Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May Secret Agent #10

TITLE: Vessel
GENRE: YA paranormal romance

Lazy Pete's Biker Bar was a dingy hole-in-the-wall several miles outside Knox's small hometown of Sedna, Alaska. Tucked back behind the main road and hidden by towering evergreens, it was a favorite haunt for those who walked the worlds between the living and the dead. Known for making deals and breaking promises, their loyalties belonged to the highest bidder. Some called them snitches, others called them traitors. Seventeen year old Knox Acotas preferred to call them punching bags.

"Come on, man. I told you everything I know!" The thin man lying on the cement floor, his hands and feet bound with rope, his body shaking with fear, reminded Knox of a rat. Worthless, hairy, smelled like a dumpster, but he had information Knox desperately needed.

The moonlight filtered through the bars of the small windows in silver strips, casting shadows across the hard planes of Knox's face and illuminating the dagger in his hand.

Knox chuckled. "For some reason, I don't believe you." He placed his leather boot against the man's ribcage and pressed down. "Tell me what they're looking for, Red."

"I can't," Red mumbled. "They'll kill me."

"And what do you think I'll do?" Knox pressed harder until Red's breath came out in a wheeze.

"No, please, that's all I know!"

A rib cracked and Knox's foot sank further into Red's side. His screams were drowned out by the heavy metal pumping through the bar's stereo. Knox pressed his dagger against Red's throat. "Are you sure about that, friend?"


  1. I like this...I would most definitely read on trying to figure out what he's looking for and why he needed to torture these "punching bags" to get the information.

  2. Nice sense of setting and action here. This is a really good line: "The moonlight filtered through the bars of the small windows in silver strips, casting shadows across the hard planes of Knox's face and illuminating the dagger in his hand." It really puts me there.

    The only thing I'd recommend is making sure you don't have too many sentences in a row with the same structure. But it's a minor quibble, really.

  3. You've got a great intense scene with Knox's interrogation, but I think the scene is dampened by the first paragraph. I would start with the interrogation, then go into the haunt and location and etc.

    "Come on, man. I told you everything I know" Knox stared down at... <--I think showing Knox looking at the man first would help us to picture the scene better.

    "I can't. They'll kill me."<---since Red is addressed in the previous para, you can delete the "Red Mumbled"--plus, I doubt he's mumbling when he's being interrogated?

    "Red screamed as his rib cracked" <---I think the scream needs to happen before the rib is cracking.

    But this is intense! I'm intrigued by Knox and what his story is. He seems like a really cool character!

  4. I'm actually not sure I like Knox. Although, I do wonder what's happened in his life to make him kind of cruel at 17?

    The first paragraph seemed a little vague - you have these lines:

    Known for making deals and breaking promises, their loyalties belonged to the highest bidder. Some called them snitches, others called them traitors.

    All I've been introduced to so far is Lazy Pete's Bar. Is the Bar itself the "them", "snitches" and "traitors" you're referring to? It doesn't seem to connect with an actual person or group of people. It might be helpful to specify.

    I do think you've set up an interrogation scene nicely and the characters are drawn well, good dialogue. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I think you've already gotten some great suggestions. I agree that starting with the interrogation would work better because you're starting with your MC and one of the snitches, rather than a bar that probably won't be an integral part of the story. By starting with the bar, you're making that the important thing, and it's not.

    Also, the intro to the bar made me think I was in a bar filled with people, (or maybe zombies or ghosts, because they walked the world between the living and the dead) and if that's the case, why does no one react to what Knox is doing? Certainly, the bartender must be there?

    I do have a believabilty issue with that, and with the fact that a 17 year old kid is thwomping the bad guys. I'd give it a few more pages to see if Knox really does have the background necessary for the role you've given him. If not, you'd lose me.

  6. I really like this, especially the last line in the first paragraph. And the action follows along nicely. I'm hooked!


  7. Um, no. I have no sympathy for an MC who's in the middle of beating someone up and threatening to kill them. I wouldn't read on.

    Now if a scene like this came later in the novel, once I've got to know the MC and like him, and understand why he desperately needs information from this guy, that might be fine. *Or* if this was being told humorously, again that'd be different. But right now I'm turned off.

  8. It appears as if Knox is the villain. I guess that could be wrong... I feel the first paragraph is unnecessary, but I'm not sure I'd start with the interrogation right away either. I'd rather have some info about the character first. Perhaps this is aimed at a specific violence-loving audience, but I didn't find the character sympathetic. To be captured by a novel, I need the mc to be sympathetic.

  9. You start with passive description - not good. And in the scene that follows ... unfortunately, there's no appealing characters. I'm not interested in Knox nor the man he's torturing so no, I wouldn't keep reading.

  10. Nicely written, great tension, believable dialogue. I think you have a winner!

  11. What I liked: Nice, controlled writing, interesting point of entry to the story

    What needed work: As some other commenters mentioned already, it’s tough to like Knox based on this description, and it would be difficult to root for him if he’s the main character. It doesn’t completely turn me off at this point, but it’s a little concerning.

    I’m concerned, too, about the audience. It’s marked as paranormal romance. If Knox is the main character, girl readers (the target audience) may be hesitant to root for a dude who is so violent.

    But who knows! Maybe the real main character is about to bust in and kick Knox’s butt.

    Would I read on? Sure.

  12. I like it, but I agree with some of the others in that I can't like Knox from this beginning.

    I would rearrange some of the elements here, but overall, I'd keep reading a few pages to see where you're going with the story.

    Good luck!!