Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November Secret Agent #11

TITLE: Sector C
GENRE: Near-Future Thriller

Vikram Shankar squinted down the long metal barrel. Framed squarely in the sight, not two hundred feet away, the white tiger sat on its haunches, its lower jaw drooping, ribs rippling under a mat of chocolate-striped fur.

A sweet shot.

Vikram's right finger closed over the trigger. He inhaled slowly, deliberately. Too seasoned a hunter to let the thrill overcome judgment, he took his time, savoring the anticipation.

The nasal whounk-ing of a snow goose flying overhead pricked the big cat's ears, and the heavy-set head swung toward the sound. With pounding heart, Vikram exhaled.

The sight bead wavered. He glanced down, and realized his left arm had begun to tremble.

Hell. Not now.

He willed his arm still, but it jerked -- wide -- then jerked again. The barrel danced in front of him.

Something -- whether the movement or some slight sound Vikram made -- drew the cat's attention. It rolled into a crouch, facing Vikram's blind. Sunlight bouncing off the snow caught its blue eyes and they glistened like tanzanite as it peered into the camouflage.

The rifle steadied as Vikram's muscle spasms quieted. Again he sighted down the barrel, waiting for another clean shot. As long as his arm cooperated, he could outwait the cat. And with two hundred thousand dollars his to lose if he missed the kill, he could wait a very long time.

After another moment, the tiger rose, turned and padded across the snow.

13 comments:

Ammy Belle said...

Hm ... interesting beginning ... not sure what to think of this "Near Future Thriller" from this.

I kind of want to know more about Vikram, though this is an intro and deliberately vague, so I understand that.

Thanks!

Linda said...

Very nice. You give excellent details to set a vivid scene. Unexpected danger, and possible foreshadowing, with his arm tremor. Nice tension building, though the last line sort of took the wind out of my sails, but I'll assume that's just a problem with the 250-word limit. I'm hooked.

Bridget Baker said...

I haven't said this yet--I REALLY like this. I don't even like hunting. But you wrote it well--not too dense, action from the get go. Obviously no dialogue with a cat, but it was still interesting and the internal monologue read just as well.

I only have one offer of advice. One sentence felt unwieldy to me. I'd rework it. "And with two hundred thousand dollars his to lose if he missed the kill, he could wait a very long time." I think what rubbed me the wrong way is that it's not his to lose, right? It's only his if he doesn't lose. Anyhow, that's my two cents.

calla4 said...

I'm really not into hunting and find it cruel, but I thought the first 250 words were well-written and realistic. I would keep reading just to know what happens to Vikram, but I would expect something to happen soon.
I think you did a great job.

Susan S said...

First: congratulations on a unique and interesting character name. It's really refreshing to find a thriller with what promises to be a Southeast-Asian twist. Double kudos for the implication that this character has Parkinson's - unless I've missed the point of the shaking left arm. Those two points alone would make me read on.

I like the tiger hunt, and love the idea that there are high stakes riding on the shooting ability of someone whose disease process may keep him from success. It does occur to me that this might be a poacher, in which case he could be the antagonist rather than the protagonist, and I would read on to find out which side this man is on.

This is one of my favorites so far.

Barbara said...

I liked this. A nice combination of action and description without being overdone or overly drmatic. And you set us right in the story. There's no explaining the situation. I loved 'ribs rippling under a mat of chocolate striped fur.'

You might perhaps cut 'his' in - his to lose - for smoother reading. That paragraph was what clinched it for me. Who is giving him 200K to kill a white tiger, and why?

Leah Petersen said...

I thought this was fantastic. Very well written and I loved it.

Secret Agent said...

RE: title—definitely a thriller kind of title, even if a bit one-dimensional.

Vikram Shankar squinted down the long metal barrel. Framed squarely in the sight, not two hundred feet away, the white tiger sat on its haunches, its lower jaw drooping, ribs rippling under a mat of chocolate-striped fur.

A sweet shot.

This is great—that last line is a good example of voice.

Vikram's right finger closed over the trigger. He inhaled slowly, deliberately. Too seasoned a hunter to let the thrill overcome judgment, he took his time, savoring the anticipation.

The nasal whounk-ing of a snow goose flying overhead pricked the big cat's ears, and the heavy-set head swung toward the sound. With pounding heart, Vikram exhaled.

“With a pounding heart”?

The sight bead wavered. He glanced down, and realized his left arm had begun to tremble.
No comma.

Hell. Not now.

He willed his arm still, but it jerked -- wide -- then jerked again. The barrel danced in front of him.

Something -- whether the movement or some slight sound Vikram made -- drew the cat's attention. It rolled into a crouch, facing Vikram's blind. Sunlight bouncing off the snow caught its blue eyes and they glistened like tanzanite as it peered into the camouflage.

The rifle steadied as Vikram's muscle spasms quieted. Again he sighted down the barrel, waiting for another clean shot. As long as his arm cooperated, he could outwait the cat. And with two hundred thousand dollars his to lose if he missed the kill, he could wait a very long time.

After another moment, the tiger rose, turned and padded across the snow.

This is very good! I think the second to last sentence reads kind of awkwardly—can you make it shorter and more efficient?

Overall, I’m hooked and I’d keep on reading. I appreciate the scarcity to this excerpt—to your writing; it’s a trait of good thrillers. Very well-written. Be careful not to draw out your scenes uselessly; I think that your second to last sentence is a good scene ender, but the sentence afterwards promises a bit of tension and action—work on finding the right balance.

Sarah P said...

I'm intrigued enough by the title to what to know what Sector C will turn out to be.

As a beginning though, I have to admit that I'm disappointed. You set up the anticipation of the tiger hunt pretty nicely. The goose interrupting is a good tease, though I think you need a different sound descriptor there, as whounk-ing didn't seem startling enough.

You need to explain what the problem is with his arm, though. Obviously this has happened before, since he thinks not now. What's wrong with him? Is this something that's normally controlled by a medicine that's not working? Is it brought on by sudden adrenaline and he got startled by the goose too?

And then, because of something related to this tic, you have your tiger coiled and ready to attack his hiding place. You have pretty high stakes, if there's 200K to lose and Vikram's going to blow it with this spasm of his, if he doesn't end up getting pounced.

And then the tiger simply turns and walks away? You lost me.

Anonymous said...

More like a Fear Nature thriller?

SARA J. HENRY said...

Intriguing ...

spirecorporation said...

Really, really, really good. I'm a near-future fan myself, and I can already see what kind of feeling you are going with.

I loved the character name, loved the subtle action, loved it.

And trust me, there is a lot of crap out there that people say is good, and really isn't. This, my friend, is a super solid 250 words. If the next few pages were like this (given a solid jacket cover) I'd totes buy it in a store.

Follow me bro, I want to be an early supporter when you blow up and get super-published

justwritecat said...

Solid, tight writing - I liked it. The only reason I might not continue reading is the hunting aspect - that's not my thing...but I can still appreciate the subtle tension and the well-crafted excerpt. Good job.