Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July Secret Agent #35

GENRE: Humorous YA Sci Fi

Thirty-seven stories up in the offices of Peter, Incorporated idoLL stares at her reflection in the window: artificial extra wide lips planted in paper-white skin stretched so tight around her eyes they appear to glare even when she’s in a good mood.

She’s not in a good mood.

Movement beyond her reflection catches her attention and she leans her forehead against the glass, peering across the green skyscraper roof-parks to the particle billboard forming above 5.3 Avenue. One by one its atoms ignite revealing the star-bright smile of Jettison Prix and announcing her upcoming concert at the PopOver Arena on Old New York Bay.

Beneath the display, a Bumble Bee Tours ship zips in and out of the congested flow of hovercars. IdoLL imagines the manic driver losing control of the ship and hurtling toward the billboard, its black and yellow hull smashing into Jettison’s face and knocking the particles out of their orbits. She tracks their descent, like a shower of tiny marbles, past the stunned skyscraper eyes, past the wobbly layers of hovercars, and into the pavement where they explode into a bazillion pieces.

“Ka-boom,” she says and waits for the universe’s enthusiastic applause.

Which sounds, oddly enough, like chirping crickets.

The high-pitched sound brings her back into the room. It’s the vid com beeping at her again. She pulls her forehead away from the window and leaps down from the sill, her thick black boots thudding on the synthetic hardwood. A small white smudge remains on the glass.


  1. I was so eager to send this in that I left out the fact that it is a humorous Young Adult sci fi.


  2. I liked this. It has a strong voice and is humorous without trying too hard. There's not a lot going on, but it's compelling because it raises questions about who this person(?) is and what's put her in the mood to fantasize about explosions :)

    Two nitpicks: I had to read the first sentence twice to realize that idoLL was her name and not part of the name of the company.

    I wonder if the expression 'chirping crickets' is appropriate for the POV and such an urban setting. I know there's not an urban equivalent to the saying, but it just struck me as possibly anachronistic.

  3. I'm generally not a fan of present tense narration (simply a personal preference), but I found this intriguing and would read on a bit to see more of this world.

    I had the same reaction as Lauren B to your MC's name.

    One thing I've heard said repeatedly is not to include the word "Humorous" when describing your genre in the query process. You may be shooting yourself in the foot if they start searching for something funny right off the bat and think, "Doesn't sound funny to me." Just a thought :-)

  4. Agree with the others, re: company/character confusion. I would stick a comma in there to differentiate.

    I love your writing style and the humor, and am definitely intrigued BUT the tense really irked me. I'm not sure I could read an entire book in present tense third person. As a prologue I could get on board, but if I were an agent/reader I would be hopeful that the rest of the book was in a more common tense. (that said, sometimes it just takes a few chapters to get into the voice, but that's my gut reaction)

    Regardless, I see lots of potential in this, and I would be a potential reader, for sure!

  5. I also agree about the confusion with the MC's name.

    The opening sentence is a little confusing, and trying to do a little too much. I would suggest just breakign it into two sentances.

    I liked the description of idoLL and the city, but it doesn't seem like there is much going on in the scene. I didn't find it intriguing and I probably wouldn't keep reading. But that's just one man's opinion.

    You might want to consider starting the story at the last paragraph and working in the information above later.

  6. You have some nice descriptions, but I was a bit confused reading the first sentence - maybe too much information? I think too much is happening in her mind rather than happening in reality.

  7. I agree about the name confusion.

    Maybe it's just the genre, but I wasn't as compelled to read on as some of the other commentors.

    I feel like there are some cool ideas here, but the style just isn't for me. Maybe if you wrote more about her, rather than her surroundings, I'd be pulled in more?

  8. Same with the name confusion as others pointed, although wasn't a problem for me.

    The humour is brilliant although there's not much happening here. Maybe, pick up the pace a bit?

    Good work!

  9. Yes, put a comma after Incorporated to help with the company name/character name problem. Also, is there a reason why the l's in the name are capitalized? Why IdoLL instead of Idoll?

    You clearly have a fully imagined world here. I think the previous suggestions of putting in some actions would help. As it reads right now, we're getting so much new information about your world that it feels a bit like overload. Some familiar actions would help break this up so we could digest the details of your new world slowly.

  10. I like setting established here, it seems like it's taking a bit to get rolling, but given how few 250 words really is, I would continue on. I also got stuck on the name, but a comma after Incorporated and capitalizing the first instance of "IdoLL" will help.

    This phrasing felt odd: "across the green skyscraper roof-parks." Maybe find a way to say this without the hyphenated word.

    Loved the "where they explode into a bazillion pieces."

    I agree with the other commenter to leave humorous out; how about light sci-fi?

  11. I agree with others about the character's name.
    Mostly though, I'm confused. I'm not sure what's going on and I'm not grounded enough. I'd keep reading for a few pages to find out what's going on, but if it wasn't apparent soon, I'd stop. :/

  12. I see a trend in recent YA and MG regarding names....gone are anything recognizable in favor of things that are bizarre. I would call this the Katniss sickness and like all sickesses it should be avoided. Think of Harry ...dear old Harry Potter...if there was ever a more mundane name then i have never heard of it. But, in this case, and countelss others in recent YA, the name is put forth in such a way that it is so weird and unusual that it causes confusion...not something you want at the beginning of a manuscript. I have even seen the tendency for male names to be used to designate girls. Anyway, I think the name IdoLL really takes away from the scene. It is a gimmick and I think better avoided than embraced.

  13. I usually don't read other comments because I don't want to be swayed, but I did the read the comment above me and I have to say I disagree. I think in a contemporary novel, IdoLL would take away from the novel. But this is a Sci-fi Pop Space Opera and I think it's a great name. I presume she is a pop star? And IdoLL plays off of Idol and Doll, whether you meant to do that or not. I'm intrigued. I didn't see a lot of humor in it. Humor is hard to write. So just let it come naturally. But I wouldn't classify it as humor. Then you will feel pressure to make people laugh on every page and it will hurt your writing.