Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March Secret Agent #46

TITLE: The Curse of Jenny Greenteeth
GENRE: YA Thriller

In the wispy dark of a foggy night, the children come. The children die.

Jenny Greenteeth croons to them, her keening call they cannot deny.


Gram was dying and it couldn't happen soon enough. Not that I didn't love her and wish she could be with us for all the rest of my own years. But each breath that her frail lungs fought to take was laboured, and it took her whole body to pull it in. Not even the oxygen that was being forced into her through the mask over her nose and mouth offered her any relief. No one wanted to watch their beloved Gram die that way.

Sam's sobs drifted through the closed door. Dad said he was too young to sit with us and no matter loud he howled, Dad refused to budge. So Sam's cries and Gram's tortured breaths were the only sounds we had. The machines had all been turned off by the hospice nurse.

Mom had long ago stopped her own crying. I think she was numb. She sat in a chair beside the bed and stared at the blankets covering Gram's small frame. I wondered if, like me, she wanted this to be over. For Gram to have some peace.

"She'll finally be at rest," said Dad. The scratch in his voice belied the stern set to his face.

Gram was a constant in all our lives. She'd lived with us longer than I had.


  1. I really loved the whole thing. The opening got me hooked and the part about gram really resonated with me. But together they felt disjointed to me. I don't know if Jenny is the one talking since the first part is 3rd person and not sure how it connects. I know this is only the first page and it might come together, but just a thought.

  2. I know that last line isn't your "last line" but wow! What an ender...

    You do a great job introducing us to the characters. I get a sense of who each is, even just in this short space.

    Good luck!

  3. This is intriguing. The verse at the beginning gives an ominous feel and sets up the genre. The sentence that starts "Not even the oxygen" tripped me up a bit, but all the sensory details are very vivid. I'd like to find out about the main character pretty soon after this - name, age. But it's a solid opening!

  4. Wow, I adore the emotion in this. Your opening and "closing" lines are just killer. The only thing that stuck out to me was that you used phrases like "I think" and "I wonder." these tend to be filters that draw readers out of the story -- the dialog tag following can do the same thing. If you simply have an action before or following the dialog, you can speed things along, and possibly develop character instead of using obvious phrases. (Like, "said Dad. The scratch in his voice belied the stern set to his face." could simply be "The scratch in Dad's voice belied the stern set to his face.")
    But, like I said, well freaking done! I loved reading this. :)

  5. You have set the stage for a very creepy, upsetting tale with your opening verse. Not wild about the name Greenteeth, though, but I'm sure you have your reasons. Your description of Gram dying makes me feel the pain of everyone in the room. Very well done.

  6. Holy wow. I'm tearing up and this is only the first 250! I honestly can't think of anything to change.

    Am I the only one in this thread who gets the reference to Jenny Greeteeth? Crazy!

    A couple things I was wondering. The title of the book implies to me that this is actually a YA Urban Fantasy, not a straight-up thriller. Fantasy/Thriller ala "Sisters Red"?

    The last line: "She'd lived with us longer than I had." It's really intriguing, but also borderline confusing. Right now I'm thinking a bazillion things ... "Is the MC dead? Otherwise how could GMA live with 'us' longer than the MC, since 'us' includes the MC?" also "If she's dead, is the MC Jenny Greenteeth?" or " Is the MC just a normal girl, but the gma lived with the MC's parents longer than the MC did?" and "if so, did the MC run away?"

    Anyhow. It's a small thing really, but the last line has me with a lot of questions, not all of them going maybe the way you'd want your readers to be thinking... or maybe you do.

    And you can ignore everything I just said about the last line probably because I would totally read on regardless!

  7. The opening verse is creepy but I assume it sets the tone for the book to come. I thought you did a nice job of placing the reader in the room with the characters and having the narrator say just enough about each that it establishes the family dynamic.

    I was confused by the last line. If Gram is very old then it stands to reason that obviously she has been around longer than the narrator. So, I am not sure what to make of that.

    One sentence to correct:

    "Dad said he was too young to sit with us and no matter hard he howled."

    I assume maybe this was a sentence in another form and was edited with the computer and ended up in its current state.....but it is missing a word.. "how" - as in how hard he howled....and then even with that addition, you would need to complete the thought to make it a proper and complete sentence. Nice start and I would like to read on.

  8. I think the opening line is really strong. There's a great creepiness in it that I find intriguing and I get a sense of real emotions in the scene that follows.

  9. I think what you have here is well done, particularly the opening verse, but I wonder why you start with Grandma when she's about to die. All the attention is on her, and then she won't even be in the story. (Or maybe she will.) I wanted to know more about the MC.

  10. I think you've done a very nice job here! That opening is downright creepy--it made me not want to read this alone, that's for sure! You've definitely captured my attention and I know I'd keep reading. One piece of advice would be for you to vary your sentence structure a bit more. You write with a very staccato rhythm, which I found a bit distracting in certain moments. If you vary it a bit more, everything will flow more smoothly.