Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September Secret Agent #11

GENRE: YA paranormal mystery

Most kids would do anything to have a movie star parent, but as far as Diya was concerned, having a celebrity parent was way over-rated. If she had the choice between Miranda and being stranded in a deserted island without Wi-Fi, she knew what she'd pick.

That thought echoed in her mind, as she found herself in yet another staring stand-off with her mother across the length of the humongous dining table. Miranda’s hard face rivaled the cold wooden surface of the table.

Diya took a deep breath and counted to ten, waiting for the familiar explosion. And then it came.

“You’re not going anywhere, you brat. You owe me.” Miranda's skin stretched tight over high cheekbones, courtesy of the most popular plastic surgeon in LA. Any more stretching, and it would rip right down the middle. “I want you at the benefit.”

“No.” There was no way she was spending another second here. She'd planned to leave right after school, but Miranda had stopped her in the hallway.

A line of white crept around Miranda's compressed lips, a sure sign of an impending tantrum. Diya's mouth went dry, but she forced herself to meet the woman's glare with a steady gaze. Years of verbal sparring had taught her one thing. The woman could spot a chink in your armor from a mile away.


  1. Great! We need a new Mommie Dearest in the mix.
    I like the chink in the armor line--great start!

  2. I like this. I like the voice and loved "stranded in a deserted island without Wi-Fi" - so YA. I would read on.

  3. I LOL at the description of her mother! I can already picture her face....the one almost every Housewife of Beverly Hills has!

    I like the voice of the MC and so wish I could see the query to know where this was going. Even without it I would love to keep reading. Great job and good luck!!

  4. Great job making me dislike one character and liking the other in only 250 words. :)

    Maybe it's because I'm a mom, but it's hard for me when a character refers to a parent by their first name. It feels so unnatural, but I guess they don't exactly have a normal relationship here.

    Good luck!

  5. Agree about the voice, you've done a good job with it. I would like it and definitely read on.

    My only thought, which isn't necessarily a bad one, is how is this a paranormal mystery. Right now, it seems like a straight up contemporary. Personally, I like when I put in the paranormal world from the start, but it wouldn't stop me from reading.

  6. I would echo the disorientation I felt between the excerpt, the title of your book, and the stated genre, but I found your opening strong, and would read on to see more.

    I am a bit curious why the daughter's attendance is so important at the benefit. Usually the emphasis is all on the star themselves, the family secondary. Unless the mom is using her daughter as a way of getting/keeping attention. IF that's what is going on, you may want to play that up sooner. Otherwise, good stuff here.

  7. I think I'd modify your second line and use it as your first line, it was a bit catchier to me.
    (Maybe something like: "If Diya had the choice between her mom and being stranded in a desert island without Wi-Fi, she knew what she'd pick. Having a celebrity parent was way over-rated.)

    There are lots of elements that I like about this - mainly the contrast between the childish parent and the child who seems wise before her time. You've set the stage for some serious drama in your opening.

  8. I saw this on one of the other blogs (#CAGI maybe?). I like your concept and since my taste leans toward contemporary, I like that the paranormal isn't hitting us over the head right out the gate.
    Your first line is pretty solid, but the repeat of "have" can probably be reworked for a crisper feel.

    This next part I love the immediate attention, but a few too many words muddy it up. "she found herself" "in yet another" "across the length of"... these phrases communicated clearly enough but they slow the pace. Usually most "of the" statements can be reworked, unless it ends up sounding more awkward. I think stripping this down you can keep the tension but use fewer words with more impact.

    I always debate giving an example because I don't want to rewrite your story. Take what you will:

    That thought echoed in her mind as she engaged in a stand-off with her mother across the dining table. Miranda’s expression rivaled the table's cold wooden surface.

    I like the descriptive detail of the mother, and she's already set up to be a villian. I hope she has a character arc,I'd be interested to see what's she's like at the end.

    Best of luck!

  9. I like librarygiraffe's rewrite of the opening. The current version is interesting but I like the second line better than the first. However, I would change being stranded in a deserted island to being stranded ON a deserted island.

    ALso a nitpick: if her mother stopped her in the hallway, why are they having this conversation over the dining table. Do they have a huge hallway? :)

    Overall, I really liked this and would keep reading.

  10. I really like this - it is just like Mommy Dearest! A modern take on those sort of issues could really work because - and there have been so many star adoptions in recent years. The 'paranormal mystery' twist caught me off guard a little because it seems like such a good contemp idea. Nice writing though!

  11. This is great! So glad we're not hit in the head with the paranormal bit, but will be building into it. You know, like a story.

    Can't wait to see how it pans out. Mommie Dearest already comes across as an emotional vampire, and with all the Botox and scary plastic surgery going on in showbiz, it's hard to tell who's a zombie and who's the victim of a bad face-lift!

    More, please!

  12. Thank you, Jessica, for the third line of your post. And I want to echo DJ's first paragraph. I have nothing else to say about this one--it's really good, and I want to read more.