Thursday, November 13, 2008

27 SECRET AGENT: Are You Hooked?

TITLE: Ecklar’s Curse
GENRE: YA Fantasy/Science Fiction

A high-pitched scream filled the air and at the same time Ally’s horse disappeared from under her. She crashed down onto the wet sand and all air burst from her lungs. Long seconds passed before she sat up. With her back to the ocean, she wrapped her arms around her waist, and willed the air back into her lungs. As she took a deep breath, the smell of salty seawater energised her.

Shrewdy snorted and backed away toward Mount Grief.

A woman's scream had filled the air, but she and her mare were the only females on the beach. Ally knew she hadn't screamed.

An odd sensation played along her backbone and she turned around. She gasped.

A large saltwater crocodile floated in the water only metres from her leg.

Water splashed up as Ally fell sideways onto her bottom. Her heart beat fast and loud. Instead of enlarging the distance between them, her left leg jerked closer to the beast. Animals can smell fear. Without taking her eyes of the salty, she tried to scramble back like a crab but her legs wobbled out from underneath her. The dark grey reptile planed closer.

As if in a trance, Ally sank into the watery sand. She knew her mouth was open; she tasted salt on her tongue. The crocodile moved ever nearer with the tide. Why didn’t her body listen to her frantic orders to move? Closer and closer, the wide snout approached.

11 comments:

AC said...

Ooh, scary! This is good.

One nitpick: how does Ally know she and her horse are the only ones on the beach? Maybe insert a sentence somewhere along the lines of "Ally glanced around; she and her mare were the only ones on the beach."

But I'd definitely read on -- I want to know what happens!

Anonymous said...

Sorry but I think this one still needs some work.

>>Long seconds passed before she sat up.

Long seconds of what? Is she hurt? Checking herself for injuries? Is she trying to clear her head, figure out where the scream came from, hoping her horse is okay?

>>A woman's scream had filled the air, but she and her mare were the only females on the beach. Ally knew she hadn't screamed.

I don't think you need this--it's pretty much understood.

>>Instead of enlarging the distance between them, her left leg jerked closer to the beast.

Sug. increasing instead of enlarging.

>>Without taking her eyes of the salty, she tried to scramble back like a crab but her legs wobbled out from underneath her.

OFF instead of OF? and Salty what?

Also...I'm no expert but what salt-water beaches have crocodiles? Is she in Florida? Or another part of the world I"m not familiar with. Try to set the scene a bit--you don't need much but I think some would definitely help.

Good ending hook!

Windsong said...

Sorry, no. :) Part of what pulled me out is that there seemed to be two screams, but it felt as though they were treated as the same, to me. I think, for me, there's just not enough detail or story here to pull me in.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Nice try but it still needs work. There are number of great books on editing fiction, you might want to study them. It would have also helped to have someone else read it first to notice the silly errors we all make.

Sponge said...

Hm.... I'm trying to figure out where the horse went....

Did she get bucked off or thrown over the horse's head... ?

Sarah Erber said...

I like this, but it seems like there are a few grammar mistakes, and a few sentences need to be tightened up.

It needs work, but I'm still hooked!

Marilynn Byerly said...

This is fantasy so I assumed, at first, that the horse literally disappeared since you gave no sense of what happened. Did the horse trip and fall on its front legs, and she pitched over its head? Did it rear and dump her?

You need to get into her head and stay there. See what she sees and feel what she feels.

Dale said...

Thanks, ac, I’m glad you were worried, lol.

Hey, anonymous, thanks for the suggestions and you know I never thought about making it plain the setting is Australia up front but can see I should.

That’s okay, windsong and stina, thanks for taking a look anyway.

I can see where you might be confused, sponge and Marilynn, and yeah the horse shied. That’s what horses do they’re there one minute and gone the next.

You’re right, sarah, it does need a lot of work but thanks for saying you were hooked.

meradeth said...

I liked the tension in this, but kept being pulled out of the story for one reason or another (like "lungs" twice in the opening). If I had liked the premise from the back of the book, I might read on as I love YA fantasy.

Lori said...

Interesting set up, but the bit about the scream confused me. Also, some of the word choices you use threw me a bit. For example, The dark grey reptile planed closer. sound like a POV switch to me.

Secret Agent said...

Needs a lot of work. Clumsy prose and awkward sentence construction makes it difficult to really follow the action.