Wednesday, August 19, 2009

21 Secret Agent

TITLE: A Kestrel Rising
GENRE: Womens Fiction

“Is it the Germans, Ilke?”

The low thrumming of an engine broke the afternoon silence, growing louder until the plane burst from beyond the trees with a roar that had Ilona and her sister scrambling for cover. Aislinn clung to her arm as they ducked behind the low wall of the terrace

Ilona gripped the warm brick, her fingernails dug into the moss as the ground trembled. The noise reverberated through her bones. “I don’t think so. I think there’d be more than one plane.” She glanced up as the plane swept into a banking curve above the house. It was low enough that she could see the RAF roundels on the underside of its elliptical wings and she took a deep breath. “It’s all right. It’s one of ours.”

“Are you sure?” Aislinn’s voice quivered.

“Yes, I’m sure.” She stood up, her fear gone, and shielded her eyes against the glare of the afternoon sun. “How beautiful!” It seemed impossible to her that it came from a factory. The slender fuselage and upswept wings were something that nature would fashion. It echoed the shape of the kestrel that rose, screeching, out of the woods in pursuit of the intruder. Ilona watched the bird for a moment and wished she could fly with it, to follow the plane and chase off the enemy that waited in the east. She was twenty, old enough to volunteer.

“Bloody cheek,” Aislinn declared as the plane straightened and launched into a steep, fast climb.


  1. I'd keep reading. I could feel the antcipation when the plane went over. The unusual names of the girls seemed to fit the story.

  2. She was twenty, old enough to volunteer <- Plenty old enough, considering that teenagers and children did their share of volunteering. Well, teenagers were enlisted and fighting in the war. I wouldn't think age was be what was holding her back. Maybe family or something else...

  3. Hooked! I'd certainly ask for more.

  4. I usually love books set during either of the World Wars, but this excerpt is confusing.
    I would like to know what part of the UK this is set. The names suggest Wales? Scotland? If it was Scotland though, the threat would be coming from the south.
    What is the last word of the first sentence? Is it Aislinn's pet name for her sister Ilona, or the word, 'like'?
    Is the kestrel in pursuit of the plane?
    It sounds as if they're in the countryside, so wouldn't a twenty-year old woman already be in the WLA if she wasn't working in a factory, etc.?

  5. Genre: historical woman's fiction
    Title: Adore it
    250 words: a strong yes, assuming we are heading into a female pilot in the 40's.

  6. I'd put the first line of dialogue, after the first paragraph, so the question comes after they see the plane, and it would also put the question closer to Ilke's answer.

    I had imagined them in a Scandinavian or Germanic country because of their names, and then one of them says 'bloody cheeky,' which made me think they were in England, so maybe clear up the setting.

    But I'm hooked. I know the time period, I have a sense of where it's going, I know more about the MC than I could ever learn from a physical description, and the writing is where it needs to be.

    I'd feel confidant that if I asked for more, I wouldn't be disappointed. The best of those I've read so far.

  7. Great excerpt. I would definitely read more. Great sensory details and wonderfully compact way of getting the MC's personality across in very few words.

    I had a little of the name confusion too - my eyes actually read "Ilke" as "like."

  8. I love the time period, and Ilona sounds interesting. I'd give her a shot. Hooked.

  9. I'm confused. The names don't sound German but British. I'd assumed this was historical (WWII), but the woman wanting to volunteer made me think maybe this was actually futuristic? Especially considering how the character compares the plane to a bird--the dogfighting planes of WWII weren't particularly bird-like IMO.

  10. Best version of this opening that I've read yet! I get a great sense of Ilona real fast.

  11. I like the voice of this very much. There's a nice sort of softness to it, like it *feels* like the countryside while the country is at war. And I got the comparison of the plane to the bird right away. Very well-done.

    I have all kinds of good questions about where this might be going. Like will she be a pilot? I'd love it if she became a pilot.

    All in all, I'd read on, and think this is a great start.

  12. I really like this start. There are some great sensory details, and you weave them so well into the scene. I'm curious about whether Ilona will become a pilot as well, and where this is going. I'd definitely read on!

  13. I like that this jumps right into the action. It makes me question what's going on from the getgo. It has a romantic feel to it, like a classic movie. I really enjoyed this one!

  14. This is really lovely, and I'd keep reading and probably also request 50 pages. It was miscategorized as women's fiction though. This is definitely historical fiction, even though it may focus on women's issues.

  15. I love this, can see it as a Merchant Ivory film. Good job! My favorite of all your revisions.

  16. Also, Ilka or Ilke are common abbreviations of the name Ilona in Germany but I never knew they were used in GB, too.

    I liked this a lot (in spite of being German). I'd definitely read more.

  17. I really loved this one. The history, the feel. I want more!!

  18. Absolutely loved it! Would read more in a heartbeat! Well done!