Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April Secret Agent #19

TITLE: Mind Rift
GENRE: YA Thriller

“Olivia didn’t have to die.”

The shrinks beady eyes and hooked nose reminded Carly of a mad scientist waiting to dissect his dead patient. He scratched his nose as he leaned back in his chair, smug after she finally revealed the guilt she’d been having for the past four years. He’d told her it was survivor’s guilt, common in trauma patients. Yeah, like that made her feel any better. “I remember the yellow spring dress she was wearing and the ribbons in her hair, but I can’t remember who killed her.”

“You’ve repressed your memories. It’s not uncommon in patients diagnosed with—“

“I know this already,” she snapped. She’d been coming to see Dr. Mason for two years. Before Mason it was Dr. Scruggs and before him was Dr. Malenki. Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder meant she suffered from guilt, guilt, and more guilt which included the need to dream about it every night and not have many friends. It meant keeping everyone at a distance while trying to pretend she was normal.

But Carly didn’t have post-traumatic stress. The “post” part totally bombed the diagnosis because the killer was still out there. But she was okay with the diagnosis if it let Dr. Mason feel better.

Carly was a head-case. Was that a diagnosis?

She thought Dr. Mason had fallen asleep with his eyes open, glaring at her, until he spoke again. “How’s school going?”

“Good.” Not

Do you know where you’re going to apply for college?”


  1. i don't have much to say about this. i'm intrigued and would keep reading.
    in the 2nd sentence you're missing an apostrophe: shrink's beady eyes and hooked nose...

  2. I love the character's voice in this, and I'm curious as to what happened to Olivia. It makes me want to read more.

    I don't have anything too constructive to say, except maybe that the time period is too long. She's been dealing with the trauma for four years and still doesn't remember? The cops haven't caught the killer after this long? Or maybe the killer would've struck again during the four years since he killed Olivia? It might seem more believable if you make it only one or two years since Olivia died.

    That isn't a big problem, so this novel beginning is almost perfect to me.

  3. Your first line is a real eye-catcher. But I kinda feel let down by the rest. It gets a little info-dumpy, so it loses all the lovely intent that first sentence sets up. The dialogue is a little stiff, too, which pulls me away even more. (Ex: "I know this already." doesn't feel like something a teen would say. "I know that." or "Yeah, I know already." would be much more in keeping with teen snarkiness.)

    I don't see an issue with the timeline (murders go unsolved all the time, after all), but I assume there's something that will bring it all very immediate again (like another death). Mostly, I'm just not drawn in as much as I'd like to be.

    Good luck!

  4. I was hooked at first, but then as I read on it did feel info dumpy. :( By the end I'm not sure if I would read on.

    But thank you for sharing.

  5. This is effective in that it makes me feel a bit depressed for Carly. That said, if something didn't pick up - either action wise, or comic relief, maybe something quirky in the nest few pages, I might pass.

    It's tough when it's just the first 250 words, but I'd read on and see how it went, based on the voice:)

  6. Love her voice. Curious to see how it plays out. Who the killer is. I would like to get more emotion from her. Just little things. Her actions or something. I'd read on though.

  7. This is a tough one for me. It didn't really hook me, but I'm having a hard time deciding why. I think it would be better if something was actually happening instead of just talking about it. Show me why she's a head case. School's not going good? Maybe starting with some type of action happening there that shows how bad things are because of what happened.

    I do think the time period is fine. Mourning and not finding killers can be like that, so I'm think that's fine.

    I do like the idea you have started and the information here is good, just not as hooky as I would expect from a first page.

  8. I think the reason why it didn't hook me is that the 3rd person POV felt very wrong for this piece. Have you thought about putting it into 1st person?

  9. I start off not knowing who has spoken that first sentence.

    It feels a little like they are having a conversation so the reader can be informed of back story.

    How does someone seem asleep if their eyes are open and they are glaring at you?

    This didn't compel me.

  10. Who is quoted in the 1st line? Carly? Dr. Mason? He mentions applying to college so I'm guessing Carly's 16 or 17, so was 12/13 when Olivia died. Is she seeking help on her own or are her parents pushing her because of the PST?

    I guess you're wanting the reader to know the killer is still out there, but Carly saying the "post" part bombs put me out of the story. I know kids think differently than adults but she seems like a smart kid. I felt there was too much description of the doctor and not enough Carly. Would like more of her to help me connect and root for her.

  11. There is so much more to be said in this session than what was said. I wanted to start with Carly and her doc talking about a side issue, something that Carly doesn't think is related to the main issue and she's ticked that the doc is focusing on that and not on the real thing.

    It can be related to college and friends. It is hinted at, but I want to see it front and center. Most PTSD sufferers go through a denial phase (she appears to be there to me) and you could really push the boundaries on this denial thing.

    No, there is nothing wrong with her. Yes, she's going to college, but no she won't make friends.

    I get a whiff of her personality, but show it off in this denial phase. This is going to be key to us sticking with her through recovery and discovery and the rest of the book.