Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July Secret Agent #7

TITLE: Insight
GENRE: Adult Suspense

Devie sat up in bed, gasping. She pushed her damp hair away from her face with trembling hands. No TV blared from the apartment next door. No trucks rumbled by on the highway. Utter silence and darkness surrounded her. Panicked, she snapped on the lamp. The yellow light did little to relieve her terror.

Alastair whined and pawed at the bed. Devie turned to the Labrador and patted his soft head. She wondered if she had been screaming. The horror of the dream came back to her. The room swayed and blurred as icy fear ripped at her lungs. Breathe. She commanded herself. She was alone. Now was not the time for an asthma attack.

After three deep inhales and exhales, the world zoomed back into focus. She looked at the clock. 3:27 a.m. Reaching into the drawer of her night table, she removed her sketchbook and a small set of chalk then waited. Finally, she felt in control of the fear and repulsion. She moved her hand lightly at first, then stronger with more confidence.

When sunlight streamed through the window, and the sounds of the city returned to her, Devie finished sketching a beautiful girl. A girl her age, possibly a fellow college student.

A girl with long brown hair, dark brown eyes and a small scar on her left cheek. A girl Devie saw die in her dream.


  1. I'm hooked. Although it's kind of cliche to have your main character wake up in the opening scene, the way you end it made the cliche worthwhile. At least for me. I would turn the page to keep reading. The only question I have, is that if she's afraid she might have an asthma attack, why wouldn't she pull out her rescue inhaler?

  2. I really enjoyed this. I would certainly read on. The only tiny criticism I have is that I think 'girl' is repeated too much in the last two lines. Someone I hold in very high esteem once told me that the 'repetition for effect' is best limited to three :o) That's what I've been told. Of course, that's totally up to you! :o) Liked it! A lot!

  3. A straightforward setup and a great hook. I get the feeling that this has happened to Devie before. And I agree with Jessica's comment about the repetition of "girl." A little tightening at the end of your entry could make the last line punch even stronger.

    Good luck!

  4. I thought this worked for the most part, but it is a cliche opening and it didn't grab me - until the last sentence. Until then, I felt like I was getting the same old same old. It is done well, but I wonder if the fact that it is a common opening will hurt your chances. Maybe play around with an alternative opening?

    The repetition of girl worked for me.

    A few small things --

    Panicked, she snapped on the lamp. - Is she panicked or scared, because people in a panic seldom think logically.

    comma after breathe in 2nd parg.

    the world zoomed into focus -- she was already pretty focused, enough to notice the lack of sound, to be kind to the dog etc. Perhaps instead, describe her fear subsiding?

    set of chalk sounds weird. Maybe box of colored chalk?

  5. While the end of this was intriguing, it took too long to get there. There were too many details bogging down the suspense.

  6. I agree, the end was great! Start closer to the girl drawing part. But keep some of the intensity of the moment too. Girl worked for me too. :) Good job!

  7. Some of the syntax feels off to me, which slows down what should otherwise be a very tense scene. I want to find out about this girl who died in the dream right up front - i.e. even earlier than the 5th paragraph.

    I was also thrown by the 2-3 hours it took her to sketch the person. I understand that a good sketch takes some time, but it really detracts from the sense of terror we're supposed to share when she wakes up.

  8. I agree with the others. I think in this scenario the dream is a lot more important than the other "tired" dream openings, but it takes a while for the reader to realize this. In terms of the time it took to draw the girl, it depends on what time of the year the story takes place. I'm often up by 5 am in the summer and the sun is up, so an hour and a half for the sketch isn't too bad...but maybe you should push out her waking up closer to dawn.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. I'm hooked. I agree it takes a little bit to get there, but it held my interest and now I would love to read more. Great job.