Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August Secret Agent Contest #3

TITLE: Upgrade
GENRE: YA Science Fiction

Angel's parents were having "the discussion" again. She could tell because the decibel level inside the car had risen by 9.5 for the third time this week.

"I just don't understand why you think the public school is so wonderful," Angel's father said from the driver's seat.

"I don't think it's so wonderful," her mother replied. "I think Roxon Academy is so expensive."

"They're one of the top cyborg schools in the country. Of course they're expensive." He pulled the car down the driveway and onto the main road. Angel tried to calculate what factor might have increased the frequency of these arguments lately. Perhaps she had done something wrong again.

"And what do you get for that money?" her mother asked. "Bigger computers."

"You get experts on how cyborgs think, that's what." Angel's father slammed the brakes, almost missing a stop sign. The momentum pushed Angel forward. It must have been her. Although she had followed her etiquette protocol flawlessly, that did not always make people happy. With her parents, it often had the opposite effect.

"She doesn't need more experts," her mother said. "She needs to socialize with other teens. She can get that anywhere."

"Yeah? Well, maybe with less than a year left, I don't want to send her just anywhere." Angel's father fell silent as he checked for traffic and drove forward. Her mother did not wait for him to continue.

"Well, let's try to get Angel's opinion."

"Please don't ask her again. She'll just--"



  1. I'm intrigued.
    The second sentence seemed a bit off. Maybe -the volume had risen by 9.5 decibels for the third time?
    I'd read more.

  2. I'm hooked. I want to know more, especially about the cyborg stuff. I'm also wondering what the MC is doing while her parents are arguing. Is she not listening? Is she listening to music or just drowning them out?

  3. The topic is intriguing and I'd stick with it just for that. I do think you could perhaps get more of angel into it though--a bit more of what she's thinking and feeling. Or perhaps cyborgs don't feel? In which case show that. But I'd read more.

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  5. I can tell that the development of emotions is going to play heavily into the story arc, but right now I have no idea what or who poor Angel is. I'd read on, but the story would have to be really compelling to draw me into a character I don't understand. Hope it is - good luck!

  6. Hmmmm. I feel like my hand is being held a bit too tightly. I like to slip into strange worlds with a bit more ease. I can feel the presence of the author here, working overhard to educate me on the rules of the scene. It's not bad, but I find myself distracted by craft choices throughout this opener.

  7. Is there another way of showing that it's a school for cyborgs? It's like 'wizard school', great for letting the reader know quickly, but it sounds a little forced. I'd read more of this.

  8. Wow. It's funny how often I critique others' work and say that they're not trusting the reader enough, but I don't see that I'm doing the exact same thing in my own opening. I think a few simple edits will go a long way in establishing where the characters are without sounding forced.

    Thanks so much for all the comments.