Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October Secret Agent #36

TITLE: Reality Sucks
GENRE: Contemporary YA

Moans escape from Mom’s bedroom. God, it’s the middle of the afternoon, usually the guy’s gone by now. I cap my Passion Pink nail polish and reach down to pick up a flip-flop lying beside my bed. With experienced accuracy, I fling it across the hallway at her bedroom door. As an extra precaution, I hobble over and slam my door. I add the polish to my overnight bag in case I need to make any touch-ups later at Dad’s.

My phone buzzes next to me. “Hey, Dad,” I answer. “You on your way?”

“Sorry, Sweets, can’t do tonight. The guys are dragging me to a club in the city.”

Dad’s already flaked on me three times this month. Not again. “That’s okay. I don’t mind hanging out alone at your place.”

“Yeah, not this time. We got a hotel, and your mom would have a s***-fit if I left you alone all night.”

“Please, Dad. Mom doesn’t have to know.” I try not to sound too whiny—his biggest pet peeve. “I need your computer to message Julius. He hasn’t answered my texts all week.”

I’m in need of a major life makeover. Last year I was desperate for a boyfriend. In the process, I made out with a lot of guys and kinda earned a slutty rep. I want to lose it before my junior year starts in the fall. I need my best friend’s advice.

“Good. I don’t like you hanging out with that freak, Amber.”


  1. Ugh, I totally hate her mom right now! Then again, doesn't sound like her dad is that much better. Poor girl! Great writing. Great set up. I'd keep reading.

    I'm trying to find something constructively critical to say about this, and the only thing I can come up with is that the last line confused me a bit. (Which I don't actually think would have been a problem, had I been able to keep reading!) But it almost sounded like her dad was saying "I don't like you hanging out with that freak, Amber"... as in... the freak was Amber. After rereading it a few times, I realized HER name was amber, and the freak was Julius. So if you're looking for something to tweak, that's my suggestion! Other than that, I don't have anything else.

    Good luck!

  2. The voice in this is really good. I feel bad for her. Sounds like she's stuck with party animals for parents. But it seems like her dad cares about her. I would keep reading. She seems kind of lonely and like she has a mess to fix.

  3. I love the line, "I'm in need of a major life makeover." It would take some slight reworking, but I would move that to the very beginning - then follow with the paragraph about the MC's mom, etc., etc. To me everything that follows contributes to this central idea.

  4. Strong voice here. Strong character. Strong story.
    the only suggestion I have for you is with the first sentence. It could be a lot stronger. Instead of saying "Moans escape from Mom’s bedroom," you could tell us that she is HEARING the moans coming from her mother's bedroom. An how about showing her cupping the palms of her hands over her ears, before she says, "God, it's the middle..."

    Good luck!

  5. This girl's relationship with her parents seems very odd. I'd have to read more to know if buy it.

    Other than that, be careful about telling, especially this early on. The paragraph "I'm in..." is one big telling monologue and would be better if it was worked into her thoughts.

    This is a tiny thing but try to vary your sentences in the opening paragraph. You have 2 split with commas in a row and it would flow better if these were varied.

    Good luck!

  6. Your first paragraph is perfection! Loved your opening lines, really pulled me in. You do convey a lot of info very quickly in the "major life makeover" paragraph. Maybe stretch that out as the chapter unfolds. Otherwise, this is believable and compelling.

    I would read more. Best wishes!

  7. The opening line is great, because you don’t expect to hear moans from Mom’s bedroom. We feel for the MC right away, how she feels about her parents, and it creates sympathy for her from the start. But there is a lot of confusion here. Is she upset about her dad? Annoyed by her mom? Why is her dad going to a club? Who is Julius? Who is Amber?

  8. A great opening. You can't help but want to read on after that those two first sentences.

    It could use some tightening. You could cut 'from' from the first sentence, and shorten the rest of the parg to -

    I cap my Passion Pink nail polish and fling a flip-flop across the hallway at her bedroom door. As an extra precaution, I hobble over and slam my door. I add the polish to my overnight bag.

    Parg 2 - cut 'next to me.'

    Parg 4 - put the "Not again." first and change 'Dad' to 'he.' Then, she says she doesn't mind, but obviously she does, so maybe show her disappointment. (It's clear she's disappointed, but I don't feel it. Let her feel it and the reader will, too.)

    Seond last parg - you could cut the whole thing. There's significant information there, but you've stopped the story to inform the reader. Get the info in another way.

  9. What a great opening. My heart kind of broke there in that first part. I already feel for the MC, and I already want her out of there. So when her dad flakes, I'm even more mad.

    When we get to the later part of the entry (I'm in need of a major life makeover), where she talks about her social life though, it's such a switch that I get a little lost. Suddenly, I'm not as empathetic. Maybe rewrite that? Ease us out of her disappointment with her parents slowly, maybe?

    I wish you so much luck! This is great!

  10. Good job with voice and setting the tone. Genre is clear. You've immediately established sympathy for the character based on crappy parents putting their needs first. One thing that worked against that was the slutty reputation being thrown in so early even though it's good she wants to change that. Might want to rework that just a bit to maintain the sympathy you've evoked and ramp up how she feels about her parents with visceral responses or a little internal though on feelings not just what's happening. Good job!