance school, or why she isn't staying with a relative who would come and pick her. But then maybe she is and you just haven't gotten to it yet.

    The writing could be polished a bit more, but then it can always be polished a bit more. Nicely done!

  6. I really like the voice in this, and loved the line about the Dork to Perfect Guy scale. I also get a feel for your MC's personality, and would definitely read on.

  7. I love the voice. I love the morticians line. I would capatilize Incredibly Good.... line to match your Dork line.
    It didn't throw me that she didn't want to be in Ohio. She's from NYC, which is far more happenin' then some Ohio town. And I took it, right or wrong, that this competition was something she was forced to do in the first place, or something she felt forced to do to avoid becoming a mortician, kind of like she picked the lesser of two evils.

    Hooked. or better said: you sank your fangs into me so i'm in for the ride.

  8. The good news is you have a lot of voice. The bad news is that I really don't like the MC. It's only been a few paragraphs and she already reads to me as whiny and ungrateful. She wants to be in Michigan to win this dance competition and avoid the mortuary but she blames her mother for making her go. She can't even muster up a bit of gratitude for her mother's foresight about the raincoat.

    Granted, actual teenagers may feel differently. But as a mother myself, I just found this annoying. We have a really good sense of what the MC doesn't want, I want to see what it is she does want.

  9. I think I'd really like this one if the prose tightened up a little. I also wanted to know *something* positive about her. Right now she seems very sulky. She doesn't want to be anywhere, and -- though she obviously has wit -- it's not *quite* strong enough to make me read for the sheer pleasure of her commentary on the world.

    But this is a good start.

  10. I guess I'd also like to see some positive personality traits in the MC, though I like her strong character and this is well-written. I also found it confusing that she seems to be forced to be in Ohio but she wants to be there for a dance competition. I'm personally allergic to vampires, but I love the family of morticians twist here.

  11. Writer of THE VAMPIRES OF DANCING SENSATIONSSeptember 23, 2010 at 9:54 AM

    Thanks everybody for your great comments. It's back to revisions, but now I have a good idea of what to fix.

    So, thanks again!

  12. I liked all of this. I must be the odd one out 'cause I even liked the winging MC. However, I would like to know in the first 250 words what it is the MC wants. Maybe it's the guy in the black cape. That's what I'm thinking. He sounds kinda cute.

    I loved the voice.

    Good luck. I'm hooked anyway.

  13. I like your MC. She seems pretty authentically teenage girl to me. I love the Dork to Perfect Guy scale. I like the voice you've given her.

    I'd read on.

  14. Would she really be shouting out loud like that? Why say it aloud instead of just thinking it? Also as she's running for cover, I'd love to FEEL the tension more in this first paragraph. Is her heart beating fast, does she feel like she can't breathe, can she smell something burning from getting hit by lightning, etc.

    I also think we need to hear sooner that she's in an airport (similarly I'd lose the freight train reference since in close proximity to the airport, it's confusing). In the first paragraph based on the "jagged crack opening in the heavens" and running for cover, I imagined her outside somewhere open, to hear she's under the overhang of the airport seems anti climactic.

    The tone here fluctuates. The first line connotes tension and actual danger. Then the next three paragraphs are relaxed. And then the last paragraph with the tall guy appearing out of nowhere in his dangerous looking attire brings it back into the potential danger zone. This needs to be more consistent. Decide what tone you want to convey and then revise your descriptions to reflect that.

    I'm not quite hooked.