Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August Secret Agent #24

TITLE: Late Night Reflections on the Zombie Apocalypse
GENRE: Young Adult Contemporary Romance

While I waited for the counselor to finish flipping through pages in the off white folder labeled, Walker, Julia, I read a flyer from the cluttered bulletin board behind her desk. Grease was Washington High’s musical this year, and it would be held on… Mrs. Jorgenson cleared her throat.

“How are you?” She snapped my file shut and settled in. No taller than five foot, her monstrous leather chair looked like it was going to eat her. Her bun barely reached the top of the back.

“Fine.” I glanced down at my hand and scratched my palm.

“A lot has happened in your life.” She pressed her fingers together to form the sort of teepee shrinks are fond of and waited for me to talk.

I stayed quiet and focused on the high pitched whir of the ancient air conditioner held in place by a window frame painted white so many times the top layer was forced to try to run away.

“Sometimes discussing a problem helps,” she said.

Maybe, but my memories and feelings were private, and I wanted to keep them that way, thank you very much. Besides, talking hurt. I swallowed instead.

“Is anything bothering you?” Her eyes stretched wide open.

A lot bothered me. Getting up early and my two annoying brothers bothered me. She meant what really hurt. An image of my mother forced me to take a deep breath. The Grand Canyon didn’t begin to describe the size of the crater in my heart.


  1. I really enjoyed this and would absolutely keep reading. I loved the chair eating the shrink and the top layer of paint running away. Nice voice. -sn

  2. Nice use of descriptive language. I enjoyed reading this and definitely would read more.

  3. I get a real sense of character from this short piece. It was fun to read and I would have turned the page.

    I think 'high-pitched whir' should have a hyphen.

  4. This is really good! One things: Watch your grammar. I noticed a couple misspellings, too.

  5. I get a great visual from this scene, and a good sense of voice. I think a few words need hypens, like "high-pitched" and "off-white." This is the one sentence I stumbled on: "Her bun barely reached the top of the back." I think this can be remedied by saying "chairback" or "the chair's back."

    Plus, great title! :)

  6. (of course I misspelled hyphen.)

  7. There's some nice writing here and a good sense of the character's emotional state. Some cleaning up should let the potential shine.

    I have a very short attention span, though, and hope that something concrete about her problems gets talked about soon.

  8. I loved this opening. We get a good sense of character, but I'm with Heather, I need something to happen or something to be revealed very soon or I would put the book down despite the good writing.

    Good luck!

  9. I'm not mad on books that begin in the school counselor's office so if you can I'd try to find another setting for your opening scene. You've got a great balance between narrative and dialogue and choose your descriptions carefully. I particularily like the final sentence 'The Grand Canyon didn't begin to describe the size of the crater in my heart." That is a pitch perfect voice for YA romance. I would definitely keep reading.

  10. I think maybe starting somewhere else is a good suggestion, because the only valuable piece of info here is in that last parg where we learn that something about her Mom is bugging her.

    The rest of it, while written nicely, doesn't offer much. Do we care about the painted windowsill and the height of the woman or her bun?

    FInd a place in the story (or create one) where something is happening, where there is movement and conflict, where we can see your MC in action, and start there. The conflict doesn't have to be huge. Puling a skirt caught on a nail is conflict, movement, and action all in one. I'm sure you have some of that type of thing in your story.

  11. I liked the voice too and the deft, evocative use of language.