Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March Secret Agent #14

TITLE: Serenity
GENRE: YA Contemporary Romance

The squeaking of the nurses shoes was driving Serenity insane. She knew they were hovering outside the room, waiting for them to say their goodbyes so the orderlies could wrap the body in a sheet and take her grandma to the morgue. But she was going to take every God damn minute she wanted and they could wait. Serenity glanced over at where Quill had stationed himself against the wall, his heel tapping out a never ending beat to some song in his head, his eyes refusing to look at the lifeless body of the only person who had ever cared about them. She was surprised he’d lasted as long as he had. Quill didn’t do emotions.

Serenity rubbed her thumb across the back of her Grandma’s cool hand before dropping her forehead to the edge of the mattress. She wanted to cry but the emotions building up in her were so much bigger than what crying could ever release. Her grandma had saved her. Had saved Quill. Had pulled her out of the darkness her s***** mom had put them in. Sitting beside the lifeless body of her grandma, she felt the blackness closing in again. They were screwed and there was nothing she could do about it.

Quill pushed off the wall, rubbing his hands up and down the front of his jeans. “I got to get out of here.” Wetness pooled around the edges of his eyes. He was going to go straight to his buddy’s house to drink this day away.


  1. I think it might help to break up the first paragraph into two or even three shorter ones. I suggest this since it's YA and can help with readability, and also because this is a heavy opening with a lot of emotion, and that coupled with the chunk of text makes this feel heavy when reading, if that makes sense.

    I wondered who Quill is to Serenity. Can you state or show their relationship? It gets a bit vague about the #$%! mom put them through and "the darkness." Can you be more specific without delving into too much backstory? LIke one line about something crappy mom did that put them there. And what type of darkness; depression? Why are they screwed? Maybe give specific details of what she is worried about. They would be homeless now. They would have to live with creepy Uncle Christopher, or whatever it is.

    Good luck!

  2. I like your writing voice and I think this has real potential, but it's a lot of info dumped into a very small space and would be better if you fleshed it out a bit.

    I think Serenity and Quill had a lot of character and I would read on to find out more about them.

  3. The mood of this story is clear. I could just envision a dark room where a type of mourning is taking place between Serenity and Quill.
    I still feel like something is missing though. Perhaps some type of attempted dialogue between Serenity and Quill, even if she doesn't succeed in getting Quill to talk much. From what we read here, it looks like this story could take an interesting turn so I believe I'd read more.

  4. I'm interested in the darkness and how the grandmother saved Serenity. Why not say "Grandma had fought for her, even defying Mom" or whatever the situation was. You don't have to give it all away. I think you could show a lot in dialogue with Quill. Good luck and I look forward to reading more.

  5. I can relate to this story. The writing is very good, but I would like to know how old Serenity is and I believe both the first and second paragraphs are too long and would work better as four paragraphs.

  6. Not sure why squeaky shoes are bothering the MC. How old is she and would she swear? It is a strong opening, though.

    Maybe show a bit more.

  7. I liked the content here. You've introduced your MC, presented her with a problem, and given the reader lots of reasons to read on.

    The issues, I think, are in the mechanics. This could be tightened up a lot. You could say the same things in a much shorter and clearer way.

    Two examples - your second sentence says the shoes were waiting outside the room, hovering. Rephrase, so it's the nurses.

    Serenity glanced over at where Quill had stationed himself against the wall, - could be -- QUill stood against the wall...

    Look for ways to rewrite in a clearer, more succinct way.

  8. I like this. :) I think it's got loads of potential. I think the second paragraph seems like you are telling us a lot of information and trying to do so efficiently...but it kind of feels to me like a summary. Personally, I'm intrigued by the idea that grandma saved her and Quinn from whatever mess her mom made, but I'd love to see that truth emerge through the story rather than being told up front. Maybe that's just a personal taste thing, though. And I would definitely read on to see how this unfolds!

  9. You are starting off letting us see your character's strong emotions, which is good, but because of the mechanical issues in the first paragraph, I wasn't drawn into the story.

    The way you have written it, the shoes were hovering outside the room waiting for "them" to say their goodbyes.

    It's not clear who is really hovering and it's not clear who is saying goodbye.

    So right off the bat, I'm struggling to figure out what is going on.

    Also, Quill is refusing to look at the body--his eyes aren't really refusing. The way it reads now, his eyes are refusing to look at the body of the only person who cared about his eyes.

    So I want to get lost in the story and feel what the characters are feeling, but I'm having a hard time doing that because I have to stop and try to figure out which nouns belong to which pronouns.

    The good news is that writing mechanics can be learned. If you spend time in critique groups you will pick up these things pretty quickly.

    It's interesting that she is name Serenity when she isn't serene--she's filled with rage. Good name choice, I think.