Wednesday, May 16, 2018

May Secret Agent Contest #1

GENRE: MG Science fiction

The rabbit screamed.

Kate gripped it around its torso. Who would believe a creature this small could make such a horrific noise? Like a child torn from its mother—or father.

Bam. Crash. Thud.

She sucked in a breath. Thinking about Dad's accident wouldn't help the rabbit.

Kate sat cross-legged in the dirt and cradled the animal in her lap. The snare, meant for a wolf, cut into the rabbit's leg and blood oozed into its brown-grey fur. She grabbed its hind ankles.

It kicked.

"Watch it!" She rubbed the fresh scratches on her arm. "I'm just trying to help, OK?"

She turned the rabbit to point its legs in a safer direction and pressed her forearm against its chest. The beat of the animal's tiny heart fluttered against her wrist. When she slid a finger under the wire of the snare, the rabbit screamed again.

"Shhh." Kate hummed a few notes of something, something someone had once sung to her probably.
The rabbit grunted and jerked.

She covered its eyes and stroked its forehead with her thumb. If it kicked too much, it would hurt itself more.

Did it think she was a wolf?

Right, because a lot of wolves have knowledge of basic first aid.

Dad taught her how to tend to animals back in Saint Paul—before Uncle, before the accident—the first time she heard a rabbit scream. A dog caught it. She chased the dog away, but the rabbit was too far gone. Dad helped her bury it.


  1. I love how your story begins because it says a lot about who Kate is without you having to tell us. My only constructive criticism is to remove "Did it think she was a wolf?" It disrupts the flow, and also "the first time she heard a rabbit scream. A dog caught it" feels like it should be one sentence. Other than that, fantastic start :)

  2. I liked your visceral start. I liked the hint of her dad's accident leaving questions. The last part rips you from the story.

  3. Nice sensory opening! I like how you show her tough compassion in action.

    "Bam. Crash. Thud." This was a little disorienting. A sound-only flashback. The closing paragraph was a little abrupt as well. Clearly, she has a Dad-shaped hole in her life, and it's going to figure strongly in this story. But you can take your time weaving in hints and memories, no rush. :)

  4. This is a strong opening for sure. I agree with the other posters on some areas of critique. The spots already mentioned pulled me from the emotion of the moment. I'm curious to see where you take the story. Good luck!

  5. love the Bam. Crash. Thud. with so little you give so much away.great writing style. there is good amount of voice here and foreshadowing but i would like to know more about the MC outright. i have a sense of her and her loss, but i need more,
    This do make me want to read more so i guess you get readers attention and thats what you are asking for in the first 250! Good luck...

  6. Great first line!

    The bam crash thud didn't work for me. It's noise, and doesn't create any images. Was the accident huge? A trip and fall? It just doesn't give a sense of what the accident was. Perhaps use more visual words.

    You might perhaps cut the last three pargs. The two referencing the rabbit thinking she might be a wolf don't really work as is. And the last parg feels like it's about to go into a flashback about her Dad.

    I did want to know where she was. A forest, meadow? And why she was there. What was she doing when she heard the rabbit scream?

    Tending to the rabbit worked well, because it shows the type of person she is. But it doesn't hint at what the story is about, or what the problem is. Letting us know why she is where she is, could provide that info.

  7. This opening felt a bit disorienting to me. When I first read this, my mind created a scene where the main character was pulling this rabbit apart, and I was immediately turned off. When I got to “She sucked in a breath” I wasn’t sure if it was the rabbit or the main character. For me, the scene isn’t set until: Kate sat cross-legged in the dirt and cradled…. Everything prior to that felt confusing to me. Maybe consider opening with the cradling sentence, but maybe with a more atmospheric word in place of ‘sat’ (maybe knelt?). That would get me oriented with a vivid picture in my mind and a better idea of what’s happening.

    At the end of the sample, in the flashback, watch the verb tense. This MS is written in past tense, and so her memory of her dad would be in past perfect, because it was an event that finished prior to this story. Maybe consider cutting this flashback from page 1 so that the scene continues uninterrupted, and then weave this information in a bit more subtlety later.

    I do like the vivid imagery!

    Thank you for sharing!