Wednesday, March 7, 2018

March Secret Agent Contest #25

TITLE: Garrett Gordon vs. The Cyberians
GENRE: YA Fiction

Garrett was bored out his mind at home alone, trying to read his assigned Lord of the Stupid Flies book with one hand and frisbee-tossing old CD-roms into a waste bin with the other until he decided to break the monotony by having a little fun at his old middle school’s expense.

He bolted to the window and scanned his driveway and up and down the sunlit street to make sure he saw no signs of his mom’s car before he typed the five-digit password into her laptop on the first try. 21096: her wedding anniversary.

Next, he'd need to break into the middle school’s computer system. He could do it the old-fashioned way and just hack the router from outside the school, of course, but that would require him getting on his bike and riding the few hundred yards to the school’s gate, possibly breaking a sweat, and possibly running into Thomas and his gang of goons, skipping class out by the abandoned sports equipment shed. He glanced back through the open curtains. And it did look pretty hot outside.

So, that only left guessing the sixteen characters disguised as asterisks in the area labeled “Password.”

He cracked his knuckles and leaned close to the screen.

He tried “RichardCarlBixby,” the principal’s real name.


He tried it again, all lowercase. Again, password error.

Just then, an idea came. He typed “WildcatsFootball.” The screen opened onto a black and gray webpage that looked like it hadn’t been updated since phones had curly cords attached to them.


  1. Interesting opening and I like how I get a strong feeling for your MC's personality from the first paragraph.

    It's something of a pet peeve of mine when people are able to easily guess passwords in fiction because it feels unrealistic. These days most people aren't dumb enough to use dates (and most schools require passwords to have letters and numbers.) Why not give you main character a chance to be awesome and have him just hack in? He seems like someone who would have computer skills and it would be more impressive than a lucky guess.

    Good luck!

    1. Super suggestion. I appreciate you taking the time to read the opening. Thanks!

  2. I think you establish the personality of the protagonist well in the opening paragraph. I'm curious as to why he wants to hack into the middle school principal's computer. There is a real sense of a strong conflict between Garret and the principal but I think we need more of what the stakes are here to help us care about Garrett and what he's after.

  3. From the title, I can see that there is something good brewing here, but right now Garrett comes off as a troublemaker for troublemaking sake and I’m finding it hard to connect with him. I’d suggest giving us a little more about him other than he’s bored, for example. A little more motivation would go a long way to make him a character editors want to spend time with.