Wednesday, August 19, 2009

4 Secret Agent

TITLE: Intrusion
GENRE: Romantic Suspense

Cameron Scott hated the F word.

No, not that F word. Lately, he used that one with increasing frequency and never thought twice. It was the other that made him break into a cold sweat.


The word rippled through him with a shudder as he swung from the wrought iron fire escape and onto the roof of Nanodyne’s main laboratory. The thick tread of his shoes masked the echo of his footsteps. The only sound was the steady ticking of his Aviator watch—a gift from his XO on his medical discharge from the Special Forces.

Had the chief understood how it pained Cam to listen to the seconds pass by—the seconds he’d never again get back, the minutes of his life that seemed ever more pointless—the XO probably would have rethought the choice of going away present.

Still, Cam supposed he was the foolish one. He couldn’t bear to hide the small remaining connection to his A-team away in his sock drawer.

His days with the Special Forces were done. Kaput. Over. But once he successfully completed this job, the government would realize he was more than capable of handling large security contracts, like the last one they’d turned him down for solely based on his disability. His left knee popped with an audible crack, cramping in protest as he stuck the tension wrench between his teeth and bent to the deadbolt.

Disability, his a**.

His shattered knee did not define him.


  1. Nice job - though you did have me cringing with the knee. My knees and hips are bad....

    Just one thing -

    "Lately...and never thought twice." <- I kinda squinted at that one, because it makes him seem prudish or something. A lot of guys I know use the F-word and never think twice about it.

  2. If he'd been in any sort of special forces then he'll be swearing his head off all the time I'd imagine.

  3. So far so good. :) I like his stubborn character and the bit about the watch. It's not my genre of choice, but if handed this, I'd keep reading for a bit to give it a try.

  4. Not hooked- mostly because in the beginning it sounds like he's about to do something exciting, sneak into somewhere he's not supposed to be and then he starts reminiscing about his watch. It pulled me out of the story. I would recommend jumping right into the action and saving some of this background info for later.

  5. Not hooked. For the exact reason Valerie gave. You start of with an exciting moment, then wander into several other directions. I don't care about his watch or his knee or the chief. At this moment, I want to know what he's doing and why. It might be best to stay in that moment.

    Another problem was writing that doesn't work. The word failure is rippling and shuddering thru him. Perhaps he shuddered at the word? The tread of his shoe masks an echo. It doesn't mask the echo, it prevents the echo. His shoes aren't making noise so there is no echo, so why mention it? The words you're writing aren't saying what you want them to say. Perhaps think more about your word choices and sentence structure?

    And you've wandered off into the chief's POV in the 'Had the chief understood' paragraph.

    It worked best in the few scenes where you let Cam be Cam. Disabilty my ass, says much more about your character than all his reminiscing.

  6. I'm with Valerie. Too much backstory right when you were about to do something exciting.

    Everything from "Had the chief understood--" to "sock drawer" could be moved to a later part of the story, imo.

    Does the watch play an exceedingly important part in this scene of the story? Is "he couldn't bear--" supposed to be foreshadowing? If not, it doesn't need to occupy so much of his thoughts when he's trying to complete this important, life-changing job. I understand that you are trying to develop character here, but I'd rather get that from his actions at this time, not because he decided to wear a watch.

    Other than that, it seems like you have a pretty interesting character and story here, with a good opening line. Good luck.

  7. The writing flows well. I'd take the advice of the others about moving the backstory a bit later. Get us hooked first.

  8. I know others felt there was too much backstory - I disagree. This has a very Nora Roberts feel to it, and for that reason, I slipped comfortably into your writing style. I liked it. I'd read more.

  9. I like the F word part - nice set up. You could speed it up a bit, there are some good comments above, but I like your story so far. I like the voice. Your last 2 lines would definitely keep me reading.

  10. Good set up, but it kind of goes downhill from then. I'm with Valerie.

    I could see the second half of this being the opening of the next chapter, or something of the sort, when he's looking back on the exciting thing that hooks us completely.

    I would keep on reading to give it a try, but I'd be reading with disappointment and you would have to really impress.

  11. I got a great feel for your stubborn, wounded character right away. I feel like the backstory was an important part of why he is doing what he's doing, so it needed to be there.
    I'd keep reading!

  12. I liked it!

    I was a bit thrown by XO and it's lack of a definition, but I enjoyed the writing and voice.

  13. I like this. It has a good voice behind it. I like his stubborn nature. It says much about a character. First line- love it. I'd definitely read on because this is just the kind of hero I'd want to read about. I thought that the back story needed to be there... to be honest. It can't be all go go go without some kind of information to say why that is (if I'm making any sense ;p)

  14. Semi hooked. The character and set-up (something to prove) seem interesting. The writing needs a little sifting though.

    In the "The word rippled through him..." paragraph there seem to be a few too many adjectives. Do we need to know it's a wrought iron fire escape? Does just calling it a fire escape suffice? Do we need to know it's an Aviator watch? When we find out it's a gift from his XO of a Special Forces unit, we can assume what kind of watch it is.

    Also the echo of his footsteps tripped me up because I didn't realize he was walking--I expected the thick tread to mask the echo of his landing.

    In the sentence, "He couldn't bear to hide the small remaining connection to his A-team away in his sock drawer," the writing clunked for me. Maybe he couldn't bear to "file it away" or "hide it," but I wouldn't use the phrase "hide it away."

  15. Semi-hooked. I really like Cam and would keep reading. I also like having some of the background information but you might consider sticking with what he's thinking, feeling (his knee), and hearing (watch) while he's working and give the reader the background after he's completed the job -- if he completes the job. Also, I wouldn't mind not knowing that this is a legitimate job and instead leaving the option open, at least initially, that he's breaking in illegally. I agree with the comment that this is Nora Roberts-like, an author whose romantic suspense I really enjoy.

  16. Love the opening line. The first page reveals a lot about Cam's character and his backstory, but I've yet to get into the plot. Why is he worried about failure, other than his medical discharge from the Special Forces? He's an intriguing character, but I want to launched into the story. I might read a bit more to see why we learn so much about Cam at the beginning, but only for another page or so.

  17. I liked this. I know there was a bit of telling and backstory, but I thought it was done well enough not to matter. You'd want to get back to the action at hand in the next sentence though.

  18. I've read this submission before, I believe last year some time. I actually thought the opening was quite strong at the time, and I'm pretty sure I requested a partial or a full. The writer has great command of language and story. Overall, a very strong beginning. I loved meeting this hero and being in his p.o.v., and I loved that he had a flaw to make him more human.