Wednesday, March 7, 2018

March Secret Agent Contest #30

TITLE: Daydreams
GENRE: YA Fantasy

A jolt of static electricity pulled me from the beach and back into my high school psychology classroom. I gasped as another course shot through my right shoulder. My eyes flew open, only to lock on the teacher in front of my desk.

“You wouldn’t happen to have been sleeping my class would you, Miss Danner?”

“No,” I said slowly. I hadn’t been sleeping, not exactly, but my daydream had been deep and detailed. Still, the front row of Mr. Michaels’ class probably wasn’t the best place to zone out.

“Then would you care to summarize the lecture?” he asked, sounding annoyed.

His irritation paled in comparison to mine though. The public humiliation of being asked questions in class was usually reserved for other kids; the kids who didn’t get straight A’s or mainline textbooks in their spare time.

I glared at Mr. Michaels for breaking this unspoken rule. He had fast become my favorite new teacher. His brand of dry sarcasm was exactly what I needed to keep me interested enough to pay attention in class. Most of the time.

“The whole thing or just the last few minutes?” I asked. It was almost the end of the hour, wasn’t it?

He glared right back as he said, “Describe the brain chemistry of falling in love.”

Well, that gives me something to go on at least, I thought, mentally reviewing everything I’d ever heard or read about neurochemistry.


  1. I like that your main character seems smart, and the reference of the chemistry of falling in love that she immediately relates to neurochemistry. I'm not quite sure why she's antagonistic with the teacher, at least in her inner monologue when she was the one not paying attention or daydreaming class. I might try and start the opening a bit later, like when he first asks her to describe the science of falling love and try and work in the earlier fantasy bits afterward. That part to me is the unique bit. Good luck!

  2. I'm with Lisa B.: I like the smart MC, the brain chemistry of falling in love, and the neurochemistry connection. However, my brain couldn't get over the static electricity hurdle in the opening paragraph. What produced this static shock? Did someone touch her? What was the source of the second shock? And if her eyes were closed, was she really just daydreaming? Yes, I'm terribly literal. I know.

    More importantly, though, is that I don't have any sense of a Big Picture here. I don't see a big change coming; I don't see a problem that needs to be solved. You've painted an interesting scene and shown us an interesting character, but I want more of an idea of where this is going.

    Keep going, please.

  3. There’s something really neat brewing here, but I think it gets lost in the set-up. The tease at the end about the brain chemistry of falling in love hints at something cool as does the protagonists’ ability to slip into such detailed daydreams (I think), but what we get here is a defensive angry teen and it’s a hard character to connect with. I can’t help but wonder if maybe there’s another way to introduce us to this character that will show them in a more dynamic and nuanced light.

  4. Nice voice. I'm pretty much along the same lines as everyone else when it comes to character. What I think would help me connect better to her is to have some idea of something she wants/need, whatever is going to be her beginning motivation.

  5. I agree, I'm not sure you're starting this where it should be started. On a more technical note: adverbs are pretty much never needed, especially in '_____ said' situations. Same with 'sounding annoyed' where you're telling the reader something you just showed them in the quote itself. Trust yourself as a writer, and the reader, so you show, rather than tell.