Thursday, August 7, 2014

Are You Hooked? #8

TITLE: Round Robin
GENRE: Thriller

The little boy climbed onto the rail, reached, pulled himself up the stone wall, then scrabbled along the top and under the leafy branches. He was about six, a pudgy kid in a red shirt and tan shorts, his hair curling sweaty around his face. No one noticed. They were all too occupied watching the polar bear in the enclosure, who at that very moment rose on his back legs, paws in air, and lowed morosely into the sunlight. But I wasn’t too occupied. No, I followed the boy, one, two, swung my legs onto the wall and into the viridian shade.

Good, said my Client.

The boy’s mother rooted around in the underbelly of a stroller while a toddler - his sister - screeched with fury at the heat, the crowds, maybe at the helplessness of being strapped into a vehicle and carted around God knows where, or why, when all she wanted was her dolly, and her blankie, and her bottle.

I sympathized with the baby. If I could've solved my problems by opening my mouth and letting loose howls of anger and frustration, I would've done so years ago.

The boy clambered higher, thrusting his chin out, his young skin moist with humidity.

He’s afraid, said my Client, whose name was Booth, and who was my guide and controller today, moving my body with the help of a chip his unit implanted just to the left of my cerebral cortex. And he hates his sister, Booth added.


  1. Good setting of the scene, with some nice word choices--I love "lowed morosely into the sunlight"!

    The fact that the mother doesn't notice the boy climbing onto the rail gave me a little pause, but I guess if she's occupied with the baby...? Maybe the baby could spill something, and so the mother's attention is diverted further? I don't know; I'm not a mother, so maybe I will leave it to others to see how plausible that is.

    Anyway, good beginning. I would read on.

  2. Very interesting beginning. It brings up all sorts of questions (in a good way) that make me want to read more to find out who/what our narrator is and why he's controlled by a chip in his brain. One small small thing, saying "No one noticed" stood out to me since the narrator obviously noticed. It made me question the POV at first, so maybe just say "No one but me noticed" just to make it clear that this is not the boy's story. Also, it seems a little odd to refer to Booth as "my Client" in the first reference since the narrator knows his name. This pulled me out of the story a bit. Also, is the "Good" for the boy going into the enclosure or for the narrator following him? I wasn't sure what that meant. Overall, very intriguing! Good luck!

  3. This is great--definitely, I'm hooked. I'm having a little difficulty picturing the opening scene, though; some more specific description would help.
    I'm interested in how and why the Client is directing the MC.

  4. I wonder if we could do this without the “He was”.

    Doing the description this way sort of stops the great momentum you built in the opening sentence.

    Here’s where you could work it in.

    “No, I followed the boy, a pudgy kid about six years old in a red shirt and tan shorts, his hair curling sweaty around his face, and one, two, swung my legs onto the wall and into the viridian shade.”

    It is an intriguing opening, especially with the mysterious Client named Booth. It’s a little confusion at first, but you clear it up by the end.

    It did seem odd for Client to say “good.” I also wonder how Client knows so much about what is going on. He seems almost omniscient.

    @ seaaircarol - completely plausible, especially having a toddler and a young one.

  5. This is set up well with just enough of a hint of the story.

    My only quibble is "hair curling sweaty." Maybe write, "hair curling with sweat." Otherwise, good job. You have just enough details to give us the setting and something of the characters without overwhelming the readers.

  6. I think it's interesting but difficult to follow. Two people on the wall and no one notices? I'm having difficulty with that. If the wall isn't in front of the enclosure, sure. Where is the wall? The mother being distracted? Sadly, that I do accept.

    I don't know why you added sympathizing with the baby, I don't think it added anything to telling me so the narrator is.

    The narrator is the problem I see. 250 words is a page. At the end of the first page, we have potential conflict, but don't know who the character is. I wouldn't give it much longer. I'm curious, but I don't like to be teased. Tempted and led along by clues, sure, but not teased by information I should have but is being withheld. My recommendation is to tighten up this first interaction and introduce the character faster.

  7. What a nice creepy tone this has.

    I found it confusing at first. I imagined this kid was maybe at a rural train station, what with the mention of a rail and wall and branches, then I found myself at a zoo, which was jarring. Once at the zoo, I couldn't imagine what wall he was climbing, except perhaps the wall in front of the exhibit, in which case people would notice. So perhaps a better description of the setting is necessary?

    You might change 'his sister' to 'the boy's sister' because, while I know who you mean, technically, the last he is the client, which means it's his sister.

    THe boy's mom rooting around in the stroller contradicts the earlier statement that everyone was watching the polar bear.

    I'd really like to know what this wall is, that a six year old can climb it effortlessly. I think we do need a better description.

    I'm also wondering what the boy is afraid of. If he was scared, it would seem he would cling to his mother rather than wandering off.

    The last parg is what saves this for me. Now I have good questions. WHo or what is the guy? Why can't he walk without help from the client? WHo is the client and what interest does he have in the boy? (I'm thinking he's maybe an ex?)

    I'd read more.