Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Secret Agent #24

TITLE: The Children of Chaos : Telos
GENRE: YA Paranormal Fantasy

I want my wish back. I need a redo. I’d gladly give up the chance for the perfect ending to the best day of my life if it meant unseeing what I just saw. Well, maybe not gladly, but I’d seriously consider it. Besides, the wish was wasted. He left before it could come true. And what’s done can’t be undone; what’s seen unseen.

“That settles it,” Cara says as the credits begin scrolling. “I’m never going in a cave. Ever. Not even if my life depends on it. And I’ll never be able to drive behind a car carrying pipes again either. Thanks, Lily.”

“Don’t blame me. You picked it out.”

“Well, I can’t go to sleep now,” Aria says with a shiver. “Let’s watch some cartoons or something.”

“Can’t.” I turn off the television. “My dad’s already freaking out about Carmichael. Once he sees what movie we watched…well, I better not add more to my list of sins tonight. I’d like to live to see my sixteenth birthday.”

"Party pooper,” Aria and Cara say together, dissolving into sleepy giggles.

“You guys go ahead.” I pick up the popcorn bags. “I’ll be right there.”

Aria yawns. “Mm’k, but hurry up. I want all the details of what your dad caught him giving you.”

I touch the locket of my new necklace and smile.

“Ugh,” Cara groans. “I said I was okay with this, but that doesn’t mean I want to hear about my little brother’s kissing abilities.”


  1. When I read the second paragraph it makes me think that she's talking about the scary movie in the first paragraph when she says she can't unsee things, but I doubt that is the case since it involves a life changing wish, so it's jarring. But what she "just saw" is the movie. Maybe you should set the scene, then put that first paragraph later when she's reflecting and we know a little more. Or cut it altogether since it's telling us that the wish didn't work out. Should we know that yet?

    Then she mentions Carmichael, who we don't have any context for. If he is Cara's brother, maybe she should interject a little, "Eww" right after the Carmichael comment. Also, I don't understand why watching cartoons would add to her list of sins. Because it's too late? And Aria says she'll never get to sleep then yawns and mumbles--shouldn't she be wired and freaked out? Checking the locks? Maybe she should say she's going to have nightmares instead.

    Obviously, I wouldn't be intrigued by the wish premise if I hadn't read the first paragraph, but I still think you should cut it. The reader will have some idea of the premise from the back cover. And it sounds like a cool premise. Good luck with it!

  2. The second paragraph was really disappointing after the first. It also doesn't make any sense in context with the opening. She wished to see a horror movie? It's a little over dramatic either way.

    And there is no context to the Carmichael whatsoever. I don't know if that's an arts program or what until the last paragraph. And her dating a friend's little brother, I have no concept of how old either of them are, so I'm not excited. He could be 13, and that is not romantic.

    I know it's just one page, but there are ways to clear that up without info dumping all over the page.

  3. I loved your opening paragraph, it pulled me right in. And then I was pulled right back out with the second, and lost. They didn't feel like they connected at all. I just wanted to know more about the wish, not some movie. I think this has lots of potential, but you need to rework it to make it flow more smoothly.

  4. I tend to agree with the other commenters. That first paragraph is killer. Usually when I think of wishes, I think of something you just want really badly, but as this is a paranormal story, I'm thinking of literal wishes from genies. So I guess I'm a little disappointed when you mention wishes and dark things the MC has seen but then dive into a Final Destination review.

    If you're trying to attach the reader to your characters before you get to the paranormal or fantastical part of the story, I'd suggest reworking the opening. The chit-chat here is great, and I wouldn't want you to ditch that.

    Good luck!

  5. My thought is to start with the wish. A wish that goes wrong. It seems that would be the perfect place to start. Or just before the wish if the MC is just finding this being who will grant her a wish. As others have said, you gave us a great opening parg, and then went somewhere else. Start on the day that is different, at the moment when things change.

  6. I have agree with the others that your first paragraph is killer--so intriguing, so many questions I can't wait to find the answers to--and then the contemporary dialogue starts. Suddenly we have FIVE characters to track (the three girls + dad + Carmichael).

    Only having these 250 words to work with, I can only guess that it's starting in the wrong place. If it isn't, then ease us into it-- show us the scene from Lily's POV before the other girls start talking, get us centered in her head, then go wild.

  7. I would consider cutting the first paragraph. There is too much there that's vague. What is this wish? Where did it come from? Who granted it? That's what it made me think, so it's a bit of a let down when we realize what it's referring to.

    I think your text would be stronger if you started it with "That settles it," Cara says...

    I like the setup of the sleepover and the creepiness I felt, but I'm unclear about what is going on in terms of "Carmichael" and "what your dad caught him giving you" - who is him? Carmichael? Is that his first name or his last name? And is Carmichael Cara's little brother? A little more clarity would go a long way.

    Still, I'm intrigued enough to read on!

    Thanks for entering!