Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January Secret Agent #18

TITLE: Blood and Bones
GENRE: YA Thriller

It was an obscenely hot summer morning when I was sentenced to die.

After endless months of paralyzing headaches, occasional memory loss, and countless doctors prescribing useless migraine prescriptions, I was certain I was at the conclusion of my life’s story. My father, who wasn’t ready to read my final chapter just yet, took me to see a renowned neurosurgeon at Saint Stephen’s Hospital. A few moments through the pulsating tunnel of a M.R.I. illuminated what he was in search of and allowed him to diagnose my troubles with two little words:

Brain tumor.

My father’s horror-stricken face mirrored my own internal struggle with the news. My selfish, younger sister snatched a box of cheap tissues from the doctor’s desk and dabbed away the crocodile tears that streaked her flawlessly made-up face. I tried to remember how to breathe when I looked into the patient face of the man who claimed he could rescue me.

And somewhere far away from where I sat, I pictured my mother smiling at the imaginary butterflies that often flitted around her wild red hair in the community room of the mental facility she had been living for nearly two years.

In spite of everyone’s dread about my test results, Dr. Taylor had other ideas about my future.


  1. This opening line is one of the most compelling I've come across. I want to read so much more than what's available here! This definitely sounds like a good, creepy read! Good luck, #18!

  2. I like the combination of a main character with a brain tumor and the thriller genre. Sounds intriguing.

    I think you could strengthen this by showing more details instead of telling them. Drop us right into the action of the scene. For example, you could walk us through getting the MRI or let us hear the dialog with the diagnosis. Instead of telling about the internal struggle, I'd like to see it. What are the MC's thoughts? I really like the image of the mother and the butterflies, but I'm not sure if it is needed right away during this discussion with the doctor. Maybe it could be brought up later. Good luck with this!

  3. Hey there! I agree with the previous statement - brain tumor and thriller is a very intriguing premise, and the first line is fab. Nice job!

    I think this would make for a stronger opening if you let us experience her finding out the results vs. telling about it after the fact. Otherwise it feels a bit like you're holding us at a distance -- I don't get a sense for your character's voice or emotion because it's too reflective vs. action oriented. If you showed us the events unfolding, we would get a clearer sense of who your MC is, how they feel and we would be more emotionally connected to the story out of the gate.

    But again, great first line and premise. Best of luck with this!

  4. This starts creepy and ends creepy, which is perfect for a thriller. I just wish I could read more of this! Wishing you luck!

  5. I loved this. A good friend of mine had a brain tumor. What he went through was unbelievable. Good luck. I'd read on for sure. :)

  6. Your title did it for me! Great opening and not at all what I expected as I read further on. I'm curious as to what the thriller aspects are going to be. Great voice too. Good luck!

  7. This opening feels a little like a summary of a scene that’s happened off the page, rather than letting us see the emotions as they unfold from each character. A brain tumor would be a heavy diagnosis to hear, so we’d sympathize more with the MC if we where there for the news. The MC is a bit harsh on their younger sister, calling her “selfish” and shedding “crocodile tears” when she just found out a loved one has a brain tumor—we haven’t seen the sister enough or the MC enough yet for this not to come off as a bit heartless, unless you show us more clearly how genuinely fake she is.

  8. I agree with Kathleen: I LOVE the title and that opening line really nailed it for me! I just know there's a lot more coming past what was entered here and it makes me want to read so much more. Best of luck, writer!

  9. Completely agree with many of your readers who love your opening line.

    My comment to this as a reader, however not as a writer in this case, because when I do write, I would have to absolutely being completely selfish giving all the possibilities to all my thoughts to letting it flow.

    On this, I do agree with the Secret Agent's comment about the sudden breaking out of the younger sister's description that just struck the possible smoother flow of the merciful mood (on my own behalf) of this first part of the story.

    As a writer, however different, you could have enough persuasion thereafter for placing these sudden mood change in a place where you would certainly have your very reasonable reasons. Myself do encourage writers to write in just a style that stands exactly as they are, and so, it is understandable to know writers having their writings just as how they would wish it to be presented.

    After all, striking a pose out of a sudden, or gaining attention out from a crowd could be a very stylish acts, and not just as the privileges for those stars. So, if that's how some writers would like their stories to be addressed as, who knows you could make it to become a trend?! As like there are writings with unanswered questions for their readers to get hooked on, so what do you think?

    As a beloving friend, I send all my best wishes for you always. May God bless you always. With many love and blessings:)

  10. I was blown away by the beginning of this! I understand why someone thought the MC was being too harsh on their younger sister, but since this is the beginning, I think only so much can be revealed in 250 or less words about another character. What was explained, I think, reveals a much bigger issue that I'm sure, and hope, is addressed throughout the novel. Otherwise, I really like what you have here, and think it sounds like a very promising and intriguing thriller. I would love to have read more than 250 words. Good luck!!!

  11. Oh wow! If there was an option to pick which entry we could read all of, this one would be my pick! It starts off on a thrill, and that last sentence, I think, leads to more terrifying things that the MC isn't aware of. I'm agreeing with the other commenters that this is a very strong beginning. I could see why maybe changing the diagnosis scene a bit could work better, but I'd want to read more first. Good work and best luck!

  12. There are so many great Secret Agent entries this time! This one is easily my favorite. I love the eerie suspense from the very beginning. I think you probably could include more of when the MC was in the MRI, but I'm more interested in knowing how he/she is reacting to this horrible news. And a brain tumor in a thriller is so different that it's killing me not to know what happens after that last line with the doctor. What are his plans? Man, I'd love to know! Great writing and voice! Good luck to you!

  13. Amazing opening line! You grabbed me right away. I would definitely enjoy seeing how this story plays out.

  14. I'm with everyone else: I love the opening line and am completely hooked. You have a great voice here and Its very believing that this is a very thrilling story. I don't know much about brain rumors, but the idea of having it as a stepping point of a thriller is a very different idea. And I love coming across something different.

    Good luck!

  15. I can't say anything that others haven't already. This is a great opening and I think you have a strong start to what sounds like a promising story. Fabulous. Good luck to you on this.