Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Secret Agent #11

GENRE: YA Magical realism

Transcript [FILE 201 130614SANTA FE (03:27)]
Raven: Requesting Stargate SIT REP.
Trigger: We found them. Asset validation complete. ET mission complete 140 hours.
Raven: Copy that. I’m going in. Initiate target acquisition.

                                                                                                                                      Chapter One

   The worst thing about living in the Land of Enchantment is that it hardly ever lives up to the promise of that name. When we first moved here I thought there would be actual magic, like the sky might change color at my command. A nighthawk with my father’s voice would teach me all the secrets and show me how to fly. Even though New Mexico looked mostly like desert, I figured that was just a clever disguise. The magic was hidden, but I would find it.

Seven years later, well, The Land of Enchantment sounds great and sells a lot of T shirts, but the magic is hard to find and slippery when you do. There are enchanted spots, if you know where to look, and when the sun sinks into its fiery cauldron of color every evening I almost believe. But controlling the skies and the animals, flying wherever I want to go? I can still only do those things in my dreams, and since Mom still won’t let me get my driver’s license, the only flying I’m doing is on my bike.


  1. Beautiful beginning! I'm definitely intrigued. The line "a nighthawk with my father's voice would teach me the secrets and show me how to fly," is perfection. Great way to drop some subtle backstory. I also think I know the conflict of your mc already. Or at least enough to keep reading. Great job!

  2. Lovely descriptions. I think you could clean up the sentence with "New Mexico looked mostly like desert" a bit to New Mexico is mostly desert. (or something like that) The last sentence totally got me out of the revelry of the descriptions (in a good way) would read more!

  3. That transcript has me intrigued as to what's happening, what they found. I love her thoughts on what it'd be like, and her thoughts on the reality.
    In the 'There are enchanted spots...' line I'm confused what she almost believes. It still sounds like she believes there is some magic there, so I don't know if that's what you're hinting at or something else. Maybe just tack on 'in them' as in the enchanted spots?

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  5. I'm loving the voice! It reminds me of Wade/Parzival's in Ready Player One, and I adore him so much! Great job with the sly nod to his age by pulling in the driver's license bit. My only suggestion is to change out 'that was just' to 'it must be' right before the second to last sentence in the first paragraph where it talks about a clever disguise.
    Good luck! I hope to read more real soon.

  6. SUCH a great opening line. But I admit, and maybe I'm just a lazy reader, I skipped over the part in italics entirely at the beginning. I just wanted to get to the first sentence of the story, you know?

    Also, you did a nice job of starting with the ephemeral, the enchantment of magic, and with the last sentence, with the talk of driver's licenses and bikes, you brought us into the really contemporary world. Nice blending there and nicely done. Love the voice and the tone of this. Want more!

  7. Slippery magic is my favorite kind! I'm intrigued by the transmission at the beginning. Something bad is gonna happen, and I love it!

    The only flying I'll do is on my bike is perfection!

    Great job and good luck!

  8. Interesting beginning. I'm intrigued.

    I like how I feel like I'm getting questions answered before I knew to ask them. As a reader, that's one of my favorite reading sensations when starting a new book. The idea of the magic being "hard to find and slippery when you do," is a nice hook for curiosity, too--a tangible curiosity almost. I like how it's balanced with the dose of reality at the end, as well. The only major concern I have about this beginning is that it doesn't seem to connect with the opening that intrigued me so much, and the fact that the character's mom won't *let* him get a driver's license, the character feels more middle grade to me. So, I would say to maybe push that little detail back a bit from the beginning, once we're most established into the character's age and life.

    I'm also hoping that we get a bit more information about the beginning soon. I'm wondering if this is a bit of a Transformers set up, where the transmission is being sent by other characters and everything is about to come together, or if we're having some time shifting going on, or what.

    Overall, I'm wondering what would be lost if you started from "The Land of Enchantment sounds great..." Do we need any of the information before that? What happens if that is the start of the book? Otherwise, I'd rather start with the character's initiation into the new place or start once he's been there for the seven years. Possibly. Do we need the information from the first paragraph? When I first read through, I liked how it all worked together, but the second reading made me wonder if we really need that there. Are we getting too much telling going on, perhaps? This is an interesting conundrum for me, because while I like the opening, if I had to tell you where the character was or what he was doing, I realize nothing is grounding me to the setting or character. I'm intrigued by the setup and his motivations, but I'm still distantly removed.

    Things I liked:
    • voice
    • intriguing setup

    • I'm totally drawing a blank on concerns, so job well done!!