Wednesday, August 27, 2008

#16 SECRET AGENT Are You Hooked?

GENRE: Thriller

"I am not going to die. I am not going to die." She muttered the words over and over like a protective mantra as she felt her way through the inky blackness.

That was what she kept telling herself. That was what she'd been telling herself for days now. She wasn't sure how long she'd been imprisoned in this basement. It was too dark to determine the passage of time, but she knew it had been days.

"I am not going to die." It was what she'd told herself every time she'd heard him come for her. Every time he'd touched her, hurt her. It was what she'd told herself every time he left her in the darkness, alone, cold and hungry. It was what she'd told herself, when she'd felt his eyes on her, watching her, even when it seemed she was alone. It was what she'd told herself when she'd awoken from the dream that she was safe and warm in her own bed, to find out that she was still a captive in the windowless, dank, rotting, place.

"I am not going to die."

She'd fought back. The blood flowing from her palm proved it. Even though she couldn't see the cut, she knew she was bleeding badly. The metallic scent of her own blood made her empty stomach lurch. She swallowed down the bitter bile that rose in her throat. She'd hurt him, she was sure of it. Otherwise he would have caught her by now.


  1. There's a lot of passive voice and telling going on in this scene. This could be a very powerful opener using a more aggressive tone/approach.

    No for me. Sorry.

  2. Not for me either sorry. I like the premise but I got fed up of the- it was what she told herself.
    The passive 'was' really stands out in this section and I think you could rewrite with much more strength.

    I also didn't quite get what was happening at the end. I thought she'd been imprisoned and was trapped by someone who was 'doing things to her' but at the end when you said - he'd have caught her by now - it implies she isn't captured at all but hiding?? I wasn't clear.

  3. hmmmm, the 'I'm not going to die' part got me excited. But then for some reason the back-story/telling part made me feel a little less in the moment. Maybe if something was happening NOW while she was imprisoned I'd get more into it.
    partially hooked.

  4. The passive voice and the mantra grated on me a bit. "inky blackness" is so cliche.
    It could be a sinister opening, but isn't yet. Like Flick, the last paragraph confused me. are they both trapped in a large dark labyrinth, and he's chasing her?
    Not for me.

  5. No- I like thrillers but this doesn't grab me. I don't love the character.

  6. Unfortunately, this was a miss for me. This is actually a theme I get a lot, a Kiss the Girls kind of thriller with terrorized women captive but not compliant. Because of its commonality, this theme has to be executed with scalpel sharpness in order to be a standout and this one just didn’t get there for me. I also struggled with the stage being set in a basement but then the “he would have caught her” line implies she is someplace with enough roving room to stay a step ahead of her captor…this is unclear and if it is a massive labyrinth it is much more terrifying to reveal that in the narrative rather than attempt to build tension with the repeating mantra.

  7. A no here. Too repetitive. She keeps telling herself over and over and over... Sorry. I think you can get across the idea that she survived much more succinctly than this.

  8. No, I'm sorry...

    I like to know who the characters are by the second paragraph. Probably just me though...

  9. On an intellectual level, I get the repetition of "I'm not going to die," but I didn't fully buy into it. I'd cut it down a little bit and use it more as an anchor at the beginning and end rather than as scaffolding all the way through.

  10. I'm on the fence. I think I'd read to the end of the chapter at least, just to see if we move out of her internal world into the physical one.

  11. I like thrillers, but this is too passive for an opening. I want to feel her fear, her environment. I'd start her in the dark, feeling her way around. Where is she now? Have her describe it through touch, smell, sound. Then mutter "I'm not going to die."
    Get me into the scene with a chill. I want to be scared. Not told that someone else is scared.
    I think it has great potential. so work on it a bit and I hope to see it on a shelf in my local bookstore one day.
    Good luck.

  12. This is interesting writing, but it failed to pull me in. I couldn't identify with whoever "she" is.

    At first, I had a sense that "he" came and went at will. But in the final paragraph, he somehow was unable to catch her. Confusing.

    I'm not hooked.

  13. Not hoooked.

    The premise is interesting, but these 250 words don't really show much about the story in the current situtation. Everything had already happened, and there was nothing to see.

    Aside from that I'm a bit wary on the subject matter. I don't know if 'she' is a woman, a teenager, or a girl. I think you need to make that clear.