Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September Secret Agent #9

Title: With These Wings
Genre: YA Science Fiction

The desperate scream roused Cole from the exhausted stupor he’d been in for the last several minutes. He jerked to his feet before his eyes were even fully open. “Phoenyx!” He grabbed her wrist, but she was already moving, springing from sleep to her feet and ready to run.

“Blake!” They both spun on his sister, who somehow had managed to sleep through the chaos that had erupted from beyond the ally they thought would be safe. Blake stirred, her eyes fluttering open, but Phoenyx had her by the hand, tugging her to her feet as they turned to run.

Everyone in the alley was screaming and running and crying, desperate to get away. The girl who had woken him—Brookell if he remembered right—jerked her sister Kaydree to her feet and shoved her forward with the rest of them.

They rounded the corner, Cole in the lead, without pausing to check first.

It was the worst mistake Cole had ever made in his life.

The alien—a Garce—waited in front of him, sucking light from everything around it, drool dripping from teeth glimmering in the shadows of its mouth. Cole spun, shoving Phoenyx and Blake back into the alley. “The other way! Go, go go!”

Phoenyx was already running. Before the world had ended and the Garce had shown up, she’d been a track star. As a junior in high school, colleges had started recruiting her. Now, her speed had kept her alive.


  1. This is a nice open. I like the immediacy of the action, and I love the description of the alien. My only constructive criticism would be to go through with a red pen and strike out the passive verbs (were/had) and make sure your adjectives are not repetitive.

    That being said, this opening is really promising to me and I would want to read more. Good luck!

  2. There's a lot of great action going on here, however there are 4 or 5 characters introduced and that can be quite daunting for the reader to keep up with. I'm not quite sure who the MC is.

  3. Nice active opening, and interesting as well.

    Cut the - It was the worst mistake . . . . parg. We see, in the next parg, that it was a mistake. And cut the last parg. starting with 'Before the world had ended . . ." You're leaving the story to give us back story. Keep us in the moment. We can learn about Pheonyx's prowess on the track field later, in a slower moment.

    I did wonder about the 'chaos beyond the alley' part. All you gave us was a scream, which isn't chaos, so maybe build that up a bit more.

  4. Good opening. Panic and action, followed by the sudden introduction of an alien. The story problem is immediately apparent.

    Some of the wording could be cut/tightened. The line about 'It was the worst mistake...' is unnecessary as it's pretty obvious. The line about Blake... They both spun on his sister... could be removed. It slows down the pace a bit with information about the ally being safe. Which is not the case. Go straight to grabbing Blake and running.

    Wonderful premise. I would read on.

  5. I agree that it's great to start with action and immediately draw the reader in, but I was confused by all the characters being introduced at once. I had no idea who was who! I would suggest focusing on one or two main characters at first. Give us some action and a little background on them--just enough to get to know them a little. Then, add in your other characters. Good luck to you!

  6. Watch all your repetitions and prepositions throughout. I see a lot of “to run” throughout as well as repetitions of “spun”. At one point the spun on Cole’s sister which makes it sound like they’re on top of her rather than turning to see her! You are throwing a lot of names at us in a short period of time and I feel like you’re about at maximum capacity right now. The worry when you introduce too many people at once especially in a ‘running away from an alien’ opening scene, I haven’t started caring enough about anyone to feel one person’s panic let alone five. (By default you do care about the narrator, but I think you see my point here.)

    Definitely think you should cut the ‘worst mistake of his life’ line as you’re telling the reader it was a mistake, whereas you show it’s a mistake when they run into the Garce. With having an action scene, don’t stop to give us the back story on Phoenyx being a track start. That’s the stuff to filter in once they all (hopefully) escape. It needs some cleaning up but I find it to be a strong opening. Well done!