Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March Secret Agent #15

GENRE: YA Sci-Fi Dystopian

The crows are restless again.

Their raucous caws echo off the crumbling brick walls of HV-a. I wonder if they miss the wide expanse of sky they were used to before nuclear explosions wiped out everything beyond the Barrier, if they despise the force field for blocking entrance to the rest of the world. I doubt it though.

I hop over a rusted piece of metal, my regulation boots skidding in the mud and scan the ruddy clouds above. The sun will be up soon. Then the drones—the President’s workers—will come with our rations, and they will force us to bow down to the leaders who allow us to live. The gesture is a reminder that the children of the insurgents were spared because the leaders of the Citadel are just and forgiving.


I feel eyes studying me as I pick my way through broken glass and scraggly brush. From the corner of my eye, I watch a guard adjust the plasma rifle on his shoulder while yawning widely. The sky reflects off the plastic shield covering his face. He will not call out to me. I’m sixteen but scrawny for my age—I present no threat. All he sees is a girl with unremarkable brown hair and eyes, skin made dark by hours spent in the sun. The blue pants and shirt of HV-a hang off my body and make me appear weak.

I will use that to my advantage as I have done these many months.


  1. I'm totally hooked! I want to read more of this. The snippet here stopped just before something really gripping is about to happen, I'm sure.

    Already I have scenery in my mind of where this takes place, the situation, a bit of back story, and a personal view into the main characters feelings.

    They say that the first page of a novel is a promise to the reader of what the rest of the novel will be like. This promises me that the story will be straightforward, not confusing, and very interesting.

  2. I'm hooked too. The scene really snaps into focus. Use of the crow is good to get us into the world, and the initial details about this dystopian place are well integrated to generate interest without being clumsy. Well done.

  3. This seems to be a dystopian/post-apocalyptic novel rather than science fiction. I love the crows too. Gripping start, well done!

  4. Totally hooked. I feel like I already know this world and it's only the first page. Very well done!

    Best of luck to you!

  5. I should warn you, though, that dystopian is a really hard sell these days, and the setting here didn't immediately stand out to me as different. I also think you're working too hard to establish worldbuilding in these pages, and it feels a little artificial to hear so much about the history of the world when I'd rather stay closer to the character's actual thoughts.

    I think you'd have to bring the strong voice out even more to keep me reading a dystopian here -- although this is a strong start.

  6. Left off my first line: you've got a great voice and compelling narrator here!

    Sorry! :-)