Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October Secret Agent #10


The com on my wall buzzes, spitting out the voice of my best friend Tag. “Dodge, you there?”
I don’t want to extract myself from my bunk’s covers to answer. The heating in our apartment shell is broken for the second time this winter, and besides this bundle of blankets, there’s no way to ward off the chill.

Despite my lack of response, Tag keeps talking. “I know you’re there, bud. Sitting in your bunk and trying to ignore me. Don’t think you’re getting away with it – I’m gonna keep talking until you answer.” A pause. “Yes, that was a threat.”

I roll my eyes. Tag’s not kidding, either. He’ll go on for hours if I don’t shut him up. I slide out of my bunk, the icy air calling the hair on the back of my neck to attention. As I rub the goosebumps away, my fingers trail over the microchip beneath my hair. The rectangular chunk of circuiting is cold to the touch.

I kick my way through the clutter on my floor and slap my hand onto the wall-com. “Yeah,” I say. “What’s going on?”

“There you are.” Tag’s voice vibrates in the old silver disk. “The guys wanna go out. You coming?”

I’m tempted to say no. If I go, they’ll ask me what I’m going to pitch.

Tag pitched Army. I knew he’d do it – it’s a rich kid thing. When they pitch, they get their extras plugged under their natural-born arms, one more arm on each side.


  1. This started a little slow, but you grabbed me there at the end. I'd definitely keep reading. Great job!

  2. I'm fascinated by where this is going. I have a lot of questions, but they're all the kind that make me turn the page like extra whats? (Is it arms? Whoa!) And what is the microchip under his hair? I'd keep reading.

    (Also, you seem to have a streak of people named Abby/Abbe commenting on your excerpt. How long do you think we can keep that going?)

  3. Definitely interesting. You do a great job of creating a scene and characters. I was a little confused by the "pitch" thing. I guess it involves extra arms. I'm just not sure how it works. I think a few words of description might help keep readers grounded in the scene.

  4. Great voice, interesting premise, I'm compelled to read on!

  5. I recognize this from the logline entries. Nice to see the start of the story that goes with it.

    I thought it worked pretty well. I liked the fact that you get right into the story and you don't drift into back story. There are things I don't get right from the start, but those are the things I'll read on for.

    A small suggestion - You could show the cold in that second parg. to give us a visual rather than just saying it was cold. Maybe he can see his breath or there is frost on the inside of the windows?

    I'd read more.

  6. I'll second not knowing exactly what "pitch" is. I'm guessing depending on what you pitch determines what extras/modification you get. I'd be interested to see where this story's going.

  7. Thanks for the kind words and suggestions, guys. There's more info on pitching immediately after this segment (if only we had a few extra words!), but you pretty much nailed it, JEFritz and Yttar. Someone's pitch is the surgery they buy, which determines which extra limbs they get.

  8. I really enjoyed this. The amount of detail was perfect for me. I'm not confused and I just want to read more to fill in the gaps. Loved the line about the air calling the hair on the back of his neck to attention. I can't really think of anything else to say. Well done!

  9. Weird. Which is why I'd read on :)

  10. You hooked me, but not until the last two sentences. Of course, when you query, you'll have the benefit of the synopsis.

    I'd read on.

  11. I like the writing all the way through here, and then the last paragraph is an awesome hook. The dialogue is believable, and you work details about the world into the scene without slowing it down. Great job!

  12. Pretty good, although I think a big part of that is getting in before YA sci-fi becomes old hat. There isn’t a lot here that feels unique, but it’s well-written and not an overly crowded genre yet, so I’m curious about where it goes.