Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Secret Agent #30

TITLE: Truths in the Treetops
GENRE: YA contemporary with paranormal elements

Sultry heat scorches my skin as I shuffle down the hill with Asha, the hot breeze offering no relief. I’m half way to the bottom, my sneakers thwacking against the grass, when a chill skitters down my spine and settles in my bones. I stop in my tracks. And shiver. Like I’m gripped by fever or the flu. Riddled with goosebumps and shaking like a leaf, my teeth chatter. It’s a blistering August day in Bucks County and suddenly, I’m freezing.

Asha jerks her head in my direction. She reaches over and touches my arm. “Gabby, you okay? Geez, you have goosebumps all over your arm.” 

“Yeah, no. I just got this crazy chill. Like a blast of cold air went right through me.” I sigh. “Must be the heat. I’m delirious.”

“Or it’s a ghost,” Asha says with a straight face. “You know a lot of the old Victorian houses around here are supposed to be haunted. I wouldn’t be surprised if these woods are too.” She shrugs. “I didn’t feel anything, though.” She snorts and elbows me. “Maybe this ghost has a thing for you.”
I purse my lips. “Like I said, it’s probably just the heat.”

I don’t want to entertain the idea of a ghost ‘having a thing for me’. I didn’t sleep for a whole month three summers ago after watching The Sixth Sense at Emma’s house, thinking there were ghosts walking among us.


  1. I really like the atmosphere and the dialogue in this one! It's both engaging and realistic (well, the dialogue, I mean). The only critique I can offer is that the paragraph that begins with "Or it's a ghost," seems a little disjointed with all the breaks in Asha's dialogue. I would suggest limiting it to one or two actions between speech instead of the three that you have.

  2. I found this intriguing. I think your description of her being suddenly cold went a little long. You could probably remove the mention of goosebumps, for starters, since you have her friend point out that she has them. This feeling will probably happen multiple times in the book. Maybe you want to save some of the describing factors for those instances. Just a couple and we get that she's suddenly very cold and wonder why. Otherwise, a nice start. :)

  3. I really like the dialogue in this. It's fun and realistic. I agree about shortening the first paragraph. Also, maybe try starting with "it's a blistering August day in Buck's County, and suddenly I'm freezing." It's a little more grounding, and immediately adds intrigue. Good start!

  4. I agree, the first paragr could be much shorter. Pick and choose and reduce. The whole piece flows and draws me right in and the dialogue is natural. Good job! Oh, also, I keep thinking of The Sixth Sense. Was that scary enough to cause someone to lose sleep over? Great movie, though.

  5. Your description and dialogue is well done! I agree that Asha's bit about the ghosts feels a little stilted and the first paragraph could be shortened. What feels missing is the setting. Asha mentions old Victorian houses. Describing those could both draw the reader in and help give that spooky, otherworldy feel.

  6. This one jumps into things a bit too quickly. I'm still too far removed from the reading to be feeling anything the author is suggesting. I liked the Victorian house mention, though. Maybe if you pull back and create the atmosphere a bit more and then work us up to the point on the hill. As it is, as a reader I'm being told what the character is experiencing, I'm seeing another character react to it, but I'm not feeling sympathetic nor as if I'm experiencing it. That's not to say it wouldn't give goosebumps to someone else, but for me, I usually need that atmosphere fleshed out first. :)