Thursday, November 13, 2008

11 SECRET AGENT: Are You Hooked?

Title: Her Nightmare
Genre: Thriller

"You've got to come home, Em."

Consumed by thoughts of the past, Emily barely registered the dark eyes right in front of her. Stomping on the brakes, she jerked the steering wheel in order to avoid hitting the deer frozen in the middle of the road.

Not for the first time that day, her stomach lurched and everything seemed to be happening in slow motion as she struggled to halt her inexorable slide off the road. Tires squealing in protest, the car careened wildly onto the gravel shoulder, bounced through a shallow drainage ditch, and crashed through a bank of trees, ultimately smashing into the sturdy trunk of an oak. The airbag deployed, smacking her in the face, knocking the breath out of her.

Gasping, it took her a moment to realize that the car had stopped moving. Batting away the airbag, she groped for the door latch, desperate to get out. Opening the door was not enough to free her. She was still pinned in place.

Panicked, she imagined it was his hands holding her down, trapping her. She could hear his voice whispering, "Shhh, Baby Doll." She could smell his breath laden with the sickeningly sweet scent of a cherry lollipop. It made her retch.

The action jerked her forward, the seatbelt cutting into her. It held her in place, not him. He wasn't here. It was just her mind playing a twisted trick on her.

That's what coming home did to her.


  1. *shudder* Dang. I'm not sure I'd keep reading as I can't stomach abuse stories, but your voice is definitely hook-ish.

  2. Um... I've run into deer before. Their eyes flash white in the headlights. ;[

    This is really cool though. I like<:

  3. I'd keep reading. It doesn't say, that I recall that it was night. Only the deer's eyes were dark. So I'm assuming it's day.

    I'm hooked.

  4. I think in the second paragraph, the second sentence needs to be broken into two or three separate sentences.

    Other than that ... hooked!

  5. Hooked--and I usually don't care for thrillers. You do a wonderful job at letting the reader be in the character's shoes.

  6. It doesn't say, that I recall that it was night. Only the deer's eyes were dark. So I'm assuming it's day


    Hee, well if it is day, then that's another ball of wax. You would see the whole deer (not just their eyes) - when you aren't totally focused, you immediately think there is a big dog running/moving along the road.

    By the time you get close enough to see their eyes, they are already trying to jump over your car, or you are bashing into them...

  7. I'm very hooked with this. The only thing that might strengthen it would be the first line. How was it said. It might be creepier if it were whispered or something like that.

    Otherwise, great job!

  8. Good set up, but I think there's too many words during the accident scene. The language feels heavy and takes away from the immediacy and urgency of the accident itself.

  9. I second Lori's thoughts.

    The third paragraph might feel more immediate if you shorten the sentences, and write in fragments instead of complete thoughts.


    ...Her stomach lurched. What once was too fast was now in slow motion. The car slid. Faster. Faster. She slammed her foot to the brake. Let out a scream. But the car continued, tires squealing in protest. Trees were suddenly before her, rushing to meet the windsheld. Where had they come from? "No!" she heard herself scream...

    That might be sucky, but you get the idea. Shorter, fragmented sentences will give it a sense of panic. You wouldn't want to write like that page afer page or you'll give people a headache, but...

  10. I wouldn't read on just because I'm afraid her father's abused her.

    It's well done, though. Riveting. Gives us a character to connect.

  11. I'd read on to find out what happens, who's done the abuse, etc. The only thing that jumped out at me was the first line of dialog. Who is saying that? Is there someone in the car with her? Is she on the phone? She's already on her way home, right? So is she just remembering the voice of someone telling her to come home? If so, who? Not the abuser, right? ...

    Other than that, great imagery.

  12. Hooked.

    Maybe the second sentence can read, "... Emily barely registered the bright eyes that appeared right in front of her." or somethng like that.

    I gotta go with Sponge... I am assuming it's night time, although it doesn't say for sure.

  13. Was this broad daylight? Deer eyes flash green or white in headlights. (Yes, I've hit one befoe, but it lived to tell the tale, thankfully.)

    Lots of tension, good pacing for the most part but you've really got to learn to vary your sentence structure more.

  14. I'd keep reading. The last line made a good hook for me.

  15. I personally don't know a thing about deer's, so it didn't jar me at all. I like how I'm right there int he characters shoes. I can agree the action part to be tightened just a little more to keep the urgent pace, but other than that honestly, it's solid and I'd keep reading even though thriller's aren't my gig.