Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October Secret Agent #31

TITLE: The Harvesters
GENRE: Young Adult Science Fiction

All days should end like this - triumphant, the adrenaline rush of the afternoon’s victory melting into something relaxing and sweet, the metallic tang of sweat and glory still on Ethan’s tongue.

Two deep voices joined Ethan’s chant, arms rising, fists smashing together in their team salute. “Fifteen. Twenty-six. Eighty-five. Hup. Oo, oo, oo. Gooooo Trojans.”

They dropped and rolled, taking each other down in a tackle before the whole formation dissolved into laughter. Matt slugged Ethan on the arm, his face cracking with a wide smile.

“Pass me a beer,” Tyler said. “It’s time to celebrate.”

Ethan dropped the tailgate on Tyler’s truck, reaching inside the cooler, pulling out three cans and handing them out. He settled onto the flatbed next to the cooler, stretching his long legs.

“There goes one. Did you see it?” Carlee pointed at the meteor blazing across the darkening sky, her voice rising like a kid at a fireworks show. Her goth façade slipped, turning her back into the girl from public school, the one his parents might approve of, not this edgy, unsettling creature.

Tyler grunted something that could have been a yes or a no, popping open his can. Glugging as he swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbed.

“There. You had to see that one,” she said.

“Yeah, I saw it.” Ethan would have agreed with her anyways, but this time he actually saw the meteor. Another one followed close behind, the biggest, longest shooting star he could have imagined.


  1. This is a very intriguing opening by its last image of the shooting star particularly. And I love how real it feels, with kids drinking beer even they shouldn't. Good work:)

  2. I really like your writing here, and can't find much to critique.

    BUT I would say that you need to set up some kind of stakes here, some kind of tension or hope or conflict. I get this is hard to do in the first 250 words, but readers (and agents) will be expecting it.

    Good luck!

  3. The style here is intriguing and sucks you in. My one crit is that the tense in the first paragraph is a bit funky.

  4. I think you have a strong opening sentence.('the metallic tang of sweat and glory' is excellent) I like the camaraderie of the friends. I was a little confused because you mention 'two voices' but then only show Tyler. The shift to Carlee watching the meteor shower could use one more line to switch from Ethan talking about the boys to her appearance.

    I would leave out the words "next to the cooler" to tighten that sentence.

    One more thing that was a bit off was the line describing Carlee. She sounds like the all American girl - watching a meteor shower like fireworks, but then you call her 'this edgy unsettling creature'. Those to descriptions work against each other.

    Overall, I like your writing and I'm intrigued by the story based on the opening two lines. In the few paragraphs that come next, I'd like to see more of the boys and what their victory was about.

  5. Good setting, gets us intrigued and wondering how teens are acting like teens but obviously in a different world or time.
    I did have some trouble with identifying exactly which was the main character early on.

    Overall a good start, keep writing!

  6. I liked this one. Though we don't know quite what the conflict is going to be yet, the title and genre coupled with the longest shooting star gives an eerie hint.

  7. This scene is set up well, it depicts teen life authentically and the meteor is a nice touch to show how this isn’t any ordinary day. The meteor creates immediate danger and suspense.

  8. A nice opening. You've introduced the characters, they're doing teen things, and I think it's safe to assume those meteors will be important in some way, considering this is sf.

    I did think you could use a better introduction to Carlee, because we don't know she exists until she speaks, and I had no idea where she came from. Was she with the boys in the beginning, or had she been waiting in the truck?

  9. I like the voice here and how we are getting to know the characters before there's too much sci-fi action.