Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April Secret Agent #39

TITLE: Insignificant
GENRE: YA Speculative

The dust is by far the most interesting thing in this store.

An antique globe creaking in the corner and the crystal wind chimes swaying by the door can’t compare with the elegance of the motes. For a moment, I’m envious of their freedom, the way each speck is careless and ready to defy even the most fundamental laws of gravity while swirling in the sunbeams. But then there’s the tiniest drop of movement, a breath of air or the nearby steps of a body, and it’s too much for them to handle. They scatter, completely at the whim of their surroundings.
That’s why I’m fascinated by them. At first glance they’re defiant, but it turns out they’re just as powerless as the rest of us.

Footsteps thud against the hardwood floor. I turn as Trent snaps his pocket watch shut, the holographic interface sucking back inside the brass case. “The target should be out in eighty-five seconds.” He pauses next to a cabinet of fine china and looks at me as if I’m as fragile as one of the gold-trimmed plates. I can’t stand it. “You ready?”

His words settle in my ribcage, bringing with them a dull, aching pain. After years of assignments together, I can read Trent better than anyone, and his steady gaze tells me this question—the one that’s been lurking unsaid for weeks now—isn’t about the next few minutes. Once we achieve this final match, there’s no going back. My debt will finally be repaid.


  1. Oh boy! I love this opening! I love watching the dust motes with the character! It's such a beautifully simple thing, and yet we learn so much about the character's feelings and motivations!

    I recommend taking out "That's why I'm fascinated by them." We already know the character is fascinated by the dust, and it disrupts the beautiful picture you've created with your prose.

    I also got the feeling that they were on some sort of mission or the like, so the use of the word "match" in the last paragraph was confusing. Are they a sporting team? Are they assassins? I have a feeling my questions would probably be resolved if I could read on, so this is simply an observation.

    This is a really cool opening, and your style alone makes me want to read more! Beautiful work!

  2. Great opening.

    My only suggestion involves the last paragraph and that lengthy second sentence. Can you break it in two?

    Well done.

    Good luck!

  3. Very interesting and vivid opening paragraph. It feels disconnected from the rest of the sample, though, in that once Trent arrives, there's no more mention of anything in the first paragraph. Consider connecting them, perhaps by demonstrating the MC's displeasure at Trent's interrupting the dust admiration.

  4. That opening paragraph is beautiful, dreamy, and the last line brings us firmly back to reality along with the MC. I found Trent's coming in a little jarring, as the language shifted to being more straightforward.

    If you want to adjust the 'flowery' language in the first graph, you could, but I wouldn't want to abandon the dust motes altogether. Especially the line about their being powerless.

    I very much want to read more!

  5. Overall, I really like the premise so far. Just a few notes...

    Can a globe creak? Do you mean that it's slowly rotating and creaking?

    I like the description of dust a lot but I think it might help to replace one of the 'they's with 'the dust' or something similar. For me, at least, I forgot who 'they' was mid-paragraph and had to go back to check.

    Would you be able to see the interface of the pocket watch? From what I'm imagining you'd only see the casing as it closed.

    I would cut the first sentence of the last paragraph. Without it, I'm more focused on the dialogue and the relationship between the MC and Trent.

    Love the cliff-hangery ending!

    Hope that helps - good luck!

  6. Good first line! I like the comparison of the dust to the protagonist. I’m wondering though about the age in this story. The voice I’m hearing in my head sounds older than young adult. The line “After years of assignments together…” makes me feel like she (I’m guessing it’s a she since it doesn’t really say) is a cop, Trent is her partner and they’re waiting to snag their criminal. If I’m not right, then I would suggest going back and clarifying so readers won’t get confused.

    Thanks for entering!

  7. I wish I had something original to say, but like the others, I was really drawn in by the dust motes, thought 'That's why I'm fascinated by them.' was clearly shown so no need to tell, and that Trent's entrance was a bit jarring and disconnected. I was also confused by the use of 'match'.

    Otherwise, great start! Has me wishing for more.