Wednesday, September 9, 2009

4 Secret Agent

GENRE: Young Adult

My heart and feet pounded, as we raced through endless corridors.

‘Do you know where we are?’ I asked.

‘Of course I do. Left!’ Lerrin barked the order, then turned sharply, with Skyler and me following. ‘Right up ahead. Then follow my lead. We’ll need to be quick.’

‘What are you planning?’

‘Shut up and follow, Zander.’

‘There’s a security guard on our tail,' Skyler said. 'Your last stunt won’t hold him off forever.’

‘Right!’ Lerrin turned, barely losing speed, and we stumbled around behind him. Then he leapt in the air, grabbed a steel pipe above, swung up, kicked a panel out of the ceiling and used his own momentum to slide up into the chute above. By the time we ran underneath he was sliding the panel back into place. Disappearing.

I kept running, working out his plan as I went. The corridor was long, with a series of pipes running across the square-paneled ceiling at regular intervals.

Lerrin was a genius. Of sorts.

Skyler pointed to the next pipe. ‘You’re next Zander.’

‘Ladies first,’ I said.

‘Will you be okay?’

‘Just go,’ I said. I hated it when she started 'taking care' of me.

Skyler jumped and grabbed the next pipe, perfectly executing her swing. In seconds it was just me, and the corridor was rapidly getting shorter. I watched the next pipe approach. There were only two left. Two chances, and a dead end. The closer I got, the less inspired Lerrin’s genius seemed.


  1. I'm wondering if you are jumping too quickly into the moment.I'd like to get grounded a bit before things go all crazy. And the dialogue is too quick and jarring for me to start off on. Maybe if you gave me a better sense of where they are first, it would help.

  2. I'm on the fence on this one. I like the action, but feel a little like I would prefer a bit more set-up before plunging into the action here. A little more on why they are running away, where they are and who they are. I'm not a huge fan of starting off in the middle of a chase. That said, I'd most likely read on to get the answers to my questions.

  3. I don't know about this, I was kind of confused. But on the bright side, at least it starts out with some action!


  4. One nitpic straight off - I thought the title was "Skywalker". :O

    I was also distracted by editing points - keep in mind I'm editing my own work and I'm looking at things like 'barked the order, then turned sharply' and thinking about how that could be reworded. Also there were missing commas.

    Still - I like this and would want to read a little more.

  5. It needs some editing, and I wanted to know what they were running from, but I really enjoyed this.

    I would read more.

  6. It took me until the paragraph where Lerrin swung up to understand what was going on. Also, there seems to be a lot of new characters and I wasn't sure who the mc was until nearly the end. I think you might consider a little more explanation regarding why they're running.

  7. I don't know who they are or where they are, or what they are trying to accomplish, so I'm not forming any kind of attachment or interest in these people.

    You could get that info in easily enough in the first sentence - as we raced thru the endless corridors *of the Louvre* or wherever it is they are.

    Then the reader can make an assumption based on that info. Ah! They're art thieves. It's not confusing any longer.

    I also didn't feel any sense of danger or urgency. Maybe let us see the security guard chasing them, or hear his footsteps or shouts. Or if he's not chasing them because they've hindered him in some way, maybe we can hear him shouting for help.

    Not hooked.

  8. Starting mid action often can draw the reader in immediately. I would keep reading, partially to see if the following pages live up to the promise of this first one.

  9. Not hooked; I had a hard time following the action and didn't know the characters well enough to care about their plight.

  10. I'm confused but still intrigued. I would keep reading to see the point of the first scene.

  11. Would continue reading to find out what they're running from and what they've just done.
    You could maybe tighten up the beginning by removing all the directions. We don't need Lerrin to shout the directions, it's good enough to just show that he's leading and expects the others to follow

  12. Should the guy with the plan disappear first leaving the rest of the people to figure out what it was on their own -- or am I not reading something right here?

  13. I'm perfectly indifferent about this one. There's nothing here that really draws me in, but nothing that turns me off, either. I found the dialogue in the middle confusing; I wasn't always certain who was saying what.

  14. I thought you handled the action very well, which is extremely hard to do with an opening. I'd keep reading.

    Nice job.

  15. Felt a little choppy to me, and I wasn't totally clear on what was happening. Liked the narrator's voice, though.

  16. I liked this -- it reminded me of an opening scene from a film with people running and gasping bits of conversation. i also liked the MC's annoyance at the female character wanting to take care of him.

    I would want to know fairly soon the where and the why of it all.

  17. I'm not hooked by this one. There's just too many characters in the mix, they are unestablished, and that makes it hard to follow what's going on. While starting mid-action can be done well, in this case, the immediate dialogue just muddles things up for me.

  18. The excerpt here is too short to get a feel for whether this novel will be unique compared to others in the field, but the first 250 words are pretty good and I would definitely read on.

  19. Starting off with action is great.

    The short, quick sentences add to the pacing of the section and I like that.

    Maybe just a little hint of where they are in the first sentence would help ground me a tiny bit, but overall, I was hooked and would read on to see what happens.

  20. Hi, Author here.

    The manuscript originally had a 100 word prologue that establishes where they are (a space station), what's happening (they're participating in a dare) and the voice of the main character. I love it, but I had so many comments saying 'start on the action for young adult', that I took it out.

    I'm putting it back in!

    Thanks for all the feedback.