Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August Secret Agent #42

TITLE: Becoming Hero
GENRE: High-Concept YA

Comic-book Universe: Issue 339

Rain trickles across a fading green dumpster in a narrow alleyway. A dark shadow, a superhero gone bad, stalks the rooftops above, heaving a giant gun off his back as he readies it for his prey.

Skye ignored the stench of the banana peels and burger wrappers crushed against his face and forced himself to breathe steady. He clenched his fingers tighter around the bleeding wound in his shoulder, trying not to think about the infection he'd get from hiding in the dumpster. Just breathe. In, out. In, out. Any change in that pace, and his hunter might hear him. Hunter--that's how he had to think of his best friend now.

The thought crunched in Skye's chest like another punch. Dammit. He squeezed his eyes shut and clenched his teeth against the hot tears. How could he--

"I suppose you're wondering how I could do this to you," said a soft voice just above him. Skye heard light footsteps on the dumpster lid, but didn't reply. Mark had walked past his hiding places before.

"You can hear me, right? I know you're nearby. Please just show yourself. Just end this."

Skye heard Mark's feet crunch against the pavement. He heard the rustle of plastic bags being kicked; a nearby window smashed.

"None of this would have hurt if you'd just let me take you out the first time. I didn't want your parents to die. Come on, Skye, you think I wanted Jackie to die for you?"


  1. This is a fantastic hook! The stuff at the beginning makes me really curious to know how this story will be formatted. Just one note - if you want to go even deeper into Skye's POV, maybe modify the second-to-last paragraph a bit. Something like "plastic bags rustled as if they'd been kicked," maybe. Also, I have a little issue with "a nearby window smashed." The way you have that part of the sentence set up, it almost sounds like the window smashed itself, which I'd guess is unlikely. That's all I've got, though! Great job, and good luck!

  2. Also hooked! Both the scene and the frame have engaged me - I want to know why that comic book description is there too! Great work!

  3. Ha, I remember seeing this story in a pitch contest so I remember it well. I love the concept.
    But, my previous knowledge aside, I also think you have an effective hook. Good action and tight dialogue. I would definitely read on either way. Good job and good luck!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Love this. It's very engaging and interesting. I only had two little quibbles.

    This paragraph -- "Skye heard Mark's feet crunch against the pavement. He heard the rustle of plastic bags being kicked; a nearby window smashed." The language here feels weak compared to the rest of the submission. For example, you never need to use the words "he heard" for the MC. You just say "the paper bags rustled." We infer that he heard it because we are in his POV. Also, how does he know they were kicked? This really pulled me out of his POV,also, which I don't like as a reader.

    My only other problem was the use of a very traditional female name for a male character. Call me old- fashioned, but every time I heard the name Skye, I pictured a tall, strong girl from the British Isles, and it really threw me to keep seeing the male pronouns and having to remind myself that Skye was a boy. If nothing else, maybe change the spelling to Sky, instead of using the traditional feminine spelling?

  6. Same here. Great hook! I would read on.

  7. You've got me interested. My only suggestion would be to refine some of the descriptors. For example, I wondered exactly what you meant by the 'thought' that 'crunched in Skye's chest'--I appreciate that he feels winded by the betrayal. I think you can communicate that more effectively.

    Good luck!

  8. I have nothing to offer. I thought it was great as is. It's well-written, you have a character in crisis, an antagonist, the opening italics give me some indication of who your antagonist is, and the MC's thought process while in the dumpster helps with his characterization. I'd love to read more.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. What an interesting opening! I'm curious about the stage directions/ chapter heading and am wondering if the action is taking place within a comic book. That being said I'm wondering if it distracts the reader. I thought the opening scene with Skye's face smushed against the banana peel was quite dramatic and I'm wondering if it might not be better to start there. Your writing is strong and a boy reader will pay attention. Good luck!