Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July Secret Agent #20

GENRE: Young Adult Science Fiction

The little brown pill bottle that sits on the counter is the best birthday present I could ever give myself.
Do it. There’s that voice--creepy, deep, and evil, but comforts me like the sweetest chocolate I’ve ever tasted. It’s been speaking to me for the past five months and sometimes I think it’s coming from somewhere foreign. Your dad’s waiting for you. He misses you, Anna.

“Shut up!” I grasp the side of my head as more tears coat my cheeks. My temptation doesn’t need that voice to push me any further. I glance down. Through blurry tears, the edges of the picture I’ve been holding for hours seem fuzzy and worn. Just like me.

Sweat drips down the center of my back. It’s so hot-- the air is as thick as mud. Maybe I can close the windows and suffocate myself instead. No. The pills are the better way to go.

My cell buzzes. Ivy’s name appears on the screen. I ignore it. Don’t want to talk to anyone. Life here is nothing for me. My mom’s popping pills, turning into a drunk, and she still hates me. The only parent who showed an ounce of care was my dad and he’s dead. I miss him so much my heart’s numb.
My cell buzzes again. I ignore it. I fan out the pictures I’ve spread all over the family room floor. The only photo of all of us sits by itself away from the others.


  1. A teenager on the brink of committing suicide does create a lot of tension. Heavy blackness seems to seep out of the excerpt, which seems to fit the mood rather well.

    Will someone who seems to have doubts about committing suicide call the pills the best birthday present with such enthusiasm? (maybe I'm the only one who finds it enthusiastic, so you don't have to take it to heart.)

  2. I like the dichotomy between the evil voice that comforts like sweet chocolate. Overall, you did a good job setting up the potential suicide with some real emotion.

    I thought the penultimate paragraph was a little info-dumpish. Right now I don't think the readers need to know why she wants to kill herself. Because of the voice, we already know her dad's dead. I think it's best to leave it at that for the first page. I assume the rest will be known later.

  3. This is intense, and I'm wondering if this is where your story starts. It feels so intense I'm not sure what to do with it, given our first intro to the character and she's contemplating suicide. Overall, this works but I don't know that it fits best as an opening page; I feel like I'm missing key elements.

    Good luck with your story; I know how difficult first pages are :)

  4. The despondence in the character's voice is chilling. Great job putting me in her head here. But the last paragraph gave too much information. I'd let these details evolve with the story as I fall deeper into this character's issues. As for the first sentence, it's a strong sentiment but it sounds wordier than necessary. I just think it could pop more.

  5. I agree about the last paragraph - it's a lot of info and pulls me out of the narrative.

    I'd hope that she isn't sitting around much longer, that we get to the action soon. But I'd read on.

  6. I think the others are right about it being chilling and heavy and depressive, which all fit the situation, but I'm having a hard time connecting to it. I don't usually read stuff this dark, just doesn't appeal to me.

    Having said that, I do think the description of the voice talking to her is well done and creepy. And I want her to pick up the phone. Or turn it off. And then have Ivy come running up before it's too late.

  7. This scene is majorly intense, so well-done there, and the voice lends a supernatural sort of scariness to it.

    However, I almost feel like it starts too soon. I don't yet care about your character. If this is the first thing I get about her, I feel set up for a deeply angsty novel.

    As a note, I don't understand why 'somtimes I think it's coming from somewhere foreign'. I thought it was obviously foreign, because she seemed to identify it as not belonging to her.

    You have a strong scene here, and some tight writing. However, I feel like this needs more set-up, or more characterisation beyond her misery. For me, it's hard to connect.

  8. I would need a little more time to get to know the character before being plunged into this darkness. I think maybe a brief thought of suicide could work for an intro, and then a little lead in as to why she's considering it... but this just goes too far right away for my taste.

  9. Think this needs just a mite more to work well - feel like I've turned on a TV series after too much has happened for me to catch up ...

  10. The third sentence (the one that starts "There's that voice") is a little confusing--had to read it twice. At the end, there's no need to say the dad's dead--we know that from the beginning where if she kills herself she can join dad.

    Definitely want to read more and find out what she does and how she got to this state of mind!

  11. My main concern is the MC's initial enthusiasm about the pills, calling the best gift she could have given herself. But then it goes on to talk about her fear and hesitation in commiting.

    A book like this is hard to write because you have thousands of teens (probably in your readership) who have tried, or want to try killing themselves. So they've all been here and if you're disingenuous, they know it.