Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August Secret Agent Contest #10

TITLE: Being Fat and Other High School Sins
GENRE: YA Contemporary

If Hell exists, and it's individualized, mine is going to be homeroom. Allegedly the classes are assigned at random, but somehow I ended up with twenty-nine people who I swear are not even from the same planet as me.

In a made-for-TV movie, I'd be cast as the shy loner who secretly longs to be part of their pom-pom mafia. From my glasses to the size of my jeans, I fit the stereotype amazingly well. But I'm not looking for some jock to make a bet and turn me into homecoming queen.

When I watch these bleached out morons prattling on about the same beach party they've been to every weekend since puberty, all I'm thinking is: Get off my lawn!

"Move your fat a**," Nick forces the words out, obviously annoyed at having to speak to me but even more annoyed that I'm taking up wall space that apparently belongs to him.

I look over at Principal Keating. He's a little ways off so he might not have heard. I think he's just really good at pretending not to, at least if the offender is wearing a letter-man jacket. Our football team hasn't missed the playoffs in twenty years and we've been State champs the last five years in a row. Somehow, that means they don't have to behave like human beings.


  1. "Pom Pom mafia" is brilliant in its accuracy. I also love the title and the opening line.

    The narrator is slightly on the whiny side, though she has good reason to be at this exact moment, so unless she continued to complain for pages and pages, I would read on. I would've definitely related to this girl in high school. I was not the social type.

  2. Katrina took the words out of my mouth - I love how vivid the phrase "pom-pom mafia" is, immediately giving us a sense of the narrator's viewpoint.

    When she says "But I'm not looking for some jock..." it makes me wonder what exactly she is looking for, and that would make me want to read on.

  3. I wasn't fully hooked, but I would read on. The MC's voice is good--not strong strong, but still good.

    And I liked how you wrote "homecoming queen"--that lets us know the MC is a girl. At first I was picturing the MC as a guy, but now I know it's a girl.

    Good luck!


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  5. Thanks y'all. I appreciate it. And Katrina I see where you get the whiny vibe from, but at least in my opinion it doesn't go on for much longer. I hate that too. She actually puts Nick on the floor in the next few paragraphs.

  6. I'm definitely interested in reading more. I like the comedy of Katrina's thoughts and her witty way of looking at things. She as a snap, and that's excellent.

  7. Does anyone like homeroom? What's bad about homeroom?

    Not sure there's a beach party every weekend, or is this Hawaii?

    Is she taking up wall space or floor space?

    little ways? doesn't seem to fit with individualized or annoyed; maybe make consistent voice?

    letterman jacket seems awkward.

    At first seems she's in homeroom, then by the lockers and then I don't know where, because principals don't usually leave their offices, do they? Maybe the homeroom teacher?

  8. I actually love this. The voice in fantastic and I would definitely read on. I especially like that she's not trying to become one of the "it" kids.

  9. I wish it had a little more about what she wanted and was doing instead of what she hated and what she wasn't doing/thinking about. I feel bad for her, but I don't completely see the hook here. Does she have a plan? If this is the start, what significance does homeroom, the principal, or that particular football player have to do with her future? I do like a lot of your word choices, I just wish I knew more than that she's fat and getting teased (which reads a little young to me, but that could just be me).

    Good luck!

  10. I love the story concept but would think the opening could be us her size rather than telling so much.

    For example.

    Homeroom is my own personal hell because I'm forced to sit for an hour with 29 people from another planet. A size 0 planet.

    In a bad after-school TV movie, I'd be the smart, loner girl secretly wanting to infiltrate the pom-pom mafia. Or, the girl some jock decides to remake into a homecoming queen despite her size.

    I'm EXCITED that she kicks Nick's butt later!! I'd read on just for that.

  11. You start out describing how bad home room is, so I assume that's where she is, but it seems that in parg 4 she isn't in home room. But I still don't know where she is. Maybe in a hall?

    And it's not until parg 4 that we see she is fat. And even then, I can't be sure that she is because a lot of people will preface ass with fat, even for people who aren't fat. And you tell us homeroom would be hell, but you don't say why. SO you may want to get the fact that she's fat in earlier. "The size of my jeans" doesn't indicate what she weighs.

    Overall, nothing happens. A kid yells at her. Perhaps, instead of her giving us background info, you just start the story. SHow us homeroom being hell, or start with the event that kicks things off. As is, it's just a person venting.

  12. Saucy and compelling voice, but this excerpt suffers from buckshot -- i.e. details headed off in a million directions, instead of a stream of clearly guided details that walk me through time and space and eventually into scene or to the next scene. From the great opening line, I assumed we'd enter homeroom/hell and get a clear view of the contents, human, inanimate, etc. The view is far from clear. Instead, the first line becomes an excuse for the narrator to free associate via narrative summary. A few in-scene details surface, but they're dropped in, and instead of helping ground the moment, add to the confusion. There's potential here but it needs some reigning in.