Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Secret Agent #15

TITLE: Beautiful Woods
GENRE: YA Dark Fantasy

It was her laugh that first caught Mecca’s attention. The opposite of the sharp, giggles normal teenage girls break into when they tell secrets. This girl’s scratched deeper, huskier, like she’d recently recovered from a cold. She’d coughed a little too, and Mecca couldn’t resist stepping from her hiding place to sneak a glance at the girl’s face.

Breath caught in her throat. The girl was perfect. Perfect. She had the same Mayan tan complexion, big brunette eyes, and pixie-shaped face. The hair was wrong, but that could be fixed. She was even the right age. Mecca bit her lip and blew air hard through her nostrils. She looked just like Laila. She could be her.

Mecca had been following the girl for almost an hour while she shopped with her friends, stared at jewelry and boys, laughed, held hands, and tried on clothes. They’d finally stopped to catch a film, bogged down with shopping bags and Icees, popcorn and candy. It was dark in the theater, but Mecca could make out every detail.

She’d already separated the girl’s scent from the three girls and memorized it, listening only for the tone of her voice above the others. She watched for her to move an arm, check her phone, flick her hair, anything. It was a game. When she moved, Mecca would inhale. If she leaned over to whisper to her friends, Mecca would exhale.

She had to have this girl. None other would do.


  1. Creepy. Very intriguing. My only suggestion is that in the third paragraph you change "had been following" to "followed." You're showing me that she's seeing the girl for the first time in the second paragraph, then "had been following" makes it feel like the third paragraph happened BEFORE she saw her, but that's impossible based on the description, so it's jarring. Great start! I'd definitely keep reading. Good luck!

  2. Awesomely creepy. I like how it went from aw, cute, to stalker, to hunter. The 'had been following' threw me too, but that's an easy fix.

  3. Okay, that's creepy. In a good, disturbing way. I'm already on edge. Lol! The "had been following" threw me off as well. I know what you're going for, but the transition between that and getting to the movies is awkward.

  4. Couldn't agree more with the other three. So creepy! And I love woods in fantasy novels so I'm really interested to see where this story goes. That last line is spine tingling.

  5. Well done in setting the stage here for some dark, sinister stuff. You immediately get a feel that there is a much larger world here that we are getting a taste of. I'd definitely read some more pages to see where this went.

  6. I love that your character's name is Mecca, it makes me think that there's going to be something Middle Eastern about your setting or your character - but then nothing else really made me think that, so I'd love to have more context - it's still a beautiful name either way! Similarly with the name Laila. So far you've given me great clues about your characters just by their name choice, but in all these four paragraphs that's all I get except for "Mayan tan complexion" that gives me context - I'd love to know more.

    In the second paragraph: "She had the same Mayan tan complexion" - the same as what? As the main character?

    I want to know what city they're in, some more clues as to their families their culture. Some of the lines here are too generic "stared at jewelry and boys, laughed, held hands, and tried on clothes" - I'd rather see her doing on of these things and doing it with description, rather than have it be mentioned as an aside. Perhaps cut those parts and let us know we are in a theater from the start. Or let us know that Mecca is trailing her from the start - that she follows her into a theater.

    All in all I'm certainly intrigued and I'd read more, but I think there are some ways that you could tweak this opening and focus in on what we're seeing with more detail.

    Thanks for entering!

  7. Thank you for the comments everyone! I will definitely apply these in my revision.