Wednesday, January 15, 2014

January Secret Agent #13

TITLE: The Blood Train
GENRE: YA Horror

All Olivia could think about was forehead skin. Not in a crazy, I-want-to-chop-up-your-face kind of way. The inside of the taxi window was absolutely freaking disgusting. Smears and globs and flecks of mystery sludge spread across the surface making it impossible to see through without her eyes refocusing on the dirt. Then there were the foreheads. Maybe dozens. She could see the curves of the previous passengers’ eyebrows, temples, and the dip where their noses should go. Greasy leftovers of frustration.

Nobody drops their forehead to a nasty cab window if they’ve just won the lottery. No, they saved that particular germ-y disregard for the bad days.

Today was one of those days. Maybe not bad enough to touch that nasty window, but bad all the same. Olivia’s mom leaned forward on her side of the backseat, sticking her perfectly shaped nose within inches of the plexiglass separating them from the driver.

“I told you to take seventy-fifth. Park is a zoo after lunch!” she hollered. “How long have you been driving? What, did you just get off the boat, or something?”

Olivia shook her head. “Here we go,” she mumbled.

She watched the driver bow his head a bit. Not enough to be a nod, or a cower. It was as if he was trying to block himself from the sheer volume of her mother’s voice. Olivia pitied the man. He was like a knee-knocking trainer in the lion cage.

9 comments:

Ryan Hancock said...

Wow. This is the best one I've read so far. Very astute, professional writing. Great details that we don't often think about. Love the voice and the awkward situation. I'm good and hooked. Please win and be published so I can read you!!!

HeatherCRaglin said...

Great voice here. I love the "...I-want-to-chop-up-your-face..." line. I'd suggest cutting the first paragraph a bit, just because by the end it's a bit redundant. We (at least anybody who's ever been in a cab or a metro) understand what she's talking about.

Laura said...

I really like this one. The voice is engaging, you get a good sense of the MC, and you're showing us a lot about her mother.

In the second paragraph, consider "dropped" instead of drops. The change in tense is a little awkward. Also, since 75th is the name of the street, capitalize it. I would take out the comma in "nod or cower." But those are all minor corrections.

Kimberly VanderHorst said...

Oh. My. YES.

This is so beautifully done. I'm in the moment, I'm feeling what your character is feeling, and the imagery is incredible! The voice hooked me straight off, and your lovely writing kept me going. I've been skimming through entries and have paused to comment on the ones for which skimming was not enough. For what it's worth, you're in my top three here.

WOW.

Marc Ezra said...

Done. Just done.

This is just perfectly executed. From the first sentence, I'm hooked by the character's voice. And then it keeps going and I, a young adult male, can completely empathize. The little dialog in the excerpt also instantly shows us who mother, what she is like, and how your MC responds to her. I love it. Great job.

Summer Spence said...

LOVE.THIS.

I can FEEL the inside of this cab.

I don't know if you need the dash in "germ-y".

In the second and third paragraph, you repeat nasty to describe the cab window - maybe switch up that description.

But man, that's it. I want more!

I want to read more! Let me know if you need a beta or CP!

Mary W. said...

I think you need to Cut some of the description of the taxi/window down. After reading the whole posted piece, I feel I know more about the taxi on a personal level than I do about the main character, I want to know more about who she is.

I love the title of the book, it has me intrigued, but you need to build up the characters more here and focus less on the surroundings, be less descriptive of the cab, focus a little more on character interaction.

Good luck with your book

Barbara said...

I loved the description of the cab window, but on the other hand, how important is it?. Once we get out of the cab, will we ever see it again? Will you be using the state of that window as a metaphor for other things that happen in the story? Will it play into a theme? Does it have any relevance anywhere else? If not, you really don't need it, and the time and effort spent on it could have been spent on your MC who is the least relevant person on the page so far.

Perhaps you could slip in who the MC is and/or where they are going, and/or why this is a bad day, and then go into the state of the taxi cab window.

Having said that, I liked the description enough that I'd read on.

Secret Agent said...

I'm hooked! Your voice is great and I love the description of the cab window. I want to know more about Olivia and would definitely keep reading.