Wednesday, January 13, 2010

32 Secret Agent

TITLE: The Plains of Purgatory
GENRE: YA Paranormal

“Alexandra…” My name rippled out of the darkness, making my heart stutter within my chest. The eerie voice was laced with a cruel edge of taunting as he called for me over and over, like we were playing some sort of twisted game of hide and seek. I wanted to run, but the sound reverberated from every direction, leaving me with no way to know which way to go. I was trapped; the darkness and shadows standing between me and the one that was out there stalking. But I knew that even that one grace would not protect me for very long. So I could only wait, bracing myself for what was coming.

“There you are,” he hissed in pleasure. The voice became a whisper at my ear, and the fear of having it so close froze me inside. I could feel his hot breath on my neck, but there was no one there to run away from. “The game is over,” he crowed. “You’re mine.”

“What do you want?” My voice quivered as I forced the words out one by one.

“You don’t want to know, young one.” I could hear the smile in his voice. He was enjoying this more than even the most twisted person should, which made me cringe with disgust.

“Leave me alone,” I demanded finally, scraping together the one ounce of courage I had left. But screams shattered out of the darkness; the sudden outcry hit me hard like a punch to the stomach. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t cry. I couldn’t throw up. So I was left just to listen.


  1. This feels a little too melodramatic. We're told but not shown enough. Also, I don't have any idea what's happening--who she is, who's chasing her, why, where, how. Some of this can be revealed slowly, but right now there's too much I don't know for it to hook me in.

  2. I'm a little bit curious about what's going on here, but the writing isn't drawing me in enough to want to keep reading. I think one of the problems is the repeated descriptions of the voice. It just felt like this dragged on too long with you saying the same thing over and over again with different words. I got that there's a creepy voice in the first sentence, now I want to see something else happen.

  3. You've got a nice way with description.

    This could use some tightening. Your descriptions are great, but perhaps handing them out a bit more sparingly would help with the pacing.

    Pat Conroy has a great way with description and generally moves the story forward at a nice clip, though I must say I get tired of his descriptions after awhile.

    It's a fine line to walk.

  4. Not much to add that wasn't said above.

  5. Not hooked. There's a little too much excitement here for the first page. I don't really care about Alexandra just yet, and I have no idea where she is or what's chasing her.

    Also, the last few sentences of the first paragraph seemed a bit clunky and unclear (i.e., "I was trapped; the darkness and shadows..."). First she's trapped by the darkness and shadows, but then the next sentence suggests they're protecting her. Which is it?

  6. I feel like the main character is about to wake up and I'm going to find out this is a nightmare.

    I'd read on a little further, but soon I'd want to know where this is and why the main chacter is there.

  7. Not hooked. I'm not sure why though. It just seems slow and I don't care enough about Alexandra to want to keep reading. The other problem is that your dialogue is drowned out with descriptions. That's also slowing things. Makes me wonder if the rest of the book is like that.

    By the way, you can cut out 'within my chest' after 'my heart stutter'. Where else would the heart be? That's kind of redundant.

    You could also break the first paragraph up a bit more.

    Good luck!

  8. I feel that there's a bit of overwriting going on in here, which detracts from the tension and slows the pacing down too much, IMHO.

    Ex: making my heart stutter within my chest is overwriting, because where else would her heart stutter if not in her chest?

    The set up seems interesting, so maybe start this half-way through what's posted here, and trim down as many extraneous words as possible.

  9. I really enjoyed this, and though I can see where the other's comments are coming from, I would read on because I want to know what's happening :)

  10. Where is she? Knowing that, and some description of that rather than the voice, could make this much stronger. Adding bits of weather (if she's outside) or maybe lighting (if she's inside) would help set a mood and tone.

    All the description about the voice becomes tedious, and I too, was waiting for her to wake up from a dream. (I hope it's not a dream.)

    You could also change the passive writing (I could feel, I knew) to more active writing. We know she's the one feeling and knowing. Cut those kinds of phrases.

    I could feel his breath on my neck

    could be

    His hot breath ---- my neck (insert a word to convey the feeling or image you want to express.)

    First person lends itself to telling, so you have to work extra hard at showing.

  11. I second what patesden said: it feels like within a page or two, we'll learn this is a dream.

  12. It's probably a great story, but I would like to know where Alexandra is and a little more about her in the first 250 words.

    You wrote it well, but maybe add where she is. I would read on to find out more though.