Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April Secret Agent #42

TITLE: Vision
GENRE: YA Thriller

Something slithers down the back of my neck. I swipe at it, expecting a mosquito, but pull back a wet hand. “Why is it so hard to breathe?” I wonder, but my eyelids are too heavy. Just as my lashes dust my cheeks, my waist buzzes, jolting me awake. I kick off the quilt that’s suddenly suffocating me and make myself roll over. Two AM. Ugh, I’m too tired for this. I unclip the insulin pump from my pajamas and look at the screen. Thirty-two. Uh oh. I press the graphing button. My blood sugar’s been falling for over an hour — why hadn’t I woken up sooner? I reach for the juice box on my night table. Empty. I fall back onto the bed and fight against my eyes — they want to close so badly. Nope, gotta get up. I strain to lift my leaden head from the pillow. Blood is pulsing at my temples and I feel the thud of each struggling heartbeat vibrating in my chest. The tip of my tongue is already tingling with a numbness that would slur my speech if there was anyone here to talk to.

I listen for footsteps running down the hall, but no one is coming. Right, I remember, I’d made my mom turn off the pump alerts on her phone last week on my birthday. It was my present to her, although she didn’t see it that way.

23 comments:

  1. You skipped #41?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very suspenseful. I’m right there with her, feeling the growing panic. Two things: “Something slithers” makes me think she/he’s in a cave, and I’m still not sure what it is by the end of the passage, which is fine, but maybe a tighter adjective. If she assumes it’s a mosquito, wouldn’t it tickle/flutter?

    Also, there are a few unnecessary verbs that pull the reader ever-so-slightly away from the action: “Blood is pulsing at my temples and I feel the thud of each struggling heartbeat vibrating in my chest”/ Blood pulses at my temples and the thud of each struggling heartbeat vibrates in my chest. We’re a bit more there with her.

    “Right, I remember, I’d made my mom turn off…” Right. I’d made Mom turn off…

    This is a simple, realistic event portrayed with a LOT of drama. Damn, what happens next?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi JMK,

      Thanks so much for your comments. You are totally right, I've already made the suggested changes. Thank you for pointing them out.

      All the Best,

      DKD

      Delete
  3. This passage instantly grabbed my attention. I'm really excited that you chose to address diabetes. I found the combination of "slither" and "mosquito" to be confusing. It might help if you make it more clear that the thing that is slithering is a bead of sweat. It took my brain a moment to catch up, but I got there.

    Overall, this was a suspenseful opening that raised all the right questions to pique my interest and left me hungry for the answers. I was particularly interested in the relationship between the character and their mother. I wish I could read the rest! Best of luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bri,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment on my page. I will definitely work on the imagery in the first sentence--thanks for your help!

      All the Best,

      DKD

      Delete
  4. Because this is labeled Thriller and the opening something slithers, I'm waiting for scary stuff to happen. Right. Now.

    When it turns out to be her insulin levels, I can't shake the thought that something else is in her bed.

    I think the others have already commented about this.

    Otherwise, I love this opening. That she had Mom turn off the alerts is classic young adult apron-string cutting stuff.

    Well done!

    Good luck :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ellen,

      Thanks very much for your comments. Will definitely change slithers!

      DKD

      Delete
  5. I'm not in love with 'something slithers' as starting words. It calls to mind a snake or creeping bug bigger than a mosquito to me. Like a centipede or millipede. Ugh, yuck. Anyway, it's unclear to me what the slithering thing actually ends up being? Is it sweat? She's sweaty? Forgive the ignorance, I know nothing of diabetes personally.
    Even without the knowledge, this passage totally conveys the problem our heroine faces with it. Being a thriller, I like how that juxtaposes against the idea that later she'll be slaying metaphorical dragons.
    Also I think the first paragraph could be broken up into more paragraphs. It might pull the eye along better. Eyes moving quickly down a page would add to the reader feeling of 'what's going to happen next? Is she going to make it to the kitchen?'
    I love the line about turning off her mom's notifications. Exactly what I would have done as a teenager. And I would be so very unhappy with my daughter asking the same from me. So great line there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi MapWorm,

      Thanks so much for commenting. I will definitely change slithers. I originally had it as a bead of sweat, but some early readers said it was too obvious--will have to rework the whole sentence.

      As a type one diabetic, that bead of sweat sliding down the back of my neck is often what wakes me in the middle of the night.

      Will also break up the paragraph.

      Thanks very much for your help!

      DKD

      Delete
  6. This intro got my attention right away (and I thought it looked familiar--it was on Flogging the Quill a while back. Go you for persistence!), the medical emergency raises immediate questions. I want to know why her equipment failed, and how she's going to rescue herself when she's feeling ill.

    What really gets me is the line about making Mom turn her alert off. If anything, I would trim the first paragraph to get to it sooner.

    I agree with comments about slithering--neither mosquitoes nor sweat slither, in my mind. Is there another verb you could use?

    This is YA, and a thriller, so I think more white space would be helpful to a) create tension, and b) make for a smoother read. Some people will look at a giant opening graph and close the book right there, which we do not want! You can almost never have too much white space, so be generous.

    A great start that makes me want to see more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi BeFleet,

      Thanks so much for commenting. Yes, I did post on Flogging the Quill--hope it's getting better!

      DKD

      Delete
  7. My thoughts are the same as everyone else's. Break up that first parg., and get rid of slithers. Also, how long would her eyelashes have to be to dust her cheeks? You might also look for ways to say the same things in a more succinct way.

    And while I think you need this scene (because the reader will have to understand how diabetes affects her) I wonder if it's the scene to start with. If this is a thriller, you may want to start with something related to that. It would seem her diabetes would be a complication and/or subplot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Barbara,

      Thanks very much for your comments. On my next page, an intruder is in the house. My mc's low sugar is the reason she's awake to hear someone walking around. While she hides, her pump goes off again, the intruder hears it. So, I feel it's important enough to the scene to start with it, but I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.

      Thanks again,

      DKD

      Delete
  8. Low blood sugar is an intense opener.
    But some of the sentences read clunky, words can be trimmed or combined to improve pacing. I also like how this blood sugar crisis is different because mom no longer receives the alerts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anita,

      Thanks very much for your comments. Will take another pass to trim unnecessary words.

      Thanks again,

      DKD

      Delete
  9. I wasn’t particularly fond of the first sentence. The something slithering down her neck sounded too paranormal instead of suspense, especially when we realized she was just sweating.

    I did like the description of what she was going through with the low blood sugar. It helped show the urgency of the situation, highlighted her weakened state and showed her consideration for her mother and her desire to try and handle this alone. It all sounded very contemporary and made me curious how it’ll go to thriller.

    Thanks for entering!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Secret Agent,

      Thanks so much for your comments and thoughts. Definitely reworking the first sentence.

      Thanks again,

      DKD

      Delete
  10. I really enjoyed the suspense here. The "Something slithers" was a little of an unintended misdirection, but that's been addressed. The passage about the insulin pump was very well done. I learned a lot about his MC in just those few sentences.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jeff,

      Thanks very much for your comments and encouragement!

      DKD

      Delete
  11. An MC with diabetes is, I think, a great idea. Reading about debilitating diseases/problems making situations even more out of control is what pulls readers in. We think, how the hell will they handle THIS? I really liked this beginning, but I must agree with the other comments: the word "slithers" conjures other imagery.

    Keep pushing with this story!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Amy,

      Thanks for your comments and encouragement. The 'slither' is definitely history!

      DKD

      Delete
  12. Love the idea of a diabetic MC and that she has recently made her mom turn of the alerts as an assertion of her independence. I do wonder, though, what she has done to prove to her mom that she has earned the chance to manage this condition on her own. I suspect this a key element to the thriller part of the story and would like a few teasing details.

    One thing you might consider to increase the pace and tension is to reword toward a more active voice. As an example: Blood pulses at my temples. Panicked heartbeats vibrate in my chest. The tip of my tongue tingles with a numbness that would slur my speech if there was anyone to talk to ... I expect footsteps, but no one comes.

    Keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Jen,

    Thanks very much for your comments. I totally agree. The changes you suggested would improve the passage.

    Thanks again!

    DKD

    ReplyDelete