Wednesday, March 7, 2018

March Secret Agent Contest #38

TITLE: Never Say Never
GENRE: YA Romantic Comedy

True love is bull****.

I grew up in a home built on the belief in true love. As I headed down the stairs for breakfast that Monday morning, I witnessed the wondrous majesty of true love, right there in my kitchen.
Sitting at the table, Dad stared blankly at his newspaper, holding it up like a wall between himself and Mom, who drew her spoon absently through her cereal. He might as well have drawn a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the side of the newspaper that faced her. Interruptions from his daily reading of the news were strictly forbidden--if you were Mom.

“Good morning, Mom. Good Morning, Dad. What’re the important headlines of the day?” I flopped onto my chair, and intrusively peeled back the corner of his newspaper.

“Good Morning, Brynn,” Dad said with a faint smile, shaking his newspaper until it was standing straight up again. He was dressed in his usual shirt and tie with slacks, the required uniform for his job as a mid-level manager at a communications firm near the city.

“Yes, rather nice of you to join us.” Mom’s empty eyes stared at the back of Dad’s newspaper, her lips twisted into their semi-permanent frown. Mom was still wearing the long blue t-shirt she slept in. Her shift at the grocery store started later in the day.

I somehow managed to suppress an eyeroll. “I stayed up late doing homework. Had some trouble waking up.”


  1. Cute set-up here and a nice introduction of a feisty heroine. Unfortunately, it feels like all set-up, so I’m not getting a great sense of what’s going to happen with Brynn next. If possible, it might be worth exploring trimming this down a bit and getting to the crux of the story faster

  2. I was a little confused by your opening: "True love is bull****.
    I grew up in a home built on the belief in true love" as well as the subsequent scene where Mom and Dad aren't modeling this belief. I would try to establish the tone of the story a little better by making it clear right away. It's either bullshit or it's not (can't be both at the same time!) Also, the dialogue felt stilted--not how real kids and parents would talk. Think of how you spoke to your parents as a teen or your kids speak to you (especially in the mornings!) Hope this helps. :-)

  3. Great job showing family dynamics with the newspaper. It's both funny and sad. What's missing, though, is a sense of the Big Picture. Where's this going?

    I think you can condense this a lot, keeping the newspaper situation while making room for more info about the bigger story or some hooking detail about Brynn or what's happening next. I'm wondering if this is where the story really begins or if this scene should appear elsewhere, explaining Brynn's mixed-up sense of "true love."

  4. That first line is great haha. I got the sarcasm in the following lines right away. Good job with that.

    I liked how you were able to show the tension in the room without a ton of detail or just coming right out and saying it. The dialog is a bit dry, but I'm assuming that's the point.

    I think this is a nice set up and I'd read on to learn more. It's hard getting EVERY little detail into the first page so what you have here is a good start.

  5. Good first line, but there seems to be a languidness to the rest, with little happening other than '1950's family dynamics.' That first line is a punch, but little seems to be following it up, so condensing might help a great deal.

  6. I'm not sure you're starting in quite the right place? I get the sense that these family dynamics will be important to the story, as they clearly are to the MC, but I'm not attached enough to *her* yet to be invested. And do we really need to know about the parents' jobs on page one? Those details feel shoehorned in.

    On the plus side, I like the flashes of voice in the first couple of paragraphs - the "do not disturb" sign in particular stood out for me, as did the wondrous majesty of true love.