Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January Secret Agent #24

TITLE: Here Comes the Sun
GENRE: YA Contemporary

I’m amazed that she’s acknowledging me.

Me. I’m Natalie to my friends. Gnat to my classmates. Social pariah extraordinaire. Even though the airline gods made our worlds collide by seating us together across the Atlantic, I still expect her to ignore me for the entire eight hours of our trip. All of my classmates are just dandy at doing that. So excuse my open mouth of shock when she nudges me twenty minutes in and drops a tiny blue pill into the cup of my palm.

“It’s not Viagra, is it?” I narrow my eyes at Meredith, while sneaking skeptical glances at the pill. We’ve spoken twice. Meredith and I, not the pill. The first time was to borrow a pencil during trigonometry. The second was about two seconds ago when she pushed some sort of drug into my palm, simultaneously swallowing her own. I casually peek at her crotch, somewhat expecting it to begin growing. Her eyes follow mine and I swear I see fear in her tiny pupils. She looks back at me in mock horror.

“No,” she enunciates. “It’s a sleeping pill.” I swear I hear her hiss dumba** under her breath.

Whew. “Why?”

“Why is it not Viagra?” I wipe her spit off my forehead. “Do I really need to give you an anatomy lesson too?”

I don’t need a lesson in Viagra. My mom once dated a guy who kept a constant supply of the little blue pill in our medicine cabinet.


  1. I love the voice in this, plus you have me curious as to where they're going and why and what's going to happen with Natalie. My only quibble is in the last piece of dialogue. It almost sounds like Natalie is speaking since you attribute the action to her.

  2. The voice is fun, very current high-school. I'm curious why Meredith is being kind to Natalie since they've ever only spoken twice. I assume that'll come fairly quickly though. I'm not sure about Meredith spitting on Natalie, even if it is an accident. (Okay, so I said the preceding sentence just to test it out and it just doesn't seem like one that would cause inadvertent spitting.)

  3. Great open. Very intriguing. Not sure it works when you say, "So excuse my open mouth," or otherwise draw us in directly. I think it's distracting.

    Also wasn't wild about "Meredith and I, not the pill." I don't think you need it. This is interesting enough, the setting, Meredith. I want to know what's going on.

  4. Very funny beginning - short and snappy and the voice of the MC sounds authentic. In the 2nd paragraph you might want to put where they're going (to England?) I also agree that I'm not sure that "Meredith and I, not the pill" works here because it stops the flow. Otherwise, I would definitely want to read to see where this is going. Great job and good luck!

  5. I like this :) My favorite line is "Meredith and I, not the pill." Maybe it's just because I have that sense of humor, but I laughed.

    My only cartoon bubble question mark was about the Viagra reference. I think I get that it's the humor and maybe sense of humor of the character, but it seemed odd that Viagra would be the first thing she would say.

    But, 250 words is not a lot to go on, and I prefer a slow build in development, so it's quite possible with more I wouldn't wonder this at all.

    I like it!

  6. Just Another YA AuthorJanuary 16, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    Lots of intrigue here to keep me reading (like, how did she get the nickname Gnat?), and I think she has a nice dry wit.

  7. "Gnat" maybe works on the page but vocally it is the same as "Nat" which would be a perfectly fine name for her so I am not sure that works. Also, I was a bit stunned when the first think she thinks is that a pill given to her (a female) by another female is ...huh....Viagra?? I mean that just made me thing..WTF. Even if it had been two teen age boys I would have been shocked to see this was the first thing they thought of... So the set-up does not work for me....also, people can change seats and so it makes no sense that the popular girl with friends is next to the one girlwith none. Oh yeah, for some reason you went on and on about the Viagra which I guess went over my head. IS that what girls think when someone slips them a pill? They don't think Ex, or Oxy or Valium or something with a downer or a buzz. They think Viagra?? well I guess I am out of the loop.

  8. I too, liked the "Meredith and I, not the pill" line, as it really demonstrates her nerdiness, eagerness to please with a lame joke.

    As most Natalies I know are "Nat", I'm intrigued as to why your MC hears it as "Gnat".

    I think that "social pariah extraordinaire" is telling, particularly as you go on to explain that her classmates are dandy at ignoring her.

    I wonder if the viagara conversation goes on for a bit long. At first I thought that Nat made a stupid joke that Meredith did not get, but then glancing at her crotch, and asking "why" seems to take it too far. If you are showing the reader that Natalie does not know when to end a joke, I think you're running the risk of alienating the reader with a really annoying character. (Although it explains why she has no friends).

    And if she honestly believed that a female would be slipping her a viagara then... I'm missing something.

  9. I'm not having issues with the viagra part because that's explained at the end of the page. The blue pill looks very much like the ones her mom's ex-boyfriend had. I'm not sure how the author could have explained it any clearer.

    Dolphin brings up a good point about the seating arrangements. In a trans-atlantic flight, there are three sections of seats with three or four seats in each section. Even though it doesn't say that Natalie and Meredith are in the only two seats in a section, the absense of other students seem to imply that.

    I don't have a problem with Gnat vs Nat because I assume, as we read further, the meaning behind Gnat will be obvious. I.e., kids swatting their hands in front of their faces or jokes about bugging off.

  10. An interesting place to start - in a plane etc on the way to an adeventure. I might like to see more kids present and get a sense of the entire group. Gnat and Nat are, as was pointed out, the same sounding so I don't get it. I am slo not sure that many people would get the reference to a bug. It seems forced and I am not sure kids who barely understand the word "bug" would be able to get it. I was completely confused by the long obsession with Viagra - I did not understand why this was what she thought a pill was for nor why she would look at a girl's crotch. Yes, I get it that there were these pills in the medicine cabinet but I mean...c'mon, really? The fact that she kept going on ..and on....and on....and on....about Viagra made me certain I would never get past the first page. Lose the Viagra.

  11. I thought you could cut the first parg. Your MC is talking to me, and I'm not a part of the story. Just set it up with her sitting next to Meredith who offers her the pill.

    I did see why her first thought was Viagra, since that's a pill she's familiar with, but I did think it went on too long, and looking at Meredith's crotch made her seem way too naive, and that maybe her classmates had a good reason to avoid her. I would much rather have learned where they were going and why.

  12. The voice in this is very strong and it really drew me in. I agree with the above comments about the Viagra conversation. I can see why it might be her first thought, but the crotch part didn't seem very realistic. Overall, I'm intrigued. I'd love to know where they're going and would definitely read on.

  13. The first paragraph is all backstory; show me that the MC is a social pariah, don’t tell me. I feel like you’re trying to hard for a snarky, humorous voice. The Viagra reference falls flat, and just makes Natalie appear stupid and way too naïve, particularly when she looks at the other girl’s crotch. Opening on a plane is a familiar trope; I wonder if there’s another place to start. Unfortunately, I’m not hooked.