Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January Secret Agent #3

TITLE:   My Protector: The Calling
GENRE:   YA Post Apocalyptic

Going to the river alone is forbidden. Knowing this clear-cut rule of our people wasn’t enough to stop me from stepping off the gravel path and walking deep into the vacant field. I no longer controlled my body.

Adrenaline thrummed inside me as I drifted closer. White-hot anger burned in my belly, if it was even anger churning there. I had never felt something creep through my veins before. Whatever this was, it pulled me toward the unknown.

I didn’t belong out there. I knew better. I should’ve run in the opposite direction, back to our village. But I couldn’t turn away. With each step into the darkness, the foreign emotion intensified, guiding me forward. I surrendered to the aggression. I had no choice.

The warning bell struck, ringing through my insides. My people had fled for safety into the closest shelter possible when it sounded the first time.

Not me.

A few more steps and I would see the river through the trees if the waning light consented. The coursing water rushed along, mirroring my heightened flow of adrenaline. The sensory overload amplified, the calling grew louder and became hypnotic, driving me like a machine, steering me down a path I would not otherwise take.

I should not have been there.

The bell clanged again with faster frequency. I froze. The hammering in my chest felt as if my heart would burst through my rib cage and continue onward without me.


  1. This seems like it has an interesting concept and could be compelling if you can hook the reader right from the beginning.

    My first issue was these few sentences:
    "White-hot anger burned in my belly, if it was even anger churning there. I had never felt something creep through my veins before. Whatever this was, it pulled me toward the unknown."

    The first sentence is a bit awkward. The next sentence implies that the speaker has never felt any intense emotion before, which strikes me as strange.

    The second issue I had was the use of "my people". I kept asking myself "who are they?"
    If you are not going to give us any information about them right off the bat I would suggest using synonyms because I picked up on the repetition of it right away.

    I feel like if this was a cleaner start it would be very intriguing. I was interested in the character.

  2. This is very interesting. I am intrigued by the idea of the character's body being compelled to act against their will. But they surrender too quickly. I'd like them to fight it longer. Then, at the end, the character hears the bells and freezes. With a jolt I realize the character was likening the river's draw to being body snatched, not actually being body snatched. I'd like a little less mystery right up front because now I'm confused. But I know how hard it is to do in only 250! I'd like to know what happens next.

  3. To me, it seemed you kept saying the same thing over and over - he was pulled along against his will.

    Perhaps say it once and then give us some details of where he is and what it's like and who it is that is forcing him to go against his will. If you give us more, there's more to pull us in.

  4. Gosh I get chills every time I read this.

  5. Nice tension here. I could definitely feel it.

    I would keep reading because I'm intrigued to know what would happen, but I do agree with Barbara that it feels a tad repetitive. It's clear that he was pulled along against his will.

    I realize it's only 250 words, but it might have been nice to have some idea as to what is going on. I agree that if you give us a little more, there'll be even more to hook us.

    Nice job.

  6. There's a lot of intense imagery and a foreboding atmosphere, but it's difficult to fully worry about this character because it is so abstract. I read the above comments and I thought the narrator was a female. Barbara thought it was a male. It's not clear. I don't think males use words like "belly" or feel anger in their belly. They get it in their chest and their throat and their fists and their eyes. But then it mentions adrenaline twice, and I think guys are more likely to talk about adrenaline rushes.

    I think this is a problem because on one hand you want to start with action and an inciting incident, which it sounds like this scene does. But we're starting this scene without a really defined character with whom we can relate. Is it male/female, 13 or 18, virgin or pregnant? A little hint at the identity of the narrator would help us all visualize this and get into it easier. It complicates things further because the narrator is abstract and the unseen, unspecified force is also abstract. I think as a reader I need some context before jumping into a scene this deep.

    That said, I can tell the writer of this knows how to write. You've got to warm me up a bit before taking me for a run.

  7. The tension is great and I want to find out more! I agree with making it more clear if the MC is male or female and maybe adding something personal about them for the audience to connect with. Great job!

  8. I would say I'm almost hooked :)
    I like the concept you have going here - someone compelled to walk away from the safety of his / her people into the dark, unsafe river. You created a real sense of impending doom. Since the genre is post-apocalyptic - I'd really consider your point of view to tighten up your sentences. Is the narrator educated? Is the narrator constantly fighting tooth and nail to survive? Sometimes your sentences read too wordy for how I'd imagine a ya post-apocalyptic narrator. You might try sticking to sparse sentences or even fragmented thoughts to increase the intensity:

    For example the second paragraph might be revised to: "Adrenaline thrummed. I drifted closer. Anger burned white-hot. Was it anger or something else deep in my veins that pulled me towards the unknown?"

  9. Glad to see some of the suggestions I made last time in here ;) I definitely think you did a better job of establishing that this is the first time that your character is feeling this way, which only interests me more. ^_^ I like the revisions. Nice work.

    And, yeah, maybe establishing a little bit more about who your character is would be good - though the first time I read this, it didn't bother me.

  10. I don't have enough of an anchor yet for this story to surrender to the intensity of the language, the somewhat melodramatic narration going on...I think the commenters suggesting that you give us a bit more about this character before setting his world on fire, so to speak, are right on!