Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September Secret Agent #34

Genre: YA Fantasy

“Dude.” I dragged the word out, despite not being a stoner, skater or surfer. If anything, I was a sci-fi geek, but we, as a people, didn’t really have an official word. Maybe just a scream of unadulterated joy at the release of a new movie or a shocked gasp at a revelation in a TV episode. But my Duuude was meant to soften the blow that would come next. I twisted the cylindrical glue stick in my hand, pushing the tube of adhesive up and then rolling it down, before moving on to fiddle with the other one. “I think I’m out of glue.”

Kate glanced at me from where she sat on the hardwood floor of my bedroom, her gaze flickering from my face to the sticks in my hand, only a scraped-away layer of beige remaining in each. Her fingers tightened around the paper she held, a baby-blue poster board we were attempting to decorate. “Great.”

“Don’t freak out, you little drama queen.” I dropped to my knees at Kate’s side, my tone light. If I’d said that to her with any amount of seriousness, she wouldn’t talk to me for a week. Which wouldn’t work out well when the poster was due to be presented tomorrow in our first period business class. “Maybe there’s enough here for it to work.”

“You said you had everything we needed for this poster, Aurelia.” Kate adjusted the purple glasses on her nose, giving me an unobstructed view into her blue eyes.


  1. This isn't the right place to open. There's nothing happening and anything said gives me no more insight into the characters than that they're modern teens. In fact, what little stands out to me is only confusing or comes across as melodrama. Now, maybe that's the point about one of the characters, but as presented, it comes across as bad writing, not a quirky character. There are hints of cleverness here that make me hope for better things in the whole, but I'm not hooked enough to read on.

  2. Hello!

    Good writing and nice chemistry between the characters, but I'm not convinced this is the right place to open. Nothing interesting is happening, no real conflict, and there's no hint of any of the fantasy elements. I'd consider starting later in your story.

    If starting here is important, consider bringing in some more tension or fantasy elements to act as hooks, as there are currently no hooks here. Even the extremely minor tension of the glue running out is underwhelming -- Aurelia tells Kate not to freak out or be a drama queen, but she doesn't actually do anything that exciting and barely reacts.

    Your writing is definitely sound. I hope you can find a better place to start -- I'm sure there's lots of excitement in your story, you just have to get a bit closer to it.

    Well done and good luck!

  3. I love the writing, but am very confused how this is fantasy?

  4. I love the writing, but am very confused how this is fantasy?

  5. This seemed more contemporary than YA fantasy. If it's supposed to be fantasy you need to bring in the fantasy elements right away. Otherwise, it's a solid opening. Good luck!

  6. There are some fun lines in this (why don't sci-fi geeks have their own word?), but I wasn't totally won over by the opening line. It's an interesting dynamic between the characters and I would have liked to see more of that then the concern over the gluestick :)

  7. The ordinary world/day start of this story left me wondering why it didn't start with the moment something different happened in these characters' lives.

  8. The ordinary world/day start of this story left me wondering why it didn't start with the moment something different happened in these characters' lives.

  9. I’m sorry, but I really don’t like this as an opening! It doesn’t feel at all like fantasy to me, but rather a fantasy. I’m wondering if this is a portal fantasy, then? The characters are falling flat and feel a bit like caricatures of teens rather than having an authentic voice. All one of the girls said was ‘great’ and in return someone else called it a freakout and, her, a drama queen. To me, it feels like a backstory scene that introduces us to a couple of characters and I can’t see the fantasy elements here.

    I do think you have a good voice and it’d be the type of book where I’d ask to see something else of yours because I do like the writing. It’s just where you started this particular one that really misses the mark for me, unfortunately.

  10. Consider what happens here. A girl runs out of glue.

    A girl running out of glue could be an opening hook if you give us more. Is there a way to work in the fantasy aspect or a feeling of strangeness, a hint at the plot problem? Does running out of glue relate in any way to the fantasy? Or perhaps the fantasy or problem enters the story when she goes to get more glue, in which case, that may be the place to start.

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