Wednesday, November 4, 2009

43 Secret Agent

GENRE: Young Adult

A rush of air sent my hair flying around my face. My skin tingled, the adrenaline high was addicting, and I needed more. So I cranked my wrist, increasing the gas to send me shrieking forward like a blur. Speeding through the trees on my boyfriend Colin’s new All Terrain Vehicle had officially become my new favorite pastime. I couldn’t have been happier that we could each ride our own. Reckless activities were my secret obsession. I loved anything fast and a little dangerous.

Roots from the ancient maple trees caused jarring bumps on the forest ground that bounced me around on the seat. Even though Colin told me to take it slow until I got the hang of riding the new ATV, I couldn’t control the urge for speed. I’d never been this high on the hillside before and really had no clue where I was, but I knew I couldn’t be far off the beaten trail.

Closing in on the top of the mountain, the ground began to flatten. I needed to turn around because I was well aware that this hill had a pretty sharp drop off. Attempting to slow down, I pressed the brake. Nothing happened. My momentum still propelled me forward. I squeezed with all my might, and still nothing. I was still going full speed ahead right toward the edge of the cliff. Sweat began to bead-up on my upper lip, I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t want to wreck Colin’s new toy, but I didn’t very well want to die either.


  1. I like the pictures you create of the ride, but what is story about?

    I'd need a clue to keep reading.

  2. To add on above, there isn't a sense yet of why the wild ride. I would be careful of using too many "very well" or "well verb" phrases. Why couldn't she control the urge for speed- or would it be better that she didn't want to control it (gives us an in to character motivation). High stakes lead in though. Hard to do in first 250 words.

  3. I'd keep reading. Could tighten a bit, but you've given us a good glimpse inside this character's head, and that's enough for me.

  4. Moderately hooked. I'd read more to find out what she decides to do.

    I did wonder how she knew so much about the top of the mountain, if she'd never been that high on the hillside before.

  5. Ditto that this feels like the sentences could use some tightening. As is, it's kinda slowing the pacing and dissipating some of the tension. Maybe focus just on the ATV hurtling toward the cliff, and not who it belonged to and the history of how it came to be in the MC's possession.

  6. I'm not sure where the story is going but I am curious to know what happens next. I like the title and I want to know how it fits into the narrative.

  7. Your MC sounds cool and I liked this. Two minor things: should you say 'addictive' instead of 'addicting'? And the sentence, "I couldn't have been happier that we could each ride our own' doesn't quite work for me. Are you trying to say he has two new ATVs, so she doesn't have to share? I wasn't sure and it tripped me up a little.

    I do want to know what happens at the top of the hill though!

  8. I dunno...I'm on the fence with this one. While I do like the character and the details you're giving, some of it feels a bit too forced.

    I'm not sure if this makes any sense, but I'd let things happen more organically, eg you have "The adrenaline high was addicting" -- first off, that should be "addictive" and second, that sentence could be WAY more interesting. "There was more adrenaline in my body than trees in a Brazilian rainforest. Still, I needed more." -- Don't do that, because it's obviously in my voice and it's a silly example, but even if you went with "adrenaline pumping through my veins" it would be more organic, really get me inside the character's head.

    Another thing is instead of just saying things will happen, why not just say they happen? increasing the gas to send me shrieking forward like a blur." With maybe a minor adjustment to the first sentence you could simply make this, "The gas sent me shrieking forward like a blur" -- though, personally, I'd make this line more in reference to the car.

    A side note, I really, really liked the last line of your first para. Might want to consider starting with that. It's a strong first sentence if you cut the "little".

    Hope my comment was at least slightly useful.

  9. Interesting. Not entirely hooked, though. Needs some tightening. I've always been told to search your manuscript for the weasal words. Like, "a little" "began to" . .. I read a few of those in these beginning paragraphs. Also, there seem to be a lot of WAS words in here too. I think with a little tightening this is an interesting piece.

  10. Moderately hooked. In light of the title, I'm interested to see what happens when she reaches that cliff, but if it weren't something unexpected, I probably wouldn't go much farther.

    One small thing that jerked me out of the narrative: calling it an all-terrain vehicle in the initial reference instead of just ATV. And even if she does spell out the entire acronym, I'm pretty sure it's not a proper noun.

  11. Not hooked.
    I suggest shorter paragraphs especially the first paragraph. That might create the hook needed, at least for me.

    If you introduce the drama of the third paragraph without the story telling of the first and second, that might pull me in quicker.

    The last sentence of your submission is awkward. I suggest starting over and come at the opening page from a different perspective. Not a different character, though. At this point, I don’t care enough about her to invest my time in discovering the outcome of her dangerous ATV ride.

    Keep trying! You have a voice and a good start.

  12. Hooked by the title and the YA voice. I would keep reading at this point.