Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August Secret Agent #5

TITLE: Heritage Blade: Awakening
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

Killing was one of those things that grew easier with time, that and tight rope walking. While one didn’t have anything to do with the other, at fifteen Jay had grown skilled at both. Balanced on the balls of his feet, he raced along the length of a power line, pivoting when he reached a pole, and leapt to a nearby building. Overhead the autumn moon shone brightly, casting shadows across the roof. He searched the darkness for signs of his prey.

He shoved strands of white hair from his face, tightened his grip on the sword at his hip, and stalked forward. The wind lashed out with bitter cold, cutting through the leather he wore from head to toe, October in Chicago—arctic. His boots crunched against loose gravel. No point in trying to be quiet, he wasn’t the one hiding.


Something moved the slightest bit in the shadow of a ventilation shaft. He locked gazes with a pair of yellow, pupil-less eyes. Gotchya, he smirked.

Caught, the creature bounded toward the end of the building. Jay took off after it. His steps thudded against the concrete, mirroring the pounding of his heart. Ahead, claws flashed and raked against the roof, kicking up loose bits of stone. The Howling panted hard and heavy around a warning growl as it threw a glance over its shoulder, baring a mouthful of gleaming fangs.

A shiver chased a thrill the length of Jay’s spine.


  1. Exciting start. The only thing I can think to say is can power lines support a person's weight?

  2. Haha, I was wondering the same thing as Michelle! But overall, I agree this is an exciting start. I really like the mix of modern and ancient in this, with the power lines and leathers/sword. My only thing, and I would have to keep reading to make a more determined assessment, is this doesn't feel terribly city-ish to me. As a Chicago native (yeah, got kind of excited when I saw that :-)) I can say that usually there's way too much light pollution to even notice the moon's glow. Honestly, that might be the only bit that's throwing it off for me, just since it's at the very beginning, it sort of sets the scene. Maybe consider changing it to streetlamp? Or some sort of neon sign?

    I'd for sure keep reading though, this is off to a great start.

  3. This grabbed my attention immediately. The only concrit I have to offer is that "panting hard and heavy around a warning growl" sounds a bit awkward. The "around a warning growl" is what trips me up, like I think some other wording can fit better. Other than that, I really like the tension of this scene and it makes me want to know more.

  4. While the first sentence certainly gets your attention, I wonder if it might be stronger to substitute "practice" for time.

    "Shoved" seems like to forceful an action for "strands" of hair.

    If "Howling" ios the name of this creature, then use it the first time you say "creature." Jay knows what it is, so there's no reason to be coy.

    I appreciate that this is a nice, action-packed, right-in-the-thick-of-it scene, but I'm having a little trouble connecting to Jay. What are the implications of this chase? Is he protecting the city? Hunting down an innocent creature? What's at stake here? Who am I supposed to be rooting for?

  5. I really enjoyed this submit right off the bat! Great first line, which immediately drew me in and the suspense kept going throughout the entire 250 submit.

    And I'd have to disagree slightly with some of the other comments - this is an urban fantasy MS, so I can fall into a world where fifteen year old boys can run along power lines. :) As well, your MC has a sword, so that makes me believe this isn't necessarily current day Chicago - a city now tainted with light pollution. I'm also thinking that since your MC is chasing a Howler - the moon probably plays an important role, since I'm assuming he's something close to a werewolf? Just my observations to play a different angle.

    I think you've done a great job here and I love the imagination behind this submit - I'd definitely read on.

  6. I enjoyed this but it did seem a bit distant. The reason, I think, is because we aren't getting any of his reactions to anything. The events are being reported rather than experienced. Work some emotion and internal thoughts into the mix and it'll become even stronger.

    I did think the opening was a bit contradictory when you say the killing and tightrope walking didn't have anything to do with each other, because they obviously do. Both are tools of his trade. ANd I wondered about that overhead moon shining brightly, and then he searches the dark. I realize it's still dark, but a bright moon brightens things considerably.

    'Concrete' in parg 5 made me think they had somehow gotten down to the street. For some reason, I equated concrete with street more than roof. Maybe consider another word there.

    But overall, you kept my interest all the way through. I'd read more.

  7. I felt immediately drawn into the action and keen to find out what happes next. Your writing has a good rhythm and I liked the use of the single word 'There.' It coveys the protagonist's thoughts very simply. I also like the final sentence as I would have been expecting 'fear' instead of 'thrill.' I am always lookign for 'boy books' so this seems promising.