Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October Secret Agent #15

TITLE: Isle in the Sea of Ghosts
GENRE: YA Contemporary/supernatural

Blair Samuel Sommers didn't plan his fatal leap.

A few hours earlier, he was having a fairly normal day at his fairly normal job, which was a weekend shift at an ice cream shop. A pack of giggly tween girls requested their sixth flavor sample, holding up the line of customers. Blair took a wooden taster spoon and scooped up a bite-sized portion of rocky road.

" Utinam sicarii te raedam locus circumveniant.*" He handed the spoon to the blonde leader.

Above the register hung a framed sign: Clamo, clamatis, omnes clamamus pro glace lactis. It translated to "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream." The ice cream shop's owner had gotten it on eBay, and Blair had initially griped about having to explain its meaning to each and every customer—until it had given him the idea to use more colorful Latin phrases while serving frozen desserts. He was taking a Latin class in his junior year of high school, so he considered it a good faith effort to practice.

"What did you just say?" asked the blonde.

"Enjoy your ice cream," he replied sweetly.

She popped the taster spoon into her mouth and then handed it back to him. It stuck to his plastic glove in a salivatory mixture of caramel and marshmallow. Frowning, he tossed it out and his plastic glove with it. All right, girls. We have a miniature cute plastic trash can for that—you've killed a small sapling, and I've got a line.


  1. Oops! Looks like the footnote* got left off on this. There's a footnote for that Latin that reads: "May assassins beset you in the parking lot" (and yes, I know the translation is a little rough--I'm paying a translator, but haven't gotten it done yet)

  2. I love this opening - I think we get a strong sense of who your MC is. I love the quirky latin references and the interaction with the girls. Nicely done! I would read on.

  3. The opening sentences feel a bit gimmicky, but the rest of the beginning is fairly solid. I'm not a fan, of the italicized thoughts, as they can usually be worked in better some other way, but otherwise I'd say it's pretty good.

  4. Ah, glad you told us about the footnote, that made me laugh. I like the MC's voice and the Latin, which is unusual, a lot, although I think you could edit this scene down just a touch. But I would definitely read on. The only thing I didn't like was the first line - it felt a little cliched, and does the MC really need to have two first names? It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. Good luck!

  5. I don't get a sense of where this story is going. I would recommend condensing your 4th paragraph, which is mostly telling, because it doesn't seem to add to the narrative. It's an aside that tells us Blair takes Latin in high school. Why is that important?

    He explains in the 4th paragraph that he has to tell people what the sign in Latin means. He demonstrates this through his exchange with the blonde. I think you only need one or the other so that it's not redundant.

    I wanted more from Blair. He reports what's happening: normal day, normal job, giggly girls, and he hands out samples of ice cream. This might be more compelling if he were a more interesting character than a normal kid with a normal job. What makes him special? What will we as readers have to look forward to in this story?

  6. Really liked the Latin. I would keep turning the pages. For someone who used to own an ice cream shop, I laughed at the girls requesting six samples. In the end, we all know they will order vanilla. Nice work.