Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August Secret Agent Contest #7

TITLE: Blackbird
GENRE: YA Fantasy Thriller

I sat in first period Bio II, my guitar pick scratching out a tuneless riff against my pants leg. After the years of hiding, of keeping my head down, I was still going to die. They'd find me now, and soon…

I gripped the pick, digging it into my palm until my fingers turned the color of my chipping purple nail polish. I shoved the pick into my pocket. James Loeper could be stopped. I had a plan. I stood up, slipping a test tube and a couple petri dishes into my hoodie pocket as I did.

Getting out of class was the easy part. Mr. Mueller, like most guys, was scared to death of "girl stuff," so I just grabbed a not-quite-concealed tampon, went up to him, and said, "Umm... Mr. Mueller, can I go to the bathroom?"

Poor Mr. Mueller. Ears going pink, he mumbled to somewhere above my head, "Sure, Taylor. Fine. Take your time." I stuffed the tampon into my hoodie, trying to keep the glass silent, and walked out.

I should have been relieved, but the knot in my stomach just tied more kinks. Still, I walked down the grey and white hall as confidently as I could. The key to not getting caught was acting like you knew what you were doing. And though I had no freaking clue what I was doing, I couldn't get caught. My life depended on it.



  1. Query at WriteOnCon here

    First five at WriteOnCon here

    NOTE: author's identity will be revealed at these links. Must register for the forums to view.

  2. I enjoy the tension you build here and I really like the first paragraph.

    I don't think you need "Literally" at the end. I feel like that's taken on sort of a comic tone in our culture which works against the sense of danger you've created. Plus, we already know from the first paragraph that she literally thinks she might die.

  3. I love the first line of this, but the tension felt a little forced to me. There was no build up. Plus, this is YA, so how many years can one really be in hiding? Like Lucy, I could do without the literally. It takes a little of the punch away in my opinion.

  4. I really liked the image of her playing a riff against her leg. But in the next sentence she's worried that she might die, and it just seemed strange that she'd be playing a riff against her leg with something that big on her mind. It just seems too relaxed for the situation.

    There's also a nice feeling of tension here, but you lose it a bit with the tampon scene. It's more comical than the rest of the piece, so the tension disappears there.

    In parg 2, Loeper can be stopped because she has a plan, which indicates to me she knows what she's doing. At the end, she doesn't know what she's doing, and I'm wondering what happened to her plan.

    Parg 3, you tell us what's going to happen then you show it. You don't need both. You might cut everything but the dialoue because parg 4 shows everything you explained in parg 3.

    And I, too would cut 'literally.'

  5. The first sentence and the second sentence could be from two different stories. They don't marry well. You can't be nonchalant and morose in the same moment...Or maybe that's the definition of a teen-ager?! Well, it didn't work for me, nor did the strange manner in which the narrator informs us of her intentions and the details of her world. I'm not convinced, for instance, that this Taylor character would reveal the color of her nail polish during a major plot turn or that she'd mention that the hallways were grey and white. In short, the first-person narrator is confusing her jobs... Moreover, there's just a lot of incongruity throughout this. Are the stakes grave or guitar-pick casual? Is it "sneak out of class" clever or "save my life" serious? Hard to tell here.