Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March Secret Agent #39

TITLE: If I Fall

I still had one week to back out. One week to come up with a way to tell Brian that he'd bought all of that climbing equipment for nothing. One week to dread the disappointed look I knew my brother would give me when I told him I still wasn't ready to go climbing outside.

Brian whistled an off-key rock song and I heard him clanking around his room like he'd been doing for the past fifteen minutes. I fell back on my bed and looked at the ceiling. My stomach twisted, its tightness climbing up my throat.

He'd been trying for months to explain how exhilarating it would be to feel the warm breeze across our skin, the rough rock under our fingers, the smooth flow of adrenaline through our veins. Way better than the controlled conditions in the rock gym.

But I liked control. Control was comfortable. Control kept me safe.

The whistling stopped and Brian tapped on my closed bedroom door. "Ready, Bren?"

I pulled myself off my bed and opened the door, trying to look normal.

Brian saw through me, as usual. "Hey, we'll focus on our technique a lot today and make sure you're ready for next week, okay?" His concern held an underlying tone of hope that I couldn't smash by putting off our outdoor climbing trip once again.

I tried to shake my worries away and followed him out of the house. We were just going to the rock gym, same as every Saturday.


  1. Good beginning. I already feel her anticipation (I'm assuming Bren is short for Brenda, but I guess it could just as well be Brendon). Wondering where this is going, and I just have to say I have a crazy fear of heights, so this story would probably have my heart racing.

  2. Feeling the tension, liking that the mc cares enough about his/her brother to not spoil his hope about the trip. But that sentence was a bit confusing--His concern held an underlying tone of hope that I couldn't smash by putting off our outdoor climbing trip once again. --Maybe break it into two sentences.

  3. Hi! I'm not quite hooked, but in another page or so you might have me.

    Some suggestions:

    - I don't really care for all the repetition in the first paragraph.

    - Second paragraph: Get rid of "I heard" and simply say that his brother clanked around or whatever.

    - Fourth paragraph: The first read through I didn't like it. It felt like he was telling us something we should be able to figure out on our own through what you show of him now and later. Now I'm not so sure.

    Best of luck to you!

  4. this has some great elements, the part about liking control and the MC's dread of telling her brother the truth. I'd read more to see where this is going~

    Best! :o)

  5. I'd read more. The brother's happiness comes alive on this page, as well as the MC fear. Good conflict, good start.

  6. A general rule of thumb is to start on the day that is different, at the moment when things begin to fall apart. You're starting on a day that was the same as every other Saturday (although I'm guessing it's not going to be the same as every Saturday). I'd suggest starting closer to where the day begins to take a turn for the worse.

    Just before your event happens, she can be thinking these same thoughts, her brother can make the same comment, but when you reach the bottom of your first page, the inciting incident is happening rather than the same old thing. It'll be a much bigger hook than - will she tell her brother she doesn't want to go mountain climbing.

  7. this could be a good story. i am just having a hard time with the small amount of info given about where in the world this story could go. If it is just about rock climbing, then I don't want to have it end up like the movie, "127 hours".

  8. The problem posed in this story is very simply solved. She tells her brother, he's mad, they move on. Is that enough to hinge a whole novel on? Probably not, so if there's a bigger problem at hand, or higher stakes, they should be communicated earlier.