Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April Secret Agent #24

TITLE: WHEN THE PAST KNOCKS
GENRE: Adult Thriller

Thursday – Day Two

Sometimes it’s wiser to forget a day than to try remembering it, but being wise was the least of Jeffrey Blake’s worries. He clenched his fist, fearing the knife at his throat would prick his skin. Again! Or worse—kill him. He wanted to get out, run away, run for his life. He couldn’t move. I don’t want to die.

A blunt voice rattled him, crawled under his skin. “You’re responsible.”

Blake cracked his eyes open, stifled a cry, and shot up in bed, his body covered in cold sweat.
The seasons’ first brisk morning breeze streaming through the window raised his hair, but he still felt as if his head had collided with a concrete wall at full throttle: his brain—derailed. A memory gushed back—the knife. Instinctively he threw a hand to his throat. He pushed out his breath, but couldn’t shake off the uncanny feeling that something wasn’t right.

He tilted his head to the side. She was asleep, purring next to him. Last thing he needed was throwing his wife into the same panic he felt streaming through him. With care he peeled himself out of the blankets and sneaked to the spacious granite en-suite bathroom.

His body cried out for water, reminding him of times when he’d had too many drinks, but the water he gulped straight from the tap didn’t kill his thirst, nor did splashing it in his face help lift the fog.
I’m alive. How?

14 comments:

  1. This line: "He clenched his fist, fearing the knife at his throat would prick his skin. Again! Or worse—kill him." I would condense to him simply being afraid the knife would kill him. That's more dramatic. At the least, the word "prick" isn't frightening enough.

    Beginning with a dream is a risky move as it's a common trope, but you pull it off well.

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    1. Thank for your feedback. Will work on the line you mentioned. And yes, I read over and over not to start with a dream, but I tried to make clear that it's not actually a dream. Glad you liked it.

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  2. I like how you began it on Day Two, but the dream/memory confused me. I also started my entry with a dream that was more of a memory. I think it works here. I agree that the word "prick" is not strong enough. Maybe you "slice," or "rip open." I don't really like the use of purring for the sound the wife makes sleeping. It sounds too much like a cat (and at first I thought it was one). I'm sure you can find another word to describe the sound. Otherwise, it makes me curious as to what is happening and what will happen next. Good luck with it!

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    1. Thanks for your feedback. I will certainly change the word "prick". Most likely I'll use slice. And I'm sure I can find something better than purring. Thank you again.

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  3. There's a strong sense of danger here, and it's important to start with action, but I want to know why this particular nightmare bothers this particular person (other than the fear of waking up his wife).

    I'm really drawn in by the first line and the first paragraph, but the moment the action becomes a dream, I tend to wander off. I want to know more about this MC and his relationship to the person holding the knife at his throat. What is the tension there and why does the MC constantly dream about dying, not just dying once, but again?

    Food for thought ...

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    1. Thank you for your feedback. Reading the other replies, it's clear to be that the word AGAIN seems to confuse the situation. Not only that. I have to make clearer that it's not a dream. This is however revealed in the next few lines after the 250, but I think I have to bring that forward. Thanks again

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  4. I find the tension on this page just right. There's only so much you can pack into 250 words and I'm getting a real sense of panic, which encourages me to read on -- I'm sure all the other questions are answered very shortly.

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    1. Thank you for your feedback. It's encouraging. And as you say, it's hard to fit everything into 250.

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  5. You have started with the dreaded dream sequence. I know it's not a dream, but I only know that because you told us in your comment. The thing about openings like this is that they're exciting, they pull you in, and just as you're getting to the really good part, the mc wakes up. As a reader, I'm disappointed. Always. Because the thing that always happens after the dream, is mundane stuff like getting out of bed and getting dressed, followed by backstory. And that's what happens here. He gets up, looks at his wife, and gets a drink of water. It just doesn't compare to the excitement in the dream.

    The only other thing that stood out to me was the last lines. I'm alive. How? It seems the answer would be the same as all other times he had the dream or vision. He's acting surprised to be alive, but why would he be surprised if he's had this vision multiple times. (When the knife is pricking his neck, he says "Again.")

    It's well written. The dream is exciting, but perhaps conventional wisdom should be adhered to in this case. Start somewhere else. Or, if he somehow leaves his body and goes to this place where he's attacked, show that happen, then show the knife scene.

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    1. Thank you for your great feedback. Since it's been mentioned twice now, I have to change the word AGAIN, or actually eliminate it. It just confuses the situation. I also think it's inevitable to move the next lines after the 250 forward. There is becomes clear that it's not a dream. It's a memory. And that's what makes it different from a normal dream like other stories. But he doesn't realize that it's not a dream until he find the cut on his throat. Yes, confusing. And that's why I have to make that clearer. Thanks for your help.

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  6. I liked the first line, it was strong. But I wondered what was happening next. He had knife at his throat, afraid to prick himself, but saying he didn’t want to die. Was he being possessed?

    Oh it was a dream. So his last name is Blake, right? So why is it being used in the sentence “Blake cracked his eyes open..”? It almost made me forget his first name. Also, starting a book where the character dreams and wakes up has been noted as starting to be clichĂ© since a lot of people have been doing it. I would suggest starting in a different part of the story since this doesn’t seem to be too detrimental in the layout of the story.

    Thanks for entering!

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    1. Thank you so much for your feedback. It means a lot to me. I'm sure I'm not not only one appreciating it ;-) I know now that I have to make clear that it's not a dream like everyone suspects it is. I already have an idea.

      I was a little confused about the comment about the name, though. Everyone calls him Blake. The only ones calling him Jeff are his wife and sister. It can probably be compared to Jack Reacher who is always Reacher or Harry Bosch who is always Bosch. But I didn't explain his name preference into the first 250 because he has other problems than his name at that stage. Though it does become clear later on that he's always Blake. Just thought I had to clarify that. Thank you so much again. I'm having a much clearer picture of what I've been doing wrong.

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  7. I think you have a strong voice, and your story problem is enough to make me want to turn the page.

    I'm not crazy about the exclamation point after 'Again' in the first paragraph.

    I believe you have the apostrophe in the wrong place in the word seasons'. It would go after the 's' if the possession was in regard to multiple seasons. If it is in fact one season, it should read 'season's'.

    Other than that, I wanted to know what happened to Blake and would've read on.

    Good Luck,

    DKD

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    1. Thank you for your feedback. And yes, you're right. Seasons' is wrong since it's one season. Thanks for pointing that out. And AGAIN will certainly go. So many commented about it that I can see how much it confuses. glad you liked it otherwise. Thank you again

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