Wednesday, March 7, 2018

March Secret Agent Contest #20

GENRE: YA Contemporary

I love this porch, especially on a warm summer afternoon. It’s screened, it’s shady, it belongs to my best friend Zoe. It’s more like home than home, these days.

Zoe sits by my side, her laptop perched on her knees, scrolling through her senior pictures. Even in black and white, her smile jumps right off the screen like a big hug. “You’re a real pro, Bits. My parents will love these.”

I would hope so. Zoe’s parents covered two month’s rent for Dad and me paying for something I would’ve gladly done for free. There’s something about photography. Lines, shapes, colors, stories captured for posterity. It’s how I frame the world, and I’m pretty good at it. I wish I wasn’t, but lately it’s my lifeboat.

Zoe clicks back and forth between three versions of her wading in City Lake, the warm dusky light dancing in the ripples around her ankles. “You’ll get into Rochester for sure.”

“They’ll have to give me major bucks.” I don’t have the heart to tell her I’ve given up on my dream school. “Waiving the application fee wouldn’t hurt either.”

“Your dad will find a job.” Zoe throws and arm over my shoulder. A wayward strawberry blonde curl tickles my cheek.

Before we’re homeless, I hope. It would be way too pathetic if Dad and I were evicted from our tiny garage apartment.

“New York is too far, anyway. I’d only be home for Christmas. If I get in at Colorado State, I can live at home.”


  1. Nice opening sentences. They feel like a clear day and settle nicely so I know exactly where I am in the story. Nice (hard) work. :)

  2. There is some nice exposition here without being too info-dumpy. The writing is strong; I don't see too much that needs fixing. Not sure if the comma is necessary before "these days" in the third sentence, but commas can be a matter of preference. I was a little confused by the phrase "the warm dusky light" because it took me a moment to realize it was referring to Zoe in the picture rather than Zoe in the present moment. Oh, and one teeny typo -- "Zoe throws and arm" instead of "an."

    Good luck!

  3. The writing flows easily and in just a few lines, I think I get a good feel for the relationship between these two and the potential predicament of the MC.

  4. The confident voice here shines. It’s easy to fall into these character, I feel like we get just the right amount of information and backstory and current stakes. It’s a really lovely set-up and I’m intrigued.

  5. The opening lines draw me right into the scene. I like the feel of their relationship that you get.
    The line where Zoe starts looking at her photos is a bit unclear that we're switching perspective.
    The MC's (nick?)name being Bits and the title being "Bits and Pieces" is a cool tie.

  6. Thank you everyone for your comments!

    And thank you, Secret Agent. You really made my day. :—D