Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February Secret Agent #40

TITLE: Double Star
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Where she was going didn’t matter. Where she was, she didn’t know. The pain in her chest protested each breath as her mind searched for options. Above, the limbs of the great pines held the stars hostage. The only light came from the two moons in the sky, both no more than an hour from disappearing beyond the horizon. Despite her silent pleas they continued to fall, barely visible through the thick cover of the forest. In this strange place, those few minutes of moonlight were not going to be enough. She knew the darkness concealed many secrets and, from that fact, there was no escape.

Snap. The sound from behind stopped her heart. She dared to turn around. Two glowing rubies, only feet away, rode up and down as the creature advanced on four legs.

Beware the red eyes. The boy’s whisper broke through. They are the eyes of death for you and the ones you love. His image played in her head for only a millisecond, but it filled her with courage. Her heart picked up pace and, with arms out at her sides, hands moving in frantic rhythm, she managed to stay on her feet.

She sensed each passing second could be her last when she heard the creature’s rhythmic breathing roll up from her heels. Just then, the red moon revealed an abrupt end to the forest a short distance ahead. Trust! That was her grappling hook as she threw herself over the edge and tumbled into the darkness below.


  1. This has promise, but I had some trouble getting invested in the character. Maybe you could start out with the red eyes rather than describing the moon(s)light. That might make for a stronger hook. And you could probably clarify the "two glowing rubies" - I had read on to confirm that they were actually eyes. That said, I really enjoy some of the imagery here - holding the stars hostage, the grappling hook. With just a little bit of polishing this could be a great opener.

  2. Promising, but I think this needs some work. You open with her not caring where she is or where she's going, but never really tie it into what is going on. You drop into description of the night, which is pretty, but if she's running for her life (which we don't get a sense of until towards the end of the excerpt) she's not going to be paying attention to the details of tree branches holding the stars hostage. We should know immediately how she feels and that her life is on the line. The last line is solid.

  3. Overall, I'm not sure what you are trying to tell us about your MC. The "didn't matter" and "didn't know" at the opening was off-putting. I feel like the MC doesn't care, and why should I? Esp. as I haven't read enough to know her.

    After this, we're jumping around with a description of this and that that leaves me even more confused. She's afraid, but a phantom memory gives her courage? I half expect her to fight the thing with glowing eyes, especially as it's only a few feet away, but then she runs.

    This is probably a good story, but as is, I'm not hooked.

  4. As Metz Photography pointed out, I didn't realize the MC was running for her life until the very end of the excerpt. If you're running for your life, you probably don't have time to notice all the details she describes in the first paragraph.

    If it were me, I'd cut out some of the description and break up the rest into shorter, snappier sentences. That way, the writing itself will mirror the emotion you're trying to evoke. But that's just a thought.

    Good luck!

  5. Aside from the comments above, I would love to have a name to go with the character. Definitely get the feeling of fear in this excerpt though!

  6. I love the visual imagery, and the figures of speech: Tree limbs holding the stars hostage, trust as a grappling hook.
    But at the start, I thought she was out for a stroll. You might either make it clear she's running, or actually have her out for a stroll before the snap.

  7. I also struggled to get invested in the main character. Focus on how she thinks and what is motivating her rather than descriptions of her heartrate, breathing, and physical responses. If we are more in her head, we'll care more.

    Also, I didn't understand that she was on the edge near a drop so her frantic hand movements to stay on her feet didn't make sense to me.

    Who is the boy? "The boy's whisper broke through" made me think for a moment that the boy was with her and speaking in her thoughts. This is fantasy and your world has two moons and a creature with red eyes, so we don't yet know all the world's rules.

    I like the great pines, the red moon, the forest, the "eyes of death". Great setting.

  8. I had trouble connecting with the main character because I had to read slowly to understand some of the description. If she is in danger we need to feel her fear right away. (Was the fear the pain in her chest? Or was she injured?) The first two sentences make her seem apathetic. Why should we care if she doesn’t?

    I loved the last sentence though!

  9. Thank You for sharing the valuable information.Its very helpful to me.