Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October Secret Agent #37

TITLE: My Future Girlfriend's Comatose and I'm Toast if I Call 911
GENRE: YA Fantasy

A crash cart double parked inside Mike’s chest while waiting to see Teagan in a dress, hair combed and not under a baseball cap. She decked out to visit her twin sister in chronic care, knowing somehow it made, Sleeping Beauty happy. Well, she didn’t make Mike happy, marching up the walkway with her dress tucked into track pants. The ponytail draped outside her cap and Rachel (who nicknamed him, MGM--middle-grade-Mike) completed the disappointment.

“You could have punched my shoulder,” Mike said, punching the sympathy button.

Teagan’s eyes sparkled. “You could have asked permission before kissing me.”

“You struck out twelve guys. I got excited.”

Rachel smirked. “Doesn’t Mike striking out with you make it thirteen?”

Teagan’s sparkles became lasers. “Play nice.”

“Why? School starts Monday, unless our fresh freshman takes shop and builds a time machine to get his parents to drink that bottle of wine two years earlier he’s invisible to us juniors.”

Teagan sighed. “Mike, things are different . . . ”

She continued talking, but her words faded behind the reason his ‭jaw and heart felt broken. Simple as 1-2-3. ‬One year, two months and three days. Their age difference—his Kryptonite. Mike panicked. “Age won’t matter after we— ”

“What? Get married?” Rachel cackled. “Careful holding hands during the séance, someone might bend a knee.”

Mike ignored Rachel, hoping she’d leave on her broom. His heart needed to hear Teagan laugh. “Why we messing with voodoo dolls anyway?”

“I promised my sister and they’re not voodoo dolls.”

“Good, because I forgot to bring a chicken.”


  1. I liked the ballsy title, but the lede lost me and then I stayed lost.

    I can see you're a real out of the box thinker and kid lit needs more of those! But I'm concerned you may be sacrificing clarity for quirkiness... I suggest trying a revise where you really force yourself to be extra clear to the reader. You might think it initially reads as less exciting, but sometimes letting your humor breathe can read as funnier than when you jam pack it in.

  2. I'm with Robyn.

    A crash cart double parked inside Mike’s chest while waiting to see Teagan in a dress, hair combed and not under a baseball cap.

    I don't know what "A crash cart double parked inside Mike's chest" means. Do you mean his heart pounded so fast he thought he'd have a heart attack or something like that? Maybe clarify a bit.

    Is this YA, but Mike is MG? Confusing.

    Ikind of like the paragraph that follows. Maybe start here? “Why? School starts Monday, unless our fresh freshman takes shop and builds a time machine to get his parents to drink that bottle of wine two years earlier he’s invisible to us juniors.”

    Simple as 1,2,3 is a bit cliched, so maybe go for something more unique here?

    I don't really get a picture of who these two are. I'd like to be able to picture them a bit.

    Not sure about the chicken remark.

    Keep working on this because it could be a hoot if you clarified some of this.

  3. Sorry to be another person to agree. I had to reread the first paragraph three times before I figured it out. I think the way to fix this is to describe what's going on a little more. The key points: Mike is excited (yes, I know what a crash cart is) to see Teagan in a dress, and he is disappointed to find that she's not getting dressed up the way he'd hoped.

    Try to keep it simple when you're first setting up a scene, and that should help.

    Also, the title is very eye catching, so that's good.

  4. Totally lost me on this. Follow the generous comments provided above.

  5. Love the title, but I agree with previous. I kind of think I know where you're going, but it's very confusing. Not sure whose POV it's supposed to be. I thought it was Mike's but the "knowing somehow it made Sleeping Beauty happy" seems to be Rachel's. No comma after made, btw. That's part of why I had to re-read.
    There's some humor here, but it's hidden. I'd like to see you bring it out more. With a title like that, it's got to be funny!
    Good luck.

  6. The title is very quirky and drew me right in, but along with the others, the first paragraph lost me. I got the crash cart reference but after that, the connections failed for me. "She decked out to visit her twin sister..." is this the reason he's waiting and the setting? If so, I'd give a little more to this thought and establish the setting before saying she always gets dressed up to go there. The extraneous comma before Sleeping Beauty is not needed and breaks the flow of the sentence, adding to the confusion. The parenthetical remark about his nickname could be worked into dialogue rather than floating awkwardly.

    The punching shoulder remark is out of context and out of the blue...nothing connects the reader to his words nor gives us a clue on how to respond. Did Teagan punch him? If so, find some way to make the reader make this connection. (i.e. he rubs his sore cheek) Same thing goes with the voodoo dolls comment - give some sort of narrative to even indicate the dolls' existence.

    Once you get passed the opening, I like the dialogue back and forth. I even like the chicken comment. I think you could have something quirky and humorous with some tightening and revision. Good luck!

  7. I've seen a few versions of this and I thought this one was a bit confusing, particularly the sentence about the parents and the two bottles of wine. Perhaps revise to clarify.

    I did like the ending dialogue about the voodoo dolls and the chicken.

  8. I agree with all the other commenters, but I also want to add, "knowing somehow it made" is not a separate clause. If you want to know if you should put commas around a group of words, check to see if the sentence makes sense without it.

  9. Wow. This is . . . confusing, unclear, and in need of revision. Sorry to be blunt, but this isn't ready for querying/submission.

    Here's what I suggest: Scrap this opening and start over from scratch. Trying to revise this likely only lead to a bigger mess. So take what you want to happen in this opening and write it again without referencing any previous drafts. Tell it straight and clear. You know these characters so much better now than you did when you were jotting the first draft down on paper for the first time. Take that knowledge and use it to your advantage.