Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September Secret Agent #24

Genre: YA Time Travel Romance

Oh my god, it’s hot up here. Hot and beautiful. The airplane hit another thermal, and it did that thing where my stomach felt heavy and then light—all in half a second. I forced myself to look outside at the horizon instead of the airplane instruments. Watching the altimeter go up and down, and back up again was making me nauseous.

Sweat dripped down my neck, and my voice cracked. “Is this any better?”

“More right rudder, Willow!” My flight instructor, Paul frowned and mashed the rudder pedal to the floor, as if to show me how it was supposed to be done.

“Okay. Got it.” My response was quiet instead of yelling back at him. I hadn’t been this frustrated while flying since I had switched flight instructors early on in my training, a few months ago. Paul was usually much more patient with me. What was his problem? Oh yeah. We were in a small plane, 8,500 feet high, and I was screwing everything up. I needed to do this right. This had been a tough day. All of my maneuvers sucked. They weren’t to standard, and I really needed to redeem myself. Shake it off, Willow! You’ve got this. Besides, what were other seventeen-year-old girls doing right now? Walking around the mall? Lying in bed texting? Not me. I was flying a plane. I blew out a flustered breath and tried to brush away the long wisps of hair that were plastered to my neck from sweat.


  1. As a nineteen-year-old I am pretty interested to see how this seventeen-year-old swung flying lessons; those things are expensive! And parents barely want us to drive at that age let alone fly a plane. Okay, okay, done being jealous now ;)

    Some of your sentences feel a bit choppy. Although maybe it is okay, because she is in a stressful situation. Or is she looking back remember one? Aright, I went back and reread it. The first sentence "Oh my god, it's hot up here." is present tense and everything else is past. I don't know if you meant it like that or not, but it is confusing.

    Have fun writing!

  2. I really like this one, it has great voice! Just two things, the last paragraph is a little long. And like Melissa mentioned that first sentence is present tense while the rest is past. It could work because its a thought and just like dialogue doesn't have to be said in past tense, but just something to look out for. Good luck!

  3. I love the opening lines as it reminds me of being in small craft planes when younger. However, the tense makes me feel as if they should be either external or internal dialogue.

    A couple small details throughout to explain the more technical terms (rudder) might help. You can do that with actions and context. I don't think it's an issue so early in the story but you might want to watch out for it as you get further in.

    Great sensory details though and a vivid start. I'm curious to find out what happens next!

  4. I love this. The combo of the first two sentences were perfect. After that it was fast paced yet we still got to know the character through her reactions and thoughts. I'm totally in. Where's the rest? ;)

  5. I love this. Love. If I were in your shoes (I'm not) I'd straighten out some of the internal dialogue. She has a lot of things like "that sucked" and "Oh Yeah." It sounds good when you say it, but sometimes (not all the time), language like that starts to make it's self noticed, if that makes sense. It starts to take away from the flow and ebb of the words. This is a less is more issue.

    I love that you have an MC flying a plane on your first page, and I want the rest of this. In fact, I want your twitter handle so I can start counting the days until this book is released so I can buy it (or blog or FB, or whatever social media thing you do so I can be around when this releases!).

  6. I'm going to disagree with everyone else here and say to change your first line, since it's generic and doesn't incite me at all. Maybe you can find a way to add some uniqueness to it. If you were to bring in the 8,500 feet high part or some other aspect of flying, I'd instantly be drawn into the story.

    I agree with Rena that overuse of internal like "that sucked" and "Oh, yeah" can stick out like a sore thumb if used too often, which I think it is. Cut some of it and make Willow's voice more realistic, so she doesn't sound like a stereotypical teen from a MTV show.

    Otherwise, I loved it!

  7. I liked the start of this quite a bit. I think you’re better off starting with “the airplane hit another thermal”, however, it’s much more attention grabbing. Saying it’s hot up here and then mentioning an airplane… I’m thinking she’s in a commercial airliner that’s air conditioned to the point of freezing. Then find out it’s a smaller plane… I’d rather get some of those details in the first paragraph. Just a word or two would make all the difference.

    Where you lost me, however, was the final paragraph. You shifted into a stream of consciousness and I lost the great voice I had from the first few paragraphs. I don’t mind getting her internal dialogue, especially since we’re in a first person POV. Just tone back that last paragraph a bit.

    I’m definitely interested to see how the time travel aspect plays into this!

  8. I know what’s happening here, but I don’t know why, and I think we need that. Why is it hot in the plane? Is it just that she’s so nervous, is it heat from the engine, an extremely hot day, a fire on board? Let us know where this heat is coming from.

    And then it’s beautiful, but you never mention anything ‘beautiful’ nor is she even looking out the window and enjoying the view. She’s staring at the altimeter and feeling nauseous. Perhaps give us one beautiful scene or cut the word.

    Why is she frustrated? What’s going on? Is she thinking about something else? Has Paul asked her to do something difficult? Things happen for a reason. Tell us why.

    And the sweat. If we know why it’s so hot, we can say, “Okay, that’s why she’s sweating so much.” Without knowing why, there seems to be too much emphasis on the sweat. Perhaps tone it down if there’s no real justification for it.

    You need italics or quotes for those first two sentences. Perhaps even their own parg.

    The last parg. could be several smaller ones. It makes for an easier read and is more inviting.

    My response was quiet – telling and passive. Perhaps, I responded quietly.