Wednesday, January 13, 2010

16 Secret Agent


Dirt kicked up behind dad’s truck. I stared straight ahead as we
passed a pasture. The truck bounced over the rivets in the gravel
drive, sending me flying up against the ceiling. Dad had been meaning
to get the seatbelts fixed. It was one of the things on his “To Do”
list. There were a lot of things on dad’s list.

A man in denim overalls and a red plaid shirt waited next to a fence.
He saw dad’s truck approach and waved a hand. Dad put the truck in
gear and turned off the engine.

“Dan Sarver?”


“I’m Rick Conner, I’m glad you could come out today. We’re running out of meat.”

I got out of the passenger door and met dad on his side. Rick looked
at me, his brow wrinkled and he looked back at dad. I stared at the

“This is my daughter, Bryn Sarver. She’s my assistant.”

Rick laughed. “Assistant?”

“Yup, she helps me out on the field. A man can’t do this by himself.”
Dad unhitched the back of the truck. The lift lowered to the ground
and the doors swung open leading to the cooler. Metal hooks hung from
the ceiling. The refrigeration sent a chill into the already cold air.
A cow mooed in the background and I tried not to look. I hated
looking. Dad returned with a rifle. He tossed me a pair of blood
stained gloves. “Ready Bryn?”

I followed him out to the field.


  1. I'm feeling a little squeamish with this already, but you've got a strong voice and a compelling setting. One thing I'm missing here is Bryn's thoughts and feelings about all this. We're nicely in her POV, but I have no idea if she's happy, sad, glib, terrified, etc. That should color her thoughts and descriptions and be all over this page.

  2. I think this is okay but I'm not sure I found anything in it to hook me. I feel like it is missing the MC's voice.

    I liked the first line until I read the second. How does she know that dirt is kicking up behind the truck if she is looking straight ahead?

    Also, I'd be careful making comments about other character's POV. For example, you should probably say that dad had been saying he would get the seatbelts fixed (she can't know what he means to do).

  3. Interesting setting, well laid out and easy to picture. I also wanted a little more insight into the mc's character. Since a story question isn't raised, the reader's interest will rise or fall based on connection to the character.

  4. This started out too slow for me. It didn't catch my attention until the second to last paragraph. I would be more interested if it started with, "Dad returned with a rifle. He tossed me a pair of blood stained gloves. 'Ready Bryn?'" Those lines would hook me immediately.

  5. I liked this so far. Set me up mildly and then boom got out a rifle. I would like to know, however, what Bryn was thinking about the job ahead.

    I disagree with one crit on the seatbelts issue. I think she'd know that her dad had been meaning to fix the seats. If Bryn is his assistant, sounds like they're hanging togethere quite a bit. If her dad makes a "to do" list, he seems the type who does so by verbally saying, "gotta fix the seatbelts" and then forgets to do it. That's just the feeling I got.


  6. First off, I love the title. The first paragraph starts off really strong, but it seems to dwindle a little. I'm interested to know what this story is all about, and I'm not getting a sense of that from this excerpt. Overall, very interesting, curious to see where the story goes.

  7. As soon as I read "We're running out of meat," I thought this was going to be dark and gruesome. You got me there.

    And I agree 100% with Secret Agent on this one. Get in some of Bryn's thoughts, emotions, reactions. Not too many. I'm guessing you don't want to give too much away until they actually get in the field?


  8. This line stuck out at me: "He saw dad’s truck approach and waved a hand." -- It pulls us out of the MC's POV to describe what someone else saw, and 'a hand' is unnecessary. I'd change the sentence to just: He waved.

    Not sure I'd keep reading because of the subject matter, but overall it's nicely written.

  9. The writing is really well done, as others have mentioned, and I'll agree that a bit more emotion/thoughts would be nice. I did wonder though, is he going to kill the cow with the shotgun? That doesn't strike me as how they normally do that kind of thing (and I live in cowboy country...).