Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April Secret Agent #26

GENRE: Young Adult Modern Fantasy

It’s the dead of night on Friday. Sneaking-out time.

Yeah, my conscience nagged me, but I ignored it and raised my bedroom window.

Behind me, my friend hissed, “If your parents hear us, we’re toast, son.”

“Hey, Logan, you gotta be optimistic. Being grounded isn’t so bad if you don’t get caught sneaking out. And I’ve never, ever gotten caught. Besides, people are counting on me.”

At CHHS, my high school, I’d become Cash Flaherty: taxi service to underage binge drinkers. I tried explaining this to my dad, but he couldn’t care less. The grounding stood.

Course, I’m going out anyhow. Something in my character is faulty. When I think of the dumb things I’ve done…Sheesh, I have to stay positive.

I glanced at the Irish blessing that’d hung over my bed like a shield since I was a kid.

Wherever you go and whatever you do,
May the luck of the Irish be there with you.

I smiled at the words. Staying positive is really key when doing something morally ambiguous.

Then I swung my long legs out the window onto the ledge outside.

A light rain made the brick slippery. I whisper-yelled to my buddy, “It’s wet, but we'll make it down.” Good thing our Texas two-story is massive. Using the crevices, I inched lower and got to the column. Climbing down the side of a house in the rain was hell on my new shirt, but when duty called, I answered.


  1. Like the beginning, but then later, why would another call a friend "son?" Took me right out of the story. Also. don't think you can hiss words unless they start with an "s".

    Not sure you need a block of backstory starting with At CHHS.

    What is the significance of the Irish motto? Seems to be just sitting there. Maybe connect it or use it later?

    Can't whisper and yell at the same time. Choose one or the other.

  2. I agree with the above commenter about the hiss on a technical sense, but disagree with everything else. I don't have a problem with the "son" as I've heard that used as a replacement for "dude" but watch the dialogue in general, making sure that it rings true to how two friends would talk to each other. The speech that starts with "Hey, Logan . . ." could be cut way back. There's a lot of great character stuff here. I like the taxi service idea, and the staying positive and lucky stuff. Keep working on this--tighten up the writing, but I can tell you have a lot of great ideas of where the characters are going. Good luck!

  3. There's a nice voice here. I'd read a bit further to see where this was going. Careful with language like "sneaking-out time" an "CHHS, my high school." That raises some authenticity concerns voice-wise but the tone is good.

  4. I like how the MC is forced to choose between what is "right" (staying in) and what is "Right" (fulfilling what he feels is a duty). I'm intrigued about what his social role is at the HS, and whether he's in it for the money, or to help other kids. I'd read on!

  5. The dialogue didn't read true for me. I would expect him to turn around and indicate for his friend to be quiet when they're sneaking out. I don't think he would turn around and give such a detailed explanation. It came across as an info dump - something you have added in for the readers benefit because this is information his friend would already know.

  6. I like the fact that you're starting on an interesting event and that it's obviously going to continue for the next several pages. My criticism is similar to those above. The dialogue doesn't quite feel natural to me. It feels like you're trying to force information into it -- Logan's name, the fact that the MC never gets caught, ect.

    I also found it odd that Logan calls the MC "son," but I'm assuming there's a reason for that beyond the 255 words.

  7. While sneaking out of the house is a very exciting teenage activity to start a story, I couldn't get past the fact that your two characters don't sound like teenage boys. I've never heard kids call each other "son" and I don't believe for a second that he'd tell his dad he was the designated driver for a bunch of underage drinkers. He'd make up a different reason that he had to always drive.

  8. While I like the taxi-driver aspect of this, I was having a hard time with the voice. The "son" remark threw me first and I the rest of the dialogue didn't sit well.