Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May Secret Agent #50

TITLE: Forgive Me Not
GENRE: YA Suspense

I’m crying. Actually, the me on the screen is crying. I’m pretty sure I’m all out of tears at this point. I’m out of my throat being sore, my mouth being dry, my eyes red lined, and my nose raw with flakes of skin chapping off from wiping it with paper towels since where I am doesn’t have something as basic as tissues. I’m dried out, but Krisola on screen isn’t. She’s a basketcase, sorry, begging, covered in snot and salty tears and augh. I don’t turn away. I watch myself on the screen and don’t move, because they’re watching. I have to be remorseful and I am. I sincerely and truly am but I don’t know how many more times I can say it.

“I wish it were me!” Krisola screams in the video. That hits me but I force myself to keep still. My chin up, not wavering at all. My back ramrod straight. I have to at least appear strong even if I feel like there’s no point. I do wish it were me instead of her. I wish I’d listened. I wish I’d stopped myself. I wish I never met Pascal. I wish…a lot.

Krisola rubs her sleeve across her eyes swelling them up more. She stares at the screen, those big hazel eyes boring into me and I hope those watching. She’s being sincere. She’s not tired, yet. Krisola on screen is clutching her hands together into a ball. I remember that.


  1. I'm very intrigued by the hook, but I'm not sure exactly what's happening. I imagine she's in court needing to remain composed while this video is played as part of a trial for whatever she and Krisola did to "her." And the me on the screen is out of tears but Krisola is still sobbing. It took me several reads to get that because of all the pronouns--me, me on the screen, Krisola and the her that she and Krisola are wishing they were. Love the hook. Just want to understand what's being said a bit more clearly.

  2. I have to agree with Heidi above -- you definitely have an interesting concept, but I got lost in all the pronouns. I kept having to re-read sentences to try and make sense of it. Maybe tweak it a bit to make it clearer, so that the intriguing concept can shine through :)

  3. I'm going to sound like an echo here, but, though I was intrigued and wanted to know more, I was also confused. Perhaps stick with 'screen-Krisola' when referring to the video -- or something like that -- to eliminate the need for a pronoun and help the reader stay on track.

  4. Obviously what needs to happen has been made clear by the three comments above. Great hook! I got confused trying to figure out if the POV IS Kirsola or if there's a Krisola, a "me on screen", and then a normal "me" who is telling the story.
    It might just be because you're trying to get the goods in the first 250. Perhaps the sentence following clears all of this up.

    Great hook though, just what was said above about clarity!

  5. I was intrigued by the opening, but by the end of the first paragraph I found myself feeling very frustrated. Where is she? Why is she cried out? Why is she watching herself? Who else is watching? Why do I care? You want to create questions to pull your reader to the next page, but if there are too many questions it can be a turn off. If I had the benefit of a book blurb, I may continue reading, but as it is, I would not. I need more to connect with.

  6. I really liked this, but agree with the above commenters that the pay off of the reveal (zowee, she's on a ruthless futuristic reality show! or whatever it is.) isn't worth the confusion. It would be a quick fix, though, to weave in enough information to give us the context we need! Even if you tell us she's watching a TV screen, for instance...even if you give us that the desert landscape of the reality show set didn't have tissues (I realize I'm prob way off base, here, but just using as an example), the reveal of where (and when?) we are will still have the impact I think you're going for, here... I'm working on a YA suspense, if you'd be interested in another CP. Email me at :)

  7. I really like the first paragraph with the rhetorical devices used by repeating words etc. After that, it felt more of the same and I don't have any context for what's happening. My suggestion would be to ground the reader in paragraph two with a line that clearly states what this dual life is, the "screen" character, etc. I assumed this is an actress watching herself in a movie? Who is "Krisola on the screen"? Once the reader is grounded in reality, that will help us to connect with her plight.

  8. Definitely intrigued. I can tell there's something here, but maybe there's too much effort put into making the opening clever and some important details are lost. Screen is a little too vague - what kind of screen, tv, movie, some kind of monitor?
    Why is she surprise by Krisola screaming? Didn't she do that at some point? I also got a little confused at Krisola watching a screen too - should that be camera?
    I want to know more, which is a good thing, but I'd need those details soon.
    Good luck.

  9. Seems like an intriguing concept, but I was way too confused to enjoy it. I don't even know for sure if Krisola is the main character or someone else. How many characters are in this scene? Anything you can do to differentiate these characters and orient your reader into the scene would go a long way. Perhaps call the screen version of the main character "screen me?" Also, tell us who Krisola is and where this story is taking place. Why is she being forced to watch this? Who is forcing her?

  10. The story is intriguing but getting lost in all the descriptions. I echo above, so here is an example
    -- I’m pretty sure I’m all out of tears at this point. --

    Could simply be: I'm all out of tears.

    --my mouth being dry--
    dry mouth

    This might help with the confusion and getting mixed up as a reader, to who you are talking about. The jumping back and forth between MC and screen/Krisola loses me.

  11. I'd like to know early in this, maybe the first sentence: who, what, when, where, and why. That would help me with the context.

  12. My take on this was that the MC and the person on the screen were the same person, that perhaps she killed someone in a car accident or something and she was maybe watching her confession being played back in court.

    Whatever it is, it did feel like it went on too long. It's an effective opening, I think. Maybe just cut it off after parg 2, and start filling the reader in on what's actually happening.

  13. I liked your hook but I got confused between Krisola and Screen me. Perhaps if you could clarify that a little better.
    I do want to know more. Perhaps you could give us a little more information on the setting, it would give us a clearer idea of what is happening.

  14. I like your hook. I think I understand what is happening in the first paragraph, but after that I am lost. I thought Krisola was watching a recording of herself, but then I'm not clear if Krisola and the MC are the same person. The vagueness of the first paragraph creates a lot of unanswered questions: where is she? why is she crying? why has she been recorded? who is she? This is great, but I need at least one answer so that I have something to cling to. Otherwise my mind becomes mired in too many questions and I lose interest. I think you have a great, intriguing start.

  15. I love an intriguing opening like this, a first paragraph that forces the reader to ask "what's going on here?" But I worry there's a little bit too much ambiguity. I understand our protagonist is watching herself on screen, but there's so much mystery, so many different elements (the sorrow on screen vs. the sorrow in real life, Pascal, etc.), I'm left a little overwhelmed.

    Perhaps for the first few paragraphs, let us focus on Krisola (on screen). After "Actually, the me on the screen is crying," let us see only what our narrator sees, developing the image of Krisola, letting us get comfortable with that, before zooming out, so to speak, to see what our narrator is *actually* thinking and feeling.

  16. Super helpful, everyone! Thanks so much for your feedback. I was wondering about whether it was clear initially from the perspective of a first page only read so this is really good to know.

    Thanks again and glad to have read a bunch of other great entries.

  17. Loving the concept here, but as many have said above me, I wish I had a bit more of a clue what was happening. Clearly, it's just the first 250 words, but I'd like a little bit more. Especially this could be done at the "where I am doesn't have..." Also, I think the language could be tightened a bit in the first paragraph.

  18. There's a lot of emotion here, but what's happening? I get that Krisola's watching herself on a screen, but who are the "they" who are watching? Why does she have to be remorseful? A trial would totally explain it. All you'd need to say is "I watch myself on the screen and don’t move, because the jurors are watching.

    2nd line kinda long.

    What is augh?

    The last paragraph stopped me cold. Did you mean to say "She stares FROM the screen? Maybe say "Screen Krisola is clutching her hands together into a ball." (instead of "Krisola on screen.") And "I remember DOING that."

    Commas: "and, I hope, those watching."