Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April Secret Agent #2

TITLE: Virtual Space
GENRE: YA Science Fiction

Kade straightened with pride as Tamika pointed suspiciously behind him.

"Am I nuts?" she said. "Tell me that door wasn't there yesterday."

He attempted a casual shrug, something that veered away from mad scientist territory. "Technically it was here. But it had a clever disguise." He stepped aside, fully revealing the metal door embedded in the orange mountainside behind him. With a few pre-programmed hand gestures, the virtual reality image he'd so painstakingly disabled came back into place. The door's color shifted, looking more and more like the surrounding creamsicle-colored rock until it blended in completely. When Kade ran his hand across, he couldn't even feel the door's edge.
Tamika stepped up and ran her brown human-looking hand alongside his clawed gray one. "Impressive."

"It's the same technology that makes Venusian trees look like they've got actual leaves and you look like you have actual hair and skin," he explained. "Only this time, instead of hiding your robotic body, it's hiding a room built right into this hill." He motioned again, and the metal door reappeared. "A jarking awesome room, if I may add."
She raised an eyebrow. "And just what's inside this 'jarking awesome room'?"

"Now, if I told you that, I'd ruin your birthday surprise." Another wave, and the door slid open with a screech.

Tamika didn't move. He couldn't blame her. His last bright idea, programming a robo-hog to rampage through school, had landed them both a week's detention. But circumstances this time were 137.2% different.


  1. This short interaction/dialog does a great job of characterization. I get a great sense of Tamika and Kade, that they have been up to trouble before, and that they are soon headed there again. I think it would be stronger if you removed the line "He attempted a casual shrug..." and went straight to his response. And in the first line, how can someone point suspiciously? LOVE the last paragraph...not only do we know their shennanigans lands them in trouble sometimes, but the percentage really nails character. And bonus points for intergalactic cussing. Jarking...haha.

  2. At first, I was caught off guard by the door question (were they exploring?) but the second you mentioned virtual reality you had my interest! However, be careful to avoid sentences filled with too many adjectives. The sentence about "painstakingly disabled" came across as a little clunky, and I got confused. If you can find a way to shorten it to be more concise, it might read better. Otherwise, good job! :)

  3. I really like the SF language of this plus the added twist of virtual reality alongside aliens and robots. I get a good sense of the characters, also.

    However, this sounds more like a MG voice as opposed to YA, and I wish I could be more helpful and pinpoint exactly why. It also feels like the middle of a chapter where we already know why they are trying to get into the room and what is at stake if they do/don't.

    I also like the promise of adventure with a good dose of humor.

  4. Personally, I feel starting a book with dialogue within the first couple of sentences can be hard as it can really make the reader confused about what's happening. I admit I felt that way at first when I started to read this. Then I got to the sentence about the virtual reality and I got so excited because I love virtual reality concepts. But I was also a little confused by some other aspects of the story. My take away was that the two were aliens or robots based on the "human-looking hand", the "clawed gray one" and the "robotic body". So does that mean that the virtual reality would feature like say what Earth would be like? Or did I completely miss that and it's something completely different altogether? I wish there was a little bit more as way of clarification or even a hint of one. There's so many different ways this could go. I'm so curious!

    Thanks for entering!

  5. I liked the virtual reality concept and wondered where it might take us. Loved the 137.2%. It says a lot about the pov character. But I had no concept of time or place. Perhaps work in some setting here. Where are they really? Who are they, really? Use a sentence or two to set us up in your world, then go on to the story.

  6. Agree with Barbara on loving the 137.2% part, and also about needing more setting. It feels very "empty" in that respect.

    Also, the line about making it look like she has actual hair and skin and hiding her robotic body felt just a tad on the "As you know, Bob" side. Or too on the nose. Or something there felt too obvious of a tell for the reader.

    That said, at this point I would continue reading so I could go through that door with them to see what's in there. :)

  7. Characterisation's pretty strong with this -there are some nice gestures in there, and snappy dialogue that flows naturally. Try simplifying where possible. Some of the sentences are a bit fat and would flow better by cutting out adjectives and unnecessary words. VR is extremely on point however, and a fun topic to explore! :)