Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April Secret Agent #45

GENRE: YA Dark Contemporary

The starry sky above weighs heavy as I skate along the roadside, dodging cars. This overpass has a magnetic force that draws me to it. Especially this time of year.

In seven days, I’ll trek to that painful patch of dirt where my parents died, hoping to see them once more. It's a walk I've made every November for the past five years that's gone from hope to hopelessness. I mean, to be honest, I’m only doing it because I think it'll bring me peace.

It hasn’t yet, and from where I stand tonight, peace is about as far away as Orion’s Belt.

In real life, the patch is a three-minute walk from my back porch that I take because the book I keep under my mattress says leaving my dead parents gifts will give me the chance to say I'm sorry. Yet every year, my hope of that happening wanes like the moon, so tonight to take my mind off the dirt, the sky, and my parents, I’ve dragged my buddy Jase onto the overpass for a Friday night skate. Broken street lamps here mean we can hide beneath the stars, doing whatever we want.

“Guy, come on, dude, let’s go to the Skatey P instead,” Jase whines. "This place is a speedway death trap. The park's gotta be more fun, plus everyone'll be there."

“And it'll be so bright, we'll have to stare at everyone's zits.” I razz my buddy, skating a fine line between sarcasm and apathy.


  1. I love the imagery created in the first few paragraphs and the character's connection to the stars. There's longing there, sadness and enough foreboding that makes it interesting. Well done.

  2. Great beginning! The mood is set right away with the starry night sky and the force drawing the mc to the overpass, where his parents died.

    After his friend asks about going to Skatey P, though,the mc's response took me out of the scene. I like where he says 'And it'll be so bright." I think he should end his response there and then maybe insert some IM, perhaps, 'and I didn't want to be around lots of people under bright lights, especially this time of year when I felt so dark and desolate.' Or something like that. But I really like the way you start off the story, with the imagery and the mystery of how his parents died and why he cant' seem to say sorry.

    1. Ooh...this is great insight! Thank you for the thoughts about that line and adding IM instead :)

  3. Hi! Biggest criticism I had with this entry: the last line. A lot of teenagers suffer from debilitating acne they can't control, and it's not nice for her to basically say she doesn't want to see them in the light. I was very into the scene, feeling bad for the mc and wondering how her parents died and why she was involved, but that completely turned me off. As someone who suffered from acne to the point where I had to start acutane, suffering embarrassment toad shame, I was very offended. I'd be careful how you word such things in the future, as you never know what teenagers you might hurt.

    1. Embarrassment and shame, not embarrassment toad shame LMAO!

  4. I love the opening to this, the way the overpass draws the narrator like a magnet. Very nicely done. I like how we gradually find out where he's going and why.

    I agree that the last line is a bit off putting--I get that you're (I think) trying to show these two joking around with each other, but maybe choose something different for him to tease his friends about.

    But I'm hooked-- very moody and intriguing.

    1. Thanks, Patti. Moody and intriguing--yay!

      I will examine the acne line.

      Thank you for your thoughts.

  5. I liked the first parg. It was a nice lead in to the story. Nice imagery and mood setting. Perhaps cut the next three pargs. Think about the scene you created. The MC is skating along with his friend, (although we don't know his friend is there until the end of the page. You might want to mention him earlier.) And then the MC suddenly starts talking to someone who isn't there, (the readers) to explaim why he's there, and to explain the story he's about to tell. When he's done explaining, he continues on with his life as if he hadn't been chatting with people who aren't there.

    First, he shouldn't know there are readers, and he shouldn't talk to them.

    Second, it takes him out of his world and into mine, breaking that wall between reader and character. The idea is to pull the reader into your world, not have him popping into mine.

    Third, all that explanation should be made evident to the reader through action, dialogue, and description.

    Let your story play out. Don't explain it. Show us what happens. Don't tell us. You created great mood and tone in just three short sentences in that first parg. Use that same style for the rest of this.

  6. I think this is good but I think it tells a lot of the story instead of painting more of a picture for the reader. She tells us what’s happening in seven days but I don’t get strong enough emotion about the pain and apparent guilt it’s afflicting on her.

    Also, I couldn’t really connect with the last line about staring at zits. I don’t think it’s a strong enough sentence. It’d be more appealing if she thought something about it being so bright that it shone on the darkness of her mind and she didn’t need the shadows for she had enough of her own. Or something to help plant her emotions and her preference for the death trap skate park, lol.

    Thanks for entering!

  7. I now need to know what happened to the parents and how that moment ties into the whole story. I must say though, the zits comment did make me furrow my brow... This has potential!

  8. This is why we need others to read our words. I love all of you. Zitsbegone! Using the agent's advice to couch his cynicism in words revealing his own darkness.

    Parent info comes in quite soon, too!

    Thank you, writing peeps!!

  9. Love the mood of the opening lines! I tend to agree, though, with Barbara and SA that the paragraphs following tell the story more than letting the MC's emotions/actions/reactions unfold for the reader. I want to stay with him in the darkness, desperate to burn off some energy while at the same time intent to keep it hidden.

    Nice work, and good luck!