Thursday, July 17, 2008

#94 SECRET AGENT Are You Hooked?

TITLE: Legend of the Protectors
GENRE: Young Adult Urban Fantasy


You must be her. I heard the smooth, elegant voice in my mind before I saw the gorgeous woman step out of the woods. Her dark brown curly hair fell past her shoulders. Her black eyes focused on mine.

I swallowed hard. This was not good. She ran at me. Her strike sent shards of pain into my skull, knocking me down. The breath rushed out of me. My lungs ached.

Stand up. Her voice sounded in my head again. Let's see how wonderful you really are.

She kicked me as I tried to get up.

She tried to stomp my hand, but I caught her foot, throwing her off balance. I leapt to my feet. Kicking my feet up, I threw a roundhouse right into her face.

It felt like granite.

I roared as she stumbled.

She growled, looking back at me. Her eyes burned with fury.

I tightened up, stepping in with strikes left and right. My breath flowed.

Blocking every strike, she swung to one side and circled to her left, placing each foot deliberately.

Uninterested.

Unintimidated.

Her movements were smooth, controlled, her limbs flowing in perfect ribbons of motion.

My foot slammed into the ground as my ax kick missed.

She rounded into a crouch, sizing me up.

Be aware, my senses screamed.

My side ached as her steel elbow landed in my kidney.

I dropped to a split, thrusting my arms up as she double-backhanded dead air.

24 comments:

dlsmith411 said...

"You must be her." intrigued me - is the MC fulfilling a prophecy or something cool like that?

However, the rest of it didn't do much for me. I'd read on in real life, but for this contest I'd have to say the first 250 didn't hook me. Sorry!

Katie said...

No, I'm sorry.

I like the concept and admire your way of writing action/describing a fight. My problem is this might be too tight. You need to mix some narration and thoughtwork in between all those action sentences, I think.

ipgirl said...

Wow, I like this. I would keep reading since this fight has a very different feel from the ones I've read before. I'm very intrigued about who this woman is and why she's fighting and acting so weird about it.
Good job!

H. L. Dyer said...

Yes. Hooked. :)

RedDuck said...

I'm with you. I like that she could hear the voice in her mind, that was cool. And the fight scene is well done. I'd keep reading.

Karen Duvall said...

No, sorry. The writing is a bit flat for me. It felt like granite. I roared as she stumbled. She growled, looking back at me. I'm not there with the characters. There's nothing intriguing here, just a list of actions, and I don't care about either character because I have no sense of who they are. I need to be invested in them through their motivations for their actions to matter.

janedo3 said...

Maybe a bit more of the narrator's personality would give this snippet substance. Also, perhaps make the actions clearer. Like:

'I roared as she stumbled.'

Was that because she stumbled or because she felt like granite?

Captain Hook said...

I'd read on, but it needs more tightening.

Kate said...

I didn't really feel hooked. I had no idea who these two people were or why they were fighting, so it didn't draw me in.

sarahjen said...

Not that it helps me much for this contest, but I changed this a bit.

any better?

You must be her.
I heard her voice in my mind before she stepped out of the woods. Her brown curly hair fell past her shoulders. Her black eyes focused on mine.
I swallowed hard. This was not good.
She ran at me. Shards of pain rocketed my skull as she hit me, knocking me to the ground. The breath rushed out of me. My lungs ached.
Stand up. Her voice sounded in my head again. Let’s see how wonderful you really are.
Her foot flew at me as I tried to get up, but I rolled out of the way.
I caught her foot just before it would have crushed my hand, throwing her off balance. I leapt to my feet in time to throw a roundhouse right into her face.
I roared in pain. Was she made of granite?
She growled. Her eyes burned with hatred. Hatred toward me.
And I guess I couldn’t blame her.
Tightening up, I stepped in with strikes left and right. Controlling my breathing the best I could.
Blocking, she swung to one side and circled to her left, placing each foot deliberately.
Uninterested.
Unintimidated.
Her movements were smooth, controlled, her limbs flowing in perfect ribbons of motion.
My heel nearly cracked as it slammed into the ground when my ax kick missed.
She rounded into a crouch, sizing me up.
Be aware, my senses screamed.

tys said...

No, sorry.

I'm not into jumping into a fight straight up.

Who is the protag and why should I care? What's at stake? Why are they fighting? Where are we? What's the setting?

Too many questions for me, and the only answers I have is roundhouse rights and slamming feet.

Is the protag frightened? Confident? Confused? Angry?

Make me care please.

JMO. Maybe others will be engaged by the simple, clear action.

Good luck.

Lori said...

Afraid not. Though I like the idea of the woman's sudden appearance and the mind-speak thing, I agree with the earlier comments that the language is flat. It's like your MC is writing a book report about a fight he watched on TV, rather than actively participating in it himself. Sorry.

Alicia said...

Not for me. Reading about a fight does nothing to hook me. Since I know so little about the characters, I don't care who wins and have no emotional investment in the outcome. I think the impact would be greater if you started earlier in the plot.

Just_Me said...

Usually I like active openings and I don't mind being thrown into the middle of a fight but I feel very distant from the MC and despite the action I'm not compelled to read on. Sorry. Pass.

Half-Past Kissin' Time said...

This is an interesting piece of plot. One way it could be improved would be to change up the way your sentences begin; too many of them start with Her, She, or I. For example, instead of "She rounded into a crouch, sizing me up," say, "Sizing me up, she rounded into a crouch." You've got some good action going here!

fairchild said...

Not hooked.

Fight sequences are very tricky and this one seemed wooden and scripted. I am very nitpicky about girl fights and having one thrown in at the start before I get to know who's fighting and what for, was off-putting.

sarahjen said...

Thanks for all your comments. I've worked on it because of the common thread of oppinions. So it's improving. And I don't know if it helps y'all to know, it's a Preface. So the first chapter doesn't start this way.
But again, thanks!

cynicide said...

Sorry, not hooked. The fight scene is basically good (could use some tightening and shortening, IMO), but it didn't draw me in. Who are these characters, and why are they fighting? Maybe it's just me, but I'd prefer to see some kind of plot-advancing conflict at least slightly before the physical blows start flying. As things stand now, I have no clue what the story is about.

candycana said...

Sorry, but no. I don't get a feel for who she is, why I should care about her, or even if I should care about her. Lots of action, but so far, no story.

Someone growled. Is one of them a werewolf?

Beth said...

Hard decision for me. I'm leaning towards yes. I'm curious to find out exactly what's going on. Maybe you started a little too far into the story. It might be good to introduce the character first.

Best o' luck,

Beth

Merc said...

Not yet--but it's mostly a matter of not knowing quite enough about the narrator (I would like a bit more) to make me care.

I LIKE starting with a fight scene, but it's a balance, and I think while you're close, it needs just a touch more insight and explanation from the MC so we can understand what's happening (I'm more confused about who they are than anything).

Also, the sentences are a bit too choppy and structured the same, which makes it feel flat. If you vary it some more, I think it'll be good. :D

Good luck,

~Merc

Inkblot said...

Sentence structure and length variation would improve this a lot.

I'm with those that have said that the fight scene is and of itself isn't bad, but I really need to care about the MC before I see her in danger if I'm to identify.

secret agent said...

Yes based on the revised posted upthread and not quite on the original posting. I think adding in that extra bit of MC voice really makes it more engaging and I'd keep going--but a word of caution that a preface basically means you have to write two engaging first pages instead of one b/c it's usually tonally different from the preface. Food for thought; make sure the true first page is grabby too.

richard said...

Good first line.

However as a martial artist, I found the fight description ... lacking. Now I'm accused of making combat scenes too technical at times (fair enough) but I think this is possibly too far in the other direction. It reads almost like someone's diary entry in retrospect - no immediacy, no emotion, no passion or sense of danger.

So, not for me.