Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July Secret Agent #21

TITLE: Renascence
GENRE: YA Contemporary

I’m shackled now. Wrists and ankles connected, a chain running between my arms and legs, hooked around my middle. I have to shuffle my feet to walk. The Investigator holds a door for me. I pass into sunlight and squint.

He leads me to a cruiser and opens the back door. I see another officer in the passenger seat, but he doesn’t turn to look at me. My left foot catches when I lift it. Too high. I’m not used to these chains. There were cuffs before, silver and sharp on my skin. So much metal. I hadn’t thought about that, how metal always feels cold. Once in the car I glance back at the jail. An officer is standing by the door, smoking. There’s no window. The whole building is more than dim. It’s dark as a grave.

“Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely,” Millay wrote.

Three days I have been inside that cement grave, but I am neither wise nor lovely.

Three days, I think. Or maybe only two. I don’t have a bed yet. The holding cell is always lit, night and day. But I was arrested on Wednesday, and I’ve had eggs for two meals, so I think it must be Friday.

Mom would say it’s a sign, that I’m like Jesus, going into a tomb for three days and then emerging into the light.

But I have little in common with Jesus.


  1. i think this is an interesting opening, but i am not a fan of present tense. the only other thing i noticed were so many short sentences that it feels jarring at times. i like a mix of short and long, like waves that keep the story flowing. this felt more like punches of information. just my opinion.

  2. I'm intrigued by the opening paragraph. It's a good visual.

    I got hung up on "I hadn't thought about that, how metal always feels cold." There wasn't mention of the metal being cold before, so saying he hadn't thought of it felt a little out of the blue. I also don't particularly like "It's dark as a grave," but I understand the connection.

    The last line keeps me the most interested, because now I want to know what he did (if this is a guy. The voice sort of feels masculine).

    And bold move with present tense. I actually like it. Good luck!

  3. The present tense feels almost poetic.The sentences do feel a little short or choppy. Then again for youth reading maybe that's a good thing. Definitely a grabbing introduction.

  4. I'm intrigued by the poetic and religious references, and the situation--would definitely keep reading to find out more.

    The "metal always feels cold" line bothered me, because it can hold heat really well.

    The voice works for me, with the short sentences. Good luck!

  5. Love the voice, love the writing...this is great stuff. It's different and dark and interesting. I would definitely read more, and I wouldn't change a thing. Congrats and good luck!

  6. I'm immediately drawn into this because I want to know why the MC is shackled and where the Investigator plans to take him. Great sensory moments with the bright sunlight, cigarette smoke, the sharp, cold metal, etc. I also like how you added time sensory disorientation with the "eggs for two meals" line.

    Those last two lines have potential for a tension between the MC and his mom.

    I'd keep reading to find out what he did.

  7. Overall, I’m very curious about this, and would keep reading. I like the present tense, and the ending. I got a little thrown off in a few places – the Millay quote, the metal always being cold. I also had the feeling (especially in the first two paragraphs), that this might be set in the future, in spite of seeing that it’s contemporary. But I really liked the way this character guesses at the time elapsed based on the meals he’s had, and by the end I was really captured by the voice. I definitely want to send more time with this character!