Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March Secret Agent #18

TITLE: Bluebell Baker Sucks at Life
GENRE: YA contemporary

Polyester is the devil’s fabric.

I’m standing outside the gym with my back against a bank of freshman lockers. These are the worst lockers in the entirety of Watford High School. About as far away as you can get from classes and the student parking lot, yet close enough to the locker rooms to get a lovelyeau de jockstrapwafting down the hall.

The whole school is rumbling by like cattle at the feedlot. Shuffling feet. Talking, shouting, the occasional moo. And here I am, with my hands stuck up my polyester cheerleading skirt, attempting to get some rogue spankies back in place.

It’s the first week back at Watford High. Obviously, weneeda pep rally, right? Because I know that’s what was top of my mind when I thought about starting my senior year. “Yay English” and “This year’ll be great” and “Don’t drink and drive,” etc.

That all means I, a Watford High varsity cheerleader, had to bolt out of fifth period to throw on my uniform, scrape my straight brown hair into a pony, and tie the world’s most depressed ribbon around said pony. In about five minutes flat. Somewhere in the process, my undies went to war with my bodysuit, and spankies placement was a casualty. One butt cheek is peeking out, and the giant polyester spankies have wriggled into my, you know, lady region, and I have a spectacular camel toe that will really stand out nicely when I have to do a heel stretch.


  1. I generally liked the attitude and the details. Had to look up spankies.

    Don't yet know what is at stake here, other than what a costume adjustment might solve and I feel I need an investment in this.

    I would drop "lady region" - "you know" was descriptive enough.

  2. I like your description of the crowded hallway. I think you need spaces between 'lovely' and 'eau' and 'jockstrap' and 'wafting.' Polyester is indeed the devil's fabric. I like your description of the ill-fitting cheerleader outfit. The uniform aside, your mc doesn't sound like she's happy being a cheerleader - which seems a little odd. It takes a lot of work and time - why go through it if you don't like it? She sounds like pretty burned-out senior. Have no idea where the story is going but you've set a good scene.

  3. I too, like your description of the crowded hallway, with the odiferous scent wafting in from the locker rooms. I believe you need a space between jockstrap and wafting. The following sentence I thought you could change:
    The whole school is rumbling by like cattle at the feedlot. (Maybe, The entire student body rumbles by like cattle at the feedlot?)

    I agree with Helen that your main character mocks her position as a cheerleader. Usually girls on the cheerleading team want to really be there. But maybe something else is going on with her life?

    I think you need to give a hint or teaser of what the story is about in your first couple of paragraphs.

    Good luck!

  4. This made me laugh, and at the same time cringe at the memories of spankies. And yes, after years of catholic school, polyester IS indeed the devil's fabric.

    I like Susan's idea above about the entire student body rumbling down the hallway. It's hard for the school to rumble down. I will also add that the final paragraph seemed a but wordy with description to me. I like the voice of the piece, I just feel it would read smoother if that final part was polished a bit.

    I too am curious why she seems so burned out at the beginning of senior year. That's generally the best. It's the second semester when the burnout begins...usually. If there's a circumstance that has made her begin the year with such annoyance, maybe add a quick reference just to pique our curiosity.:)

  5. Love the first line! A lot of your descriptions are very voice-y, but I would try to keep it a little more . . . simple. And I would definitely consider cutting some of the stuff at the end - a little too descriptive and a little TMI. I, too, would like to know what has her so bummed as a senior, especially at the start of it. So, maybe if you can give us a little more of that instead of the descriptions? Or at least allude more to it?

    Overall, I really liked her voice and it was very interesting. Good luck!

  6. The voice here is fantastic. I actually love that she goes into TMI territory and I already know she's going to be a fun character to spend time with. I just think there needs to be something more urgent (or at least a hint of it) in the opening sentences, beyond bad locker placement and a wardrobe malfunction.

  7. I love the title and the first line. The voice and tone are spot on. It may tighten this to cut the paragraph about the lockers, or at least some of the description, to move sooner to the herd and the cheerleader outfit, which connects the polyester line. The lockers have great detail, but perhaps better suited for page 2 or later. Good luck!

  8. You have a fantastic voice! I would definitely keep reading. Your character is packed with personality and you've done a nice job of making her feel real. She's definitely not the stereotypical cookie-cutter cheerleader. I wasn't sure if "weneeda pep rally" was a typo or an artistic choice, but I'm hoping it was a typo. If it was an artistic choice, I'd say that I do understand where you're coming from because people really do slur those words together sometimes, but it has the overall effect of feeling a bit heavy handed. Your voice is strong enough that you don't need to fall back on gimmicky dialogue. Of course, it probably was a typo, in which case you can ignore me on that. Well done!