Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July Secret Agent #32

TITLE: The G.A.P. Project
GENRE: YA Sci Fi Suspense

The overhead light flared on. Ginny grumbled as she opened one eye, and the green numbers on the alarm clock glared at her. 12:01. “It’s the middle of the freakin’ night.”

“Get up. It’s time,” Dad said, his eyes wide, his lips thinned. “We told you it’d be this way.” He punched the code opening the panic room at the back of her closet. He installed it last month while spouting a detailed explanation involving as much intrigue as a political thriller.

After the tenth kidnapping, parents all over town took extreme measures, but panic rooms? Get real. She thought her parents were overreacting.

She stumbled on Grace, her stuffed pig – a gift from friend, Toad. “Where’s Mom?”

The door silenced any response, if there was one. A sharp clank followed the sucking of the vacuum seal, and she found herself imprisoned by iron walls, cold and unwelcoming. A steel door threw back her distorted reflection. The pads of her bare feet froze against the concrete floor. Scrubbing her eyes to clear her vision, she groaned when she realized her fluffy white robe lay on the floor beside her bed.

On the other side of that door.

I’m so totally screwed.

Ginny shivered. She got claustrophobic in an elevator, and the panic room made an elevator look like the mall’s food court. She longed for the security of her iPod and cell phone.

Any time now guys, let me out.


  1. Excellent! And i love the name Toad!
    The dad makes it sound like it is a trial run to use the room. If someone is coming to kidnap her i would make him frantic...I would be frantic.
    I'm hooked!

  2. I feel the character's paranoia. I would definitely keep reading. If there is a real threat, the dad's comments seem a little bit... trite - "We told you it would be this way" seems a little trite if his daughter is in real danger. Great job!

  3. You might want to not start with your character waking up. It's a bit of a cliche beginning. Although, in this case, it doesn't bother me because you jump right into the action.

    I'm not sure if her Dad comes across as all that concerned. Is he worried or is this a test? I'm picturing him in his striped pajamas, covering a yawn with one hand, and punching in the code with the other. Does his hand tremble as he punches in the code? Does his voice crack? What does the elevator smell like?

    Ginny doesn't come across as all that worried either. Ten kidnappings should make her a little worried. Does she know any of the victims? Where does she think they went?

    The line: She thought her parents were overreacting. We're already in her head so you can cut She thought. Her parents were overreacting is a stronger sentence.

    The last paragraph where she's claustrophobic doesn't make sense to me. I read it several times and don't understand what you're trying to say. I love the line where she longs for her iPod. What a great way to show her character.

    This is a pretty good start. I would change the very beginning so she's already awake. I would definitely read on. Good job.

  4. I had the same thoughts as MMKline and librarygiraffe. I'm intrigued by the situation and the reason for so many kidnappings but the reactions in this scene seem low-key and a bit off.

    First the father: here is a man who is scared enough to build a panic room, and when he comes into his daughter's room in the middle of the night, she seems more upset than he is. The simple "Get up. It's time." had me thinking he was waking her for a pre-sceduled event, not frantically shuffling her into a panic room to save her life.

    Her response didn't ring true for me, either. I'm claustrophobic, and if my parents had built a teeny-tiny concrete room to lock me in, the very thought of ever being inside it would have me in a panic. If my dad hustled me into it in the middle of the night, that terror would be my first thought, not whether or not I had my robe.

    A few random grammar things:

    "He had installed it"
    "parents all over town had taken"
    "She had thought her parents were overreacting."
    "a gift from her friend"

    Overall, I'm intrigued and would probably go a bit further, but what seemed (to me) like off-kilter emotions/reactions would have me wary. Of course, as it's Sci-Fi, that could all be related to the world you're creating, but with just these few words to go on, it would give me pause. All this is of course, just MHO. Hope it helps.

  5. I like the idea here, but it doesn't feel as urgent or frantic as the situation you describe would warrant. I'd probably read a little farther just to see what happens, though.

  6. Ditto on the above comments. I'd also have to be convinced a panic room would be the best way to avoid a kidnapping.

  7. I'm with everyone else. Starting with the panic room is an awesome hook. But if ten kids had been kidnapped, I think she'd be a little more freaked if something scary enough happened for her Dad to decide to lock her in it. And if she's claustrophobic, I think she'd put up more of a fight about going in, too. At least demand to know what had happened to preface her needing to be locked in. But overall - great writing and I'd keep reading!

  8. The grammatical things have been addressed so I'll +1 those.

    For me, I don't think we need to be panicking straight off the bat, even if it is just a drill, which I think it isn't.

    If her dad is calm about this, I'd think he had a profession where he had to be calm, or that he was faking it so she wouldn't panic. Making it more real, maybe she goes to get her robe before she gets in the elevator, but her dad forces her to leave it. That would show it isn't a drill.

    I'd read on:)

  9. OH, YEAH. I want more!

    A few tweaks needed - her feet didn't freee when they hit that floor; there's a word missing .

    But I would eagerly, greedily keep reading. More, more!

  10. I would def. keep reading. I thought your voice came through very well.

  11. I like where this is heading, I would read on.

    To echo a few other comments, the reaction from dad and the MC don't seem panicked enough given they are entering a PANIC ROOM :) Although, if her worrying over the bathrobe over her own safety is a result of unmerited concern about the kidnappings, that could be stated; meaning if she knew the kidnappings weren't a real threat. If they ARE a real threat then I think their reaction should be more urgent and less casual.

    I got tripped up on this: "involving as much intrigue as a political thriller." I think you could rework this to show more of a YA voice.

  12. 'A gift from friend, Toad' feels awkward. The juxtaposition of thinned lips and wide eyes makes me want to stop and picture it, which pulls me from the story. I like your MC, and how she's very teenager. :) I'd keep reading.

  13. Interesting beginning. Full of unkowns and possibilities so that's great. Ten people kidnapped and she doesn't feel the urgency of the situation or appreciate that her dad built a room to protrect her? I am not sure if I can relate to the MC because she sounds lika a bitch at this point. I mean, I can just as much imagine a beginning where she would say ten people kidnapped and dad did NOTHING to protect ME! So, apart from that it seems either the threat is not real or she is kind of out of it in terms of reality. I mean, not a word of concern for what might be happening outside the room to her dad or loved ones or anyone else in the house. Nope, just her bathrobe. She seems really self-absorbed which seems to work for female narrators in YA but in this case it was over the top.

  14. Wonderful writing, great voice for the MC, and super intriguing plot. I'm already hooked and want to read more.

    One think I thought was a little dramatic, given she has just been locked in a panic room and apparently people are going missing, is when she realizes she doesn't have her robe and she says this: I’m so totally screwed. Seems unwarranted and it cheapens your character and your writing.