Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July Secret Agent #30

TITLE: Veritas
GENRE: YA Sci-fi

The only time I feel an ounce of freedom is when running, muscles clenching, legs pumping, fire burning my lungs with each breath. My hair whips past me as I rush down the empty corridor. I race past door after door until they blend into the white walls. My heart beats a fast rhythm that matches the pounding of my feet. The speed lets me pretend at freedom. But it’s a lie. I’ve been stuck in this cage my whole life, never knowing anything but this ship that’s caught in the void of space.

I turn left down another hall, identical to the last save for the numbers on the doors, and pick up my pace—I can’t be late again. Unfortunately, this corridor isn’t empty like the others.

My momentum slams me straight into a patroller. Hard muscles act like a wall against my much smaller form, and I fall to the ground. When I look up the only thing that greets me is a scowl. The patroller’s light eyes narrow and his jaw clenches.

I brush hair out of my face where sweat makes the black strands cling. My hands tremble under the patroller’s stare.

“Sorry, sir.” The words leave my mouth in a stutter and I look away, hoping he’ll let me go without punishment. Being late to my assignment is one thing, but pissing off a patroller is a whole other universe of trouble that I don’t want to be in.


  1. The opening paragraph of this entry confused me. At first, I thought that the narrator was reflecting about the feeling of running. Then it seems like the narrator is actually running, but then he or she is in a cage. It wasn't until the second paragraph that it became clear that the MC is running and with a purpose.

    I really liked the last line. I'm interested about the assignment and what type of trouble the MC will be in with the patroller.

    Good luck! :)

  2. I like the pacing and voice of this entry. The descriptions are well done and there is a good balance of telling me enough without telling me too much.

    I might suggest trying the opening sentance as four sentances instead of one. It'll feel a little choppy but I think it woudl put the reader into the scene more.

    I might also suggest dropped the adjective off the patroller's eyes, but that's a really minor nitpick. You also might want to leave a little more hint at the gender of your MC (I'm guessing female?)

    I would definately keep reading, and I really enjoyed the snippet.

  3. I enjoyed the energy and the pacing of this opening.

    I did have a moment of wonder about the first few lines - I thought the MC was running because he/she wanted freedom, but then realized that he/she is running due to lateness.

    I'm interested to find out more about this assignment and the patroller who seems to have a lot of influence over the MC. I would definitely want to read more.

  4. The early lines specific to running may be a little misleading unless you return to her 'running methodology' (which was interesting...). Otherwise, I'd kill some of the running details, and jump right into being late. Good world. Love the last line.

  5. This is a solid opening - you're a skilled writer. One thing comes to mind, though. It immediately reminded me of the scene from "Across the Universe" where the main character is running on the ship. In that scene, we're given a telling look into the lives of those on the ship by what the running girl observes and what happens on her run. I think it's a good opportunity for you to show us more about the MC's unique world which would draw the reader in more so than reading about the MC being late for work.

  6. I was confused, at first, because I thought your character was describing running... as in remembering it, or actually doing it for pleasure. Instead, she's actually running because she is late. I wonder... would running like that because you're late for something create the same kind of emotional response? I'm not a runner, but it seems like that would be LESS relaxing and wonderful than doing it for the pure enjoyment of the sport! Maybe contrast that a bit more.

    And... okay, actually, I just realized, I don't even know if your MC is a boy or girl at this point! "smaller form" and "hair in the face" could mean a guy as much as a girl. Maybe try and work that in sooner too!

    Good luck!

  7. I like this. I did find myself asking exactly what was going on in the first paragraph, but you explained it well in the later paragraphs. I would keep reading.

  8. I actually started reading this when I glanced at the last paragraph, and was curious to see how it got there. I think I'd consider starting the story at "I turn left down another hall," or maybe shorten the first paragraph. I like the idea of her running, but my interest in finding out what happens next was based on the last paragraph.

    Good luck with it. :-)

  9. 'hair whips past me as I run' seems off to me... if they're running quickly, the hair would be blowing out behind them, not past them in front, unless there was a heavy tail wind.

    Other than that, I liked this and I'd read on.

  10. The writing here is really strong, especially as I was carried along with it even though it's first person present, a combination of everything I find difficult to read. :)

    I do find opening with running a little cliché -- my first thought was 'oh, a chase scene', but I have to say, it's been done well (and it wasn't a chase scene.)

    I loved the image of her running just to pretend she's free. That image was a little ruined for me, though, when I learned that she wasn't running because it made her feel free, she was running because she was late.

    All in all, I really enjoyed this. I hope you get picked!

  11. Skip the first paragraph, and I really like this.

  12. I understood the first paragraph, but it looks like a few people got a little hung up there. I would keep reading.

  13. Minus a few possible punctuation issues, I liked this and would continue reading. Hopefully the next few paragraphs give some introduction to your character - name, age, goal, etc. so us readers can become more grounded in the situation. I don't think you need the second to last paragraph about her sweaty hair; the previous lines and what follows give enough context.

  14. I like how the author introduces this world and sets the tone. There is tension from the beginning. I get the idea that the MC will be surviving by both his/her physical and mental abilities.
    "The words leave my mouth in a stutter"--well put.
    I would have to read on. : )

  15. The problem is the emphasis on running as "freedom" when in fact he or she is running because of lateness. Also, when spending time talking about running it is jarring to then get the reference to being in a cage - causes confusion (even if it is a figurative cage of the entire ship). I think you could stand to watch out for cliches because there are a lot of them here - the void of space, lungs burning,hair whipping past, heart pounding in rhythm to the feet, etc.
    But the set up is intriguing. It makes you wonder just what is this ship and who are the people on it - obviously they are not free to come and go as they please and the idea of a patroller sounds ominous. I don't really care what gender your MC is but everything you write can apply equally to a boy as to a girl so maybe you want to be more up front with it. Also, a person who runs all the time is in shape. Simply dashing to a late assignment is unlikely to leave one drenched in sweat. Small details like that are worth observing.

  16. The first paragraph doesn't seem to gel with the rest. You feel like the mc is out for a release run, a power run, a run to get rid of anger and feel freedom. But she is apparently running somewhere. It just doesn't fit with the rest. Perhaps if you word it differently.

    Your writing it tight and strong. Unfortunately I fell like this ship in the middle of nowhere containing a society on board has been done a little much. Especially with the huge success of Razorbill's Across the Universe.