Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April Secret Agent #5

GENRE: YA thriller

   A siren’s sound in the night woke her from a deep sleep. After the sound faded, Taylor fell back into a fitful doze, and when her alarm buzzed in the early morning, she started awake, her tongue gritty, her left cheek mottled from the imprint of her pillow.

     Scramble time.

     She grabbed a wrinkled sweatshirt, pulled on the same jeans she’d worn yesterday, and twirled her hair into a messy knot. No way she’d wow with her beauty, but it wasn’t as if this day would be any different from any other day at Wayne County High. After almost six weeks, she was still New Girl Nobody.

     She stepped from the wide veranda turning headphones on full blast. Even though she hated the local broadcast called “The Mouth of the South,” she tuned in every morning because she couldn’t help her fascination/irritation with the blather the DJ spewed to a half-awake world.

     “… a monogramed handkerchief left behind, the name Terry spelled out in blood-red stitches.”  A long pause.  “Terry?” the DJ said, acting surprised at his own story. “The infamous Terry Waller?

     Taylor ripped the headphones from her ears and shook her head. Stupid.

     A shoe scuffled on the gravel path. She listened, alert for the slightest sound.

     A throat cleared.

     A branch cracked sending goosebumps up her neck.  She whipped her head around, her hair loosening from its knot, flying in her face. She walked faster, holding her breath until the gravel drive turned to smooth asphalt.


  1. I enjoyed this page. She certainly is uneasy and I'm curious to know why. The first paragraph seems out of place and could be replaced with a follow-up sentence after "Scramble time." Perhaps something like: Scramble time. The morning came too early after night sirens had destroyed any chance at a good night's sleep.
    Just a thought.

    1. Thanks for your feedback. Like the suggestion for new beginning.

  2. Very intriguing, and the voice of the character was great - self-deprecating but humorous at the same time! Only suggestion: get to the action sooner! It's great to have her being chased, but maybe have it happen while she's listening to her headphones? It'll amp up the tension and pacing in the first page. Otherwise, great job, I want to read more!

  3. There's certainly a lot of tension here, the suggested sirens, the new girl, the handkerchief left behind, the presence of someone heard but not seen.

    I agree with getting to the action sooner. Does Taylor interact with her parents before she leaves or is it normal for her to be the last out of the house? Would her parents leave her a note, maybe urging her to go a safer way to school rather than her preferred short-cut? Maybe start earlier in the DJ's broadcast with a weaving in of the MC's status as the new girl. Maybe she's in a hurry because she overslept, her night interrupted by sirens? Maybe she's hearing a part of the broadcast she usually misses because she'd already be at school? I really want to hear more of the blather to get an idea of what fascinates/irritates her. This would add some meat to the 'new girl' bones.

    It might also bump up the tension if we're given a hint as to why Terry Waller is infamous, if Taylor recognizes the name, and if so, what it means to her.

  4. I like the voice and the writing. I just don't think the first para is needed since it doesn't add to what's happening next. Besides that, great job

  5. You have good tension here. I like it. The only thing that I would comment on is that the first two paragraphs aren't really necessary. You could start it straight from her stepping on the veranda and have it not mess up the story in any way. It's become a little cliche nowadays to start a story when them waking up, dreaming and then waking up and contemplating the dream so if you can rework it and start right in the heart of where the action truly lies, it'll make the story that much sweeter.

    Thanks for entering!

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I'd worried about the first paragraph. Now I know where to start.

  6. I agree with starting on the veranda. We don't need to see her wake up or get dressed. We'll assume she did this. And that will get you started with the action right away.

  7. I agree the first paragraph can go, it is not needed and just sounds cliche. At first I thought "Scramble time." would be a great opener, especially since its a thriller and that sounds like something interesting and urgent is about to happen...except that nothing urgent happens. She seems quite leisurely "stepping" from the veranda, putting on headphones, etc. It seems like it gets interesting when the other person arrives, so I would start closer to there