Saturday, December 4, 2010

#26 YA paranormal: Unvisible (BAKER'S DOZEN AGENT AUCTION)

TITLE: Unvisible
GENRE: YA paranormal

Owen, a high school senior in hiding from the organization that made him invisible, risks his safety for a chance at the one thing he never thought he could have--a friend.

I hated this part.

The bell rang exactly four minutes and forty-eight seconds ago. Which meant I had twelve seconds to get through the next door. I was a hundred yards away, the hall was too crowded for me to run like a normal person, and with AP calculus, I had little hope someone would show up later than me to slip in behind.

Perfect attendance record, gone. Not that anybody would've given me a certificate.

I skidded toward the door. Closed, of course. Mrs. Harper always closed the door, like she worried someone would want to spy on her lesson. Not likely. Except, well, for me.

Eighteen days without a missed class. Not bad, but nowhere near last spring's stretch--forty-seven days--lots of art classes and two P.E.s. That's what I got for challenging myself this semester ... and drinking two cokes at lunch. I knew better than that.

I couldn't pick up Mrs. Harper's monotone through the thick walls, but stuck around for a few minutes anyway, hoping for a straggler. No luck.

Of course it was this hour I got stuck. The worst hour. The last hour before the seventeen I had to spend alone. Maybe I'd go out tonight. I peeked out the nearest window. It didn't look like rain. Probably safe.

Probably wasn't good enough. I'd have to check the weather forecast.

I hurried to the library. Miss Wester always took a break ten minutes into last period. I followed her once, curious. Bad idea.


  1. This is intriguing. In the excerpt I kept waiting for something to happen, or for a clear idea that he's invisible right now. I think you're hinting at it, but we don't know for sure in these 250 words. But I like his voice and would keep reading to see where it goes, and in the hopes that something would happen soon.

    I'm jealous that you got your logline so short!

  2. Writing is fine, but this is confusing - he can't open or knock on the door because ...? According to the logline he's invisible, but otherwise, I'm lost.

  3. I find this interesting but I would hope you explain why he can't open a door soon after this.

    One Q: How does he have a perfect attendance record if he has a previous history of missing classes last spring?

  4. I liked the log line.

    I didn't think the opening line of the excerpt worked because we don't know - part of what? Perhaps say that. This part of the day? This part of going to classes?

    Also, as others have said, there's nothing in the excerpt that says he's invisible. There are lots of hints, but I wonder if kids would pick up on them. Maybe at some point he should mention he's invisible?

    I thought the line about the rain was intriguing. I'm wondering why it matters to him. and I'm already empathizing with him.

  5. Love the concept - an invisible teenager trying not to be spotted (my guess as to why he can't open the door or go out in the rain - he doesn't want anyone to see or find him). I did wonder, just briefly, why an invisible teen old enough to attend AP Calc was still going to school if he's invisible, and more so if he's officially on the run.

    I'd definitely read on, though I'd hope to have the question about "why stay in high school" answered fairly soon.

    There are a few places where the prose could be tightened, but I didn't see anything glaring enough to nitpick over. I really liked this!

  6. I like the concept and excerpt a lot! It had me smiling in several spots, but I agree with others: I think you need to deliver the "invisible" punchline in the first 250 words.

    You lost me a bit at the attendance record bit. I also wondered why he's bothering to go to class--especially AP calc. Yuck! Will calc somehow help him cure himself? I don't need to know that at this point, but it would be cool if that was spelled out later on. Nice job!

  7. Unique premise, and I already like Owen from the first page. Great voice!

    Logline: This left me wondering -- How long ago was he made invisible? Also, what's at stake if the organization finds him? How will they use him?

    Excerpt: If I'm interpreting this scene correctly, I love the idea of a student who wants to go to school (even though he doesn't have to) because he's lonely and so desperately wants to be normal. Though I really, really may not be, and then I'd feel silly. :)

  8. Loved this. I thought the same as Susan, that he couldn't open the door because people wouldn't notice that sort of thing. Same with the rain...there'd be a person-shaped hole in the rain. I liked these ideas because I'd never considered those parts of being invisible before.

    I agree you should make it more obvious that he's invisible, or at least that he doesn't want to be seen. At first I thought maybe he was like a ghost and couldn't hold on to doors.

    I really like the voice, and I love boy protags which I haven't read enough of lately. Nice job! ^_^

  9. Logline:

    Line comments:

    This was interesting. You've thrown us right into the story, which is great. I might suggest mentioning that he's invisible earlier on, but overall really liked this.

  10. Agree that we need to told he's invisible. Maybe give us a clue as to why he'd stay in school if invisible. You hint that he's lonely so let us know he suffers through classes he doesn't *have* to attend becuase he craves being surrounded by people.
    Question: why would he necessarily have to be lonely the other 18 hours? He could immerse himself in another crowd of people, just like a classroom of students.

  11. I think this is a great opening scene that throws the reader right into the conflict. But, there are a few places where it feels a bit like a slight of hand- like judging from the title/logline, we're reading about an invisible kid so if no one sees him, how can he have an attendance record? (no one could count him prsent, right?) but also the attendance record and the a paragraph later, the mention of missed classes? If he's auditing classes invisibly, let us know. Or if something else, clue us in because intifue is good, confusion is not. But the voice is great!

  12. I really like the idea for the novel, but if I hadn't read the logline I don't think I'd have any idea what was going on. You need to tell us he's invisible on the first page. Even knowing that, i found it confusing. And if I were an invisible kid, I sure as hell wouldn't be going to a calculus class, so I don't know how believable that is.

    But I love the voice and the writing, i think you just need to be a bit less oblique.

  13. I remember reading this before and liking it then, and liking it now. Without the log-line I wouldn't have known that he was invisible either, but that's an easy fix. I understood why he couldn't open doors, have an official attendance record, and get caught in the rain, but clearly those issues need to be addressed. The fix would only take a few words or sentences.

    Finally, I too wondered why he would be lonely for the next 17 hours (as in, where's his family?), but at this point I see that as a hint of what is to come to keep me reading to figure out why. I assume that will become clear in the ensuing pages. Also in the next few pages I think you need to make his loneliness a bit more clear...really be inside his head and let us feel how he feels.

    THis is an interesting premise...seems like a fun read.

  14. I pretty much assumed he was invisible from the get-go, so my first thought was, "Of course he can't open the door by himself, because that would be obvious if he doesn't want to be seen." So, it works for me. I'd assume anyone buying the book probably knows the MC's invisible as well and probably wouldn't struggle to make that leap either, but maybe I'm more clever than I think I am?

    At any rate, I'm also curious why he's still attending classes, since most teenagers would be out of there in a heartbeat. It immediately makes me think of the character as a bit of a nerdy type or a stick in the mud, who likes routine. If that's the case, then well done. If not, you might want to explain what he's still doing there.

  15. I bid 10 pages.

  16. I'll bid 15.
    Danielle Chiotti, Upstart Crow Literary

  17. I'll bid 20

  18. Gah! I'll bid 22! (Hi, Michelle!)
    Danielle Chiotti, Upstart Crow Lit

  19. Hi Danielle! How are you?? We should have coffee soon. I'll let you know how the first 25 pages are. :)

  20. I'll bid 30!
    Suzie Townsend
    FinePrint Lit

  21. Stay out of this Suzie. It's between me and Danielle. 35.

  22. Michelle: Tell you what...I'll buy your coffee and tell you how much I loved the first 40 PAGES!
    Danielle, Upstart Crow Lit

  23. Sounds good, coffee's on you while I tell you about the first 45. ;)

  24. Tell you what--I'll throw in a pastry while I tell you about all of the interesting things that happen on page 50.


  26. I'm hooked enough to want to know more, but the logline isn't specific enough. Is he *literally* invisible (making this fantasy) or just hiding from a shadowy paramilitary thing? Until I looked again at the header, I thought this was realism--and was confused at why he didn't just open the door and walk into the classroom.

    As I've said on other entries, there's a fine line between intriguing and confusing. The logline needs to be very specific that this is *literal* invisibility, and I'd like to know more about this organization: why they did it, and why he's now in hiding.

    That said, I'm intrigued enough to be hooked and want to read more.