Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July Secret Agent #4


Weightlessness is a funny thing.

One moment ago, Dean and I were joking about the stupid, lime-green dress his ex-girlfriend wore to prom. His cheeks dimpled when he laughed.

Now his car skids over the embankment. Our bodies are a blur of pink satin and black tuxedo. My insides lurch and jerk, like knots trying to untie themselves. Dean's face is a blank sheet of confusion and me, well, I don't know how I look but I'm sure it isn't pretty. The freefall ends when we hit the tree. All that remains is pain and panic. And noise. All kinds of noise. Screams, creaks, and cracks from
all sides. I can't feel my legs or arms, but I'm standing and screaming and tugging at the crumpled car door.

Dean's stuck. I have to get him out.

Gas fumes sting my nose and burn my chest. I tear the door off the car and nearly tear Dean's arm off, too. He tumbles out and I drag him toward the field. The car explodes, flames consuming it in a burst of
red and orange. The force throws us back from the wreck. I sit in the long grass in my tattered cocktail dress, barely aware of the hot metal in my hands or Dean unconscious at my side.
I can't tear my eyes off my left arm.

It's ruined.

The skin's ripped open, gaping from wrist to elbow, but I hardly bleed. I try to make sense of it, but my arm isn't right.


  1. Nice! I'd definitely read on. I like the immediacy of the scene & the way you show us those details without doing a lot of telling :) I'd read on.

  2. Your first sentence works great with the irony of the scene you've set up. My brain had to switch gears as I read through the car crash, which, in this case, helped pull me further in. By the end of this entry, I definitely want to know more. I'm assuming she's already a cyborg due to her tearing off the door and suffering a shredded arm but not bleeding, so I want to know WHY she doesn't know this already!

    Only two nitpicks: Dean's face as a "blank sheet of confusion" didn't work for me. The second is when you use "tear" twice. How about:

    I tear the door off the car and nearly take Dean's arm with it.

    Just a suggestion, but overall a great entry! Good luck!

  3. Whoa, there's not much time to get to know the mc, but I feel like her voice is just strong enough to make us care about her before her life goes all pear-shaped. Her choice of pink satin to prom tells more about her, too.

    Between the title and the action, I'd read on.

    Good job!

  4. You have me curious because of her arm and the fact that she seems to have super-powers, but it reads almost like non-fiction to me, like it's one fact after another. The sentence structure is the same throughout the entire piece, (all declarative statements.) so you might want to change that up a bit. Perhaps slip in some descriptions.

    For example - Dean's stuck. I have to get him out. If you slip in just one line of description between the two sentences, you break up the monotone feel of the piece. After you say Dean is stuck, show us how. Say the car folded inward on him or whatever. It will add some color and texture, and if you do it throughout, it will help tone down the robotic feel of the piece.

    You might also cut the opening line about weightlessness. You don't really go back to it, to give it any real meaning, and it's kind of light compared to the rest of the piece, so it seemed out of place to me.

  5. Really dynamic and exciting opening! I liked the every-day feel of the first sentence as a way to lead us into the dramatic events that follow. My only qualm was thinking that if her arm is ruined how did she tear off the door of a car and pull her friend to safety?

  6. I think this is a great opening as it draws the reader in and creates characters with likeable personalities immediately. It also creates a sense of mystery right away.

    However, the wording isn't all authentic; I don't think a teenager would use, "one moment ago" or "cocktail dress."

    I also think that you add extraneous details that slow it down, "like knots trying to untie themselves" is unnecessary, for example.

  7. I like this and has me wondering enough to keep on reading!

  8. MH87: I really, really love the mystery that is set up here. I'm already interested in the characters, however, I agree that some of the diction felt inauthentic. I also think that the description, being in first person, could be more in the moment.

  9. I find this very compelling, but I got hung up on the physical action - were they both in the car, or was the narrator outside (since she never mentions leaving the car, and she's desperate to get Dave out)? With a little streamlining, though, I'd read on.