Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July Secret Agent #25

TITLE: FutureShock
GENRE: YA Time Travel

"They can take our freedom, but they can never take our French fries!"

If there had been a desk in front of me, I would have smacked my head against it. Repeatedly.

The auditorium erupted into cheers, a decidedly uncommon occurrence for Dresden High's student council candidacy announcements. Usually, students simply said what position they were running for and why people should vote for them, to weak applause or the occasional overzealous "Yeah!" from the stoner kids in the back.

Apparently, all it took was a twinkly-eyed quarterback running on a French fries platform to get people enthusiastically engaged in student government.

I had to use all my strength to unclench my jaw. My fists, however, I kept balled at my sides, so that I wouldn't try and wring anyone's neck. I wasn't usually this tense, but there was something about pretty-boy jocks reducing student government to a popularity contest that seriously irked me.

Said jock extraordinaire, Jake Carlson, gesticulated wildly at the crowd to keep cheering, and ended his brilliantly puerile campaign speech with, "So if you vote for me, everything will be awesome, and you can have all the French fries you want!"

Head. Desk.

Before I could engage in any more imaginary stress relief, the student council adviser, Ms. Jefferson, nodded at me to go up to the podium despite the fact that the crowd was still whooping, catcalling and clapping. Jake, for his part, was encouraging them by way of a dramatic reenactment of last week's game-winning catch.


  1. I love the voice. Your first line is hilarious. But do students really have to fight to get fries? Anyway, that's not important. Great first line.

    Is this character super smart? Because the words, "peurile," and "gesticulating" seemed out of place for YA, unless the character is supposed to be head and shoulders above their peers, and if so, then I would definitely read on because I love teen characters who get the silliness of high school.


  2. LOL! Well done. Puerile threw me for a moment because I didn't realize the speaker was that erudite. And maybe you could be more detailed about the gesticulations--waved his hands like he was conducting an orchetra or something. But overall I enjoyed this.

  3. I liked this one. The first line made me laugh. The second line set a clear voice for the narrator.

    There is something a little off in the second sentence of the third paragraph. I think the second comma should not be there. It makes the sentence read awkwardly.("them to weak")

    Additionally, a lot of the sentences are very long, with lots of clauses. Consider restructuring a few into simple sentences.

    I also wanted to add 'them' to the sentence about the jock cheering on the crowd. '...wildly at the crowd to keep them cheering'. Here would also be a good place to end the sentence.

  4. Overall this made me laugh. And I can totally picture what's going on. There are a few comma issues, but other than that I enjoyed the voice. Nice job and good luck :)

  5. This is great, and I love the voice and humor. I agree that you could split a few long sentences, because they feel a little crammed. Good work and good luck!

  6. Okay, the first line made me laugh, but I'm not sure I bought Jake's second line later on. It came across as kind of stereotypical, which is probably what you were going for, but it kind of made me grimace (also, the "said" at the beginning of the sentence threw me, since it took so long before his dialogue could connect with that tag).

    But overall, I love the humor in the voice here. I could really connect with the MC.

  7. I'd read more. I'd love to see how she follows Jack's act, and how the crowd responds.

    I don't have any suggestions. I thought it was fine the way it is.

    Nicely done!

  8. Ha! What a fabulous piece! I already love this MC--the intellectual, snarky personality totally drew me in. I didn't have any problems with the sentence length or wording. To me it totally fit this narrator--I knew this person in high school. I would love to read more from this fantastic MC. I loved it!

  9. If you add a speech tag (or action sentence about the speaker) to the first line to ground me in the setting this'd be perfect for me. And the first line sets the time aspect of a time travel very nicely and subtly. Very well done.

  10. I love the first line and your voice! I immediately connected to your narrator's status as an outsider to the popular crowd. My only constructive criticism is that I wish there was some hint of time travel mentioned in your genre, but I assume that comes later. Great job dropping the reader into a scene.

  11. What a fun opening. If the voiceand pace continues thorughout the manuscript, you hav a real winner there. Good job.

  12. PS I think the title has already been taken...

  13. Love the first line and the voice. I think you pull us right into the story. My issue is Jake sounds very stereotypical with his vote for me and everything will be awesome bit. I think it's okay to have smart kid vs jock, but you don't want it to feel forced or fake. Can you make the bad guy Jake have a likable quality as well?

  14. Strong voice – I’m already on board with your main character here! I would recommend breaking up some of your longer sentences (like the one that opens your third to last paragraph) to keep the text flowing smoothly. Love your MC’s tone, and would definitely read on here.