Wednesday, January 23, 2019

January Secret Agent #49

TITLE: Here Comes the Sun
GENRE: YA Historical

Spring 2000

I arrive at Heathrow Airport with bags in my arms and under my eyes. The six-thousand-hour flight from Chicago was meant to be a time to “recharge our batteries” and prepare for a full day of travel, according to lead chaperone Mr. Parsons. What actually occurred was quite the opposite, largely due to my poor seat location between my best friend and chaperone. And, possibly, an ill-timed sleeping pill.

My senior class from Naperville Academy has been preparing for the spring break trip to England since the very first day of school. The weekly meetings at the butt-crack of dawn every Monday were used to prepare us on English culture, transportation and history. The main lesson I learned after all those Mondays is that we are never ever to be late to check in and that The Tube is the British version of a subway and is apparently not whatever I initially imagined – a blue teleportation device.

What I didn’t learn from Mr. Parsons and Mr. Marks every Monday I eventually learned from my mom, who has never stepped foot on British soil. Don’t eat the meat. Wear bright colors. And don’t piss off the Beefeaters. Now, if The Tube had my imagination churning, just imagine where I went with Beefeaters. It was a sad day when I learned they were simply part of the Queen’s Guard, which is a far cry from giants throwing cows into their mouthes one after another.

“Nat, come on. Ya gotta move," my best friend Krista says.


  1. I like the narrator's snarky tone here-- phrases like "the six thousand hour flight" and "Butt-crack of dawn" are nice touches and make her sound like a real teen. I also enjoyed the comments about what she thought the Beefeaters were.

    I'm a little curious about the genre here-- this is marked historical, but set in 2000--I'm assuming there's also some sort of past timeline or maybe even time travel? I'm not sure that there's any way to hint at that this early, but I'm imagining an editor reading this and wondering why it's labeled historical. Just something to think about.

    It feels as if there's a lot of back story here. I appreciate knowing that this is her senior class spring break trip, but I wonder if some of the other details could be woven in with some action. Maybe we could see her trying to get through the airport or interacting with friends and then get some of her thoughts about British culture. Right now, this opens rather slowly.

    In fact, it's possible this could start further into the story-- though I don't know what happens next. Maybe consider starting after they get to wherever they're going (hotel maybe?) or with the first moment when things get weird or change. (just a thought)

    I do enjoy the sarcasm and tone of the narrator, but I'm curious what her goal is and what the eventual conflict will be.

  2. I Lol'd at the line "which is a far cry from giants throwing cows into their mouthes one after another."

    I think the word is *mouths* without an e.

    I'd love to have a hint about what's going to happen. I think they call it The Promise. Is there time travel?

    I love the voice, very believable!

  3. I really like your first paragraph. This part confused me ever so slightly, though: "between my best friend and chaperone." I know it's two people b/c you say btwn, but it gave me pause as though the bf was also the chap. Just adding A chaperone would make me not have to pause to think there.

    Like the 2nd para too. "butt crack of dawn" is good. One thought on last sentence... well, two, is maybe you need another comma in there and this part: "not whatever I initially imagined – a blue teleportation device." I would change whatever to what. Whatever implies you didn't have a clear vision of what it was, but then you show that you did, in fact, have something specific in mind.

    Mouthes in third para--delete the e. Good dialogue from a teenager. Authentic. All around, nicely done! :)

  4. This sounds like it will be a fun story about a student’s adventure in a foreign country.

    I agree that this begins with a bit too much back story and not enough conflict. We don’t know the significance of these details to the main character. How do they affect her/him personally? That will help us care about the character and make us wonder what will happen next. It would be good to see a small hint about what the main conflict in the novel will be. You could also use the space to reveal a bit more about who this character is. The voice is snarky and funny and it would be nice to get a better sense of the person talking.

    For “stepped foot” I think you meant “set foot.” Unless it’s meant to be the way the character speaks.

    Also, I don’t think the year 2000 is generally considered historical fiction. Not for a few more decades. There usually has to be a reason to set a story in the recent past. Maybe it’s time travel, or maybe the story is set up around a specific real event that occurs in that year.

  5. You've got some great bits of voice in here! As others have mentioned, "butt crack of dawn" and "six-thousand hour flight" are some fun snark. I'd like to see a bit more action upfront, though, if possible, with the backstory sprinkled in throughout.

  6. Your first two sentences give the reader action and reveal good voice with her sarcastic sense of humor. However, the next two sentences and the next two paragraphs are back story, which took me out of your story. I suggest to continue with action and her present voice to develop her character first. Let the reader get to know her. Later “sprinkle” in the back story as another commenter stated.

  7. I really like the snark of your MC!

    Outside of everything said above, the only thing I caught were a few missed commas here: 'English culture, transportation, and history.'

  8. How old is your MC supposed to be? Because imagining the Tube as a "blue teleportation device" and the Beefeaters as "giants throwing cows into their mouthes one after another" both seem very MG to me.

    Also not sure how this is a Hitorical set in 2000, but maybe there is some time travel element?

  9. I enjoy the humor in this! Humor is hard to get right and wonderful when an author does!

    I'm doubtful about you starting with exposition and a flashback to all their preparations. It's often better to start your book in the moment, then deliver all this exposition a few pages in. Also, instead of telling us she's tired, you can make that sensation come alive in the pages--the groggy eyes, heavy head, etc.

  10. Very solid start. Great voice. Fun tone, light pace.
    I thought the story was going to start from this chaperone/sleeping pill situation, but it was actually just extra info, so consider finessing this a bit. I like what you’re trying to do, but I just think it needs a bit more polishing.
    If her mom has never been there, would she know they’re called beefeaters?
    Not really a historical just yet, though it did make me feel ancient to read that. Ha!

    Get $5,500 USD every day, for six months!

    See how it works
    Do you know you can hack into any ATM machine with a hacked ATM card??
    Make up you mind before applying, straight deal...

    Order for a blank ATM card now and get millions within a week!: contact us
    via email address::{}

    We have specially programmed ATM cards that can be use to hack ATM
    machines, the ATM cards can be used to withdraw at the ATM or swipe, at
    stores and POS. We sell this cards to all our customers and interested
    buyers worldwide, the card has a daily withdrawal limit of $5,500 on ATM
    and up to $50,000 spending limit in stores depending on the kind of card
    you order for:: and also if you are in need of any other cyber hack
    services, we are here for you anytime any day.

    Here is our price lists for the ATM CARDS:

    Cards that withdraw $5,500 per day costs $200 USD
    Cards that withdraw $10,000 per day costs $850 USD
    Cards that withdraw $35,000 per day costs $2,200 USD
    Cards that withdraw $50,000 per day costs $5,500 USD
    Cards that withdraw $100,000 per day costs $8,500 USD

    make up your mind before applying, straight deal!!!

    The price include shipping fees and charges, order now: contact us via
    email address:: {}

    Visit our Website for more Info: