Wednesday, March 7, 2018

March Secret Agent Contest #15

TITLE: Konadai
GENRE: YA Fantasy

“If it can be created, it can be destroyed,” I mutter, staring at the data filling the holographic panel above my crowded desk. Then again, I’m sure the gods said the same thing about us.

A loud beep from the intercom snaps me from my thoughts. The voice is calm, almost robotic, as it pages one of the many doctors in the hospital. The small lab is isolated on the sixth floor, away from the sick patients and buzzing medical staff. I prefer it this way. Cultivating a cure for the virus ravaging our island city is far less heartbreaking than watching people die from it—especially people I know.

As I settle back into studying the data on the panel, another sudden noise draws me back to reality. This time it’s from the door swinging open. Anette strolls into the lab, focused on the digital tablet she’s carrying, with a manila folder tucked under her arm. Her unbuttoned lab coat reveals a red silk blouse, its color in stark contrast to her dark skin. As I straighten myself in my chair, she drops the folder onto my desk. It’s another unwelcome addition to the ever-growing mountain of assigned labor. My chest tightens as I glance down at the stack of papers.

I didn’t sign up to be buried under mundane work. I’m here to be a virologist, not a secretary.
Blowing my bangs out of my face, I move the papers aside and grab my notebook from the drawer.


  1. Nice job setting up an interesting premise and I like your opening!

    I found "A loud beep from the intercom snaps me from my thoughts" and "another sudden noise draws me back to reality" to be kind of repetitive. Maybe cut one of these?

    Also, "Cultivating a cure for the virus ravaging our island city is far less heartbreaking than watching people die from it—especially people I know" was a bit too much telling. Given that you start off with the MC looking over a collection of data, it should be easy to show what project he/she is working on instead.

    Good luck!

  2. Interesting! Love that opening paragraph, especially the second sentence. I'm eager to know why the gods want to destroy "us," and how they tried and failed.

    I like the second paragraph, too, as it reveals more of the scene and story, but then I think paragraph 3 and beyond gets bogged down in unimportant details. Does a swinging door make much noise, really? Does it matter what Anette is wearing? Note the details revealed in the last sentence. Do we really need any of them?

    Might we get to some sort of action instead? Maybe we just need to get to what happens next faster.

  3. I love the opening paragraph and 2nd sentence as well. "Cultivating a cure for the virus ravaging our island city is far less heartbreaking than watching people die from it—especially people I know." This is the one statement that give me an idea of the hook of the story. Perhaps there is more coming in the next few paragraphs. In the first 250 words there isn't enough. This is piece is good, that is the big need is doing more to get the reader to care.

    I notice another comment says that sentence tells too much. Interesting to have opposing points of view.

    A few smaller suggestions. I'm not sure if the protagonist is male or female. Blowing hair off of forehead gives an idea but I'm not sure.
    The sentence I copied and pasted, implies that looking for a cure is heartbreaking -- but less heartbreaking than watching people die.

    I agree, 2 sounds disrupting are probably redundant. I also agree with Noodlesoup comment -- work to get to action more quickly. You can address additional conflict a little further in but since Ashely and the pile of paperwork are probably not the hook of the story, don't go there in the 3rd paragraph. I like the paragraph, the whole piece, some of it just needs to be moved.

  4. Really cool opening. I love a good “virus wipes out humanity” story, so I’m inherently intrigued by this concept and where the story is going. I’m already wondering why teens are working in a lab - because there’ super smart? Because they’re all that’s left? It feels like both an intriguing juxtaposition, assuming the next parts of the story answer these questions, or one that could get murky if it leaves the reader hanging. Great hook!

  5. Great opening! Very intriguing. I wonder how old the protagonist is be working in a lab I imagine someone a bit more adult. But at the same time it leaves me curious to find out why a teen is working in this situation. Nicely done. Good luck!