Wednesday, September 9, 2009

15 Secret Agent

TITLE: Neanderthals, Wolves, and Us
GENRE: Science Fiction/Fantasy



Genius Arny couldn’t control himself.

His mom and dad argued so loud about him, a grizzly bear might stop by to complain. Arny stilled like a statue in the blind-black outside their tent trying to understand. Were it not his thirteenth birthday he guessed, there’d be no hike alone tomorrow with pretty Terry of rounded face and bottom.

Whoosh. A strafing hunter’s wings stole the boy’s breath, and established who’s boss at night on the Rocky Mountain plains.

What a hoot, he joked to himself.

He remained standing, surrounded by creepy night sounds, that owl hooting away, not too distant cracking branches, thrilled by the dangers. At a distance, a wolf howled followed by the rest of the pack. Arny’s heart ached from the sorrow in their song. He felt one with them, powerful, alpha, and he would act that way. The boy tiptoed away from the tent to the camp perimeter, cocked his head, and let out a little howl. He rejected his mom’s concerns and stiffened in the cool night air, determined to do what any self respecting wolf would do, if in his boots. It would happen tomorrow after he and Terry reached their cozy spot. Insatiable curiosity taunted his imagination.

Arny entered his pup tent big enough for his buddy, a sprawled out Old English Sheepdog. He tackled, cuddled, and fell asleep dreaming a favorite fantasy. He was early boy, stone and spear, running with wolves.

Free.

Well, mom and dad were cooking mammoth at the cave.

22 comments:

Keith Schroeder said...

Not hooked. I read it twice and have no idea what is going on.

Sarah Erber said...

I'd have to agree with Keith. Sorry.

Good luck, though!

JC said...

I enjoy the nuance in this entry. It doesn't state what age group is targeted,but younger readers might miss some of the subtlety. The "pup tent" paragraph could use some work, but in all I feel it works.

Catherine Kariaxi said...

"pretty Terry of rounded face and bottom" <- :O

I'm really confused about this. The kid doesn't sound like he's 13 years old.

Sara J. Henry said...

Sorry, I'm confused ...

There's too much here I don't understand:
*What were his mom's concerns?
*What is this hike alone with Terry? - a coming of age thing?
*He's going to mate with her? - is that what a self-respecting wolf would do?

I'm completely unclear as to the setting or era (past? present? future? alternate universe?).

Also not sure why a chunk of this is italic (although maybe that's just because someone forgot the "close italic" tag after What a hoot).

NDRichman said...

I'm afraid this confused me. I had to re-read it several times to understand.

I think you know exactly what you're trying to say. Approach it as a reader. You know nothing of the plot, the ending, or the characters. Write this as though you're 'grounding' your readers, giving them a platform to start

Keep it up. It looks like you have an interesting story here.

Barbara said...

I love the title and I like the idea, but I had to work too hard to get what you were saying. And even though I 'think' I know what you're saying, I don't 'know' if I'm right.

Perhaps work on making it clearer?

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy said...

The rounded face and bottom sounded discordant to me, too. I couldn't picture what was happening.

Locksley said...

Sorry about all the italics. Thery weren't supposed to be there. I was trying to program italics for two words only. "what a hoot"

RJayce said...

Yes, I like your voice and your sentences are powerful. Yes, you can certainly write. Unfortunately I have no idea what you're writing about

Locksley said...

Hi everybody,
Unfortunately for me, the explanation comes in the very next sentence past the 250. He's going to save a wolf pup, not mate a 13 yr old girl! (he likes her as a friend). I think I better make that clear a little earlier. All your comments are of great help.

Hannia said...

Not hooked, sorry.

I had to go back and check the genre of this because the first sentence made me think MG straight away. Also, the first paragraph sounds like you're trying too hard.

Even if you are explaining what's going on in the next 250 words, these 250 words don't make a lot of sense to me.

The transition from the first paragraph to the second sounds a bit jumpy to me (may just be my opinion).

This confused me, so I may be wrong, but if his parents are cooking mammoth, then this is set in cavemen time (can't remember name of that period :P). If this is the case, how would he know what an Old English sheepdog was. (I'm probably wrong here, but that's what it sounds like to me as a reader.)

Devon Ashley said...

Your sentences seemed so jumbled. Like the previous one had nothing to do with the one that followed. I found myself very confused...i'm still not sure what's going on.
Sorry.

Jeff said...

I'll be honest, I couldn't get past the title. Sorry.

Christina Farley said...

Not hooked. Sorry. I think it was the confusion I felt as I read it and then the last line realy did it in for me.

Krista G. said...

So I agree with everyone about the confusing elements, but I do think that this has potential. I actually really liked the last line, mostly because I like the idea of setting a story in prehistoric times (that's what I got out of the last line, anyway, so if your story isn't set in prehistoric times, you may want to revise). Of course, that begs the question of how we're reading this at all, since the prehistoric era is defined by its lack of written word...Hmm.

As far as the writing goes, just say it straight out instead of trying to be clever (i.e., the phrase "pretty Terry of rounded face and bottom" has got to go). Also, the phrase "stilled like a statue" doesn't work for me.

Secret Agent said...

I agree with Keith Schroeder: I don't know what's going on. Some of the sentences don't make sense, or flow easily. I'm not hooked.

rhea said...

I just wanted to point some areas where I was confused. We get so close to our stories, sometimes it's difficult to see why others don't understand. I'm no expert, but I'm here to critique, so here it goes:

"their tent(comma) trying" with no comma, the tent is trying not Arny.

"birhday(comma) he guessed there'd be no hike alone tomorrow with pretty Terry."

Is "rounded face and bottom" a description of her face and weight? If so, you don't need it until he sees her.

5th para was the most confusing for me. This is just an example to clarify the first lines:

An owl hooted. Leaves hissed and branches cracked. The hair at his nape prickled. Still, he remained standing, thrilled by the creepy night sounds and the threat of danger.

Put it in Arny's (your) voice. I'm sure you can tighten it more. The rest of the paragraph and story needs some clarification as well, especially his fantasy of running with wolves?

I hope this helps.

Your story sounds interesting. It just needs polishing.

pj schnyder said...

The impressions of wildlife are compelling, but the MC's focus seems to be a little disjointed.He can't control himself, but he can come to statue-like stillness. He thinks of Terry and their plans for the next day, but tackles and cuddles his Sheepdog.

A note:if the Sheepdog is real, wouldn't the dog be by his side, if not responding defensively to the proximity of wolves? Just a thought.

Overall, I like the imagery and especially the way you describe the owl, but I'm not getting a feel of sci-fi/fantasy from this and haven't been drawn all that much to the MC.

Not hooked.

Bron said...

I'm another confused person. I think you need to establish the setting and time here. I think he's a modern boy but I had to read the entry a few times to come to that conclusion. As one of the commenters above said, imagine you know nothing about this story. Give us a sense of place and who this boy is.

Cheryl S said...

Another vote for totally confused. This section goes from Wolves, OE Sheepdogs and Pup tents to worried parents cooking Mammoth.

Too much is happening here and I don't have anything to grasp onto.

Maybe this story needs to start in a different, slightly earlier place.