Wednesday, January 23, 2019

January Secret Agent #2

GENRE: YA sci-fi thriller

How many police officers does it take to arrest a seventeen-year-old kid?

           The answer is five.

           Five officers and three cars.

           Three and a half, actually, but one of them took a turn too sharp and flipped out of the pursuit. Not my fault, even though they claim it is. It’s not like I asked to be chased. I was just minding my own business, but the cops always make a big deal out of things.

           Let me explain. It’s a quiet Friday in the middle of June, right. The evening sun shines its glory on Norvani, a rarity even during summer. Everything is fine and dandy. I’m cruising in my car, which I might have borrowed from my father, which I also might be driving without a license, when the cops come up behind me, sirens blasting. And I thought that running away from home would be an easy feat.

           The officer pulls me over and the first thing he does is grab my fake ID. He looks at it, then at me, then back to my ID.

            “Charles Theodore Walker?”


            “Brown eyes?” In my peripheral vision, the cop gestures for me to make eye contact.

            “Absolutely,” I say and glance at him briefly, hoping he won’t notice my clear blue eyes.

            His thin lips form into a stern line. “What is your name, son? Your real name.”

            “Charlie Walker,” I sigh and tighten my fingers around the steering wheel so hard the leather squeaks. “And no, I’m not 22-years-old. I’m 17.”


  1. I think this is a snappy start to a story. I'd keep reading.

  2. I love this opening !! I'm already dying to know why Charlie ran away from home. And WOW is this voicey already.

    I would like to know more about how C feels about being pulled over. Confident? Busted? Anxious? Already forming a new plan?

    Great first page!!

  3. Great opening lines! I love the dialogue, I can picture the interaction. Well done!

    One thing I’d like to know is what Norvani is. (City, neighborhood, province, mountain, etc!)

  4. Ahh, I love that it's meta.
    I don't know why I want blasting to say blaring, blasting reminds me of a stereo but that's super nit picky.
    I enjoy Charlie's voice and am curious as to what he's up to.
    Are you saying three and a half about the cops or the cars?
    Why is he volunteering his age?...maybe that gets answered after...
    I'd like to know what Norvani is too, like 'on the small town of Norvani' or something.
    Looks great!

  5. Wow. Hooked me in from the start. I love how you set up the beginning of the story. It has a great voice.

    I got confused towards the end when he confesses without any prodding that he isn't 22.

    He didn't cave in when the officer said asked if he had brown eyes. Something the officer could clearly see, so I was just confused as to why he so readily offered him his real age. I'd have to read more to see how the rest of the interaction goes.

    Great beginning though, it sounds interesting!

  6. I'm wondering why you told this as a flashback since it's the start of the story. Why not put us there and show it in real time? Instead of telling us what happened after it's all over, why not show us what's happening as it happens. Show us the car chase. Show the car flip. Show how the cops caught him. Did he stop, crash, get boxed in? It could be a much stronger opening than listening to the MC chat. Instead of pulling me into the MC's world, you've brought him into mine.

  7. I LOVE this ahh! Boy narrator, the casual language, the small hint of SF right away with "Norvani" - I'm assuming that's not a real place, but is it a city or town or planet, etc.? I also like it being a flashback, personally - because it's so voicey, I can picture the scene (although one or two more little details wouldn't hurt) and want to spend more time with Charlie. I'm also wondering where he is now and who he's telling this story to.

    Like Catherine, however, I feel like this could benefit from a little more prodding into how he felt in the moment. Like, if he's brave enough to steal a car to run away, why does he get scared (if he's scared) and offer his real age? Is he recalculating and hoping for leniency? Thinking up a new plan but willing to return home for the time being? About to run out of the car or drive away? Is it something about the way the cop looks/acts/whatever that makes him honest? But this is super great and I would definitely keep reading.

  8. The writing's great. Personally not a fan of present tense (is it really present tense if it's in a flashback lol).

    I'm not sure if it would be my type of book, but it seems very readable so I'd probably give it a shot to see what happens to Charlie

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. LOL. I had a typo and wasn't able to edit it, so it's reposted!

  10. Love the voice in this! I want to know what he's running away from. Is he scared, nervous, confident around these officers? Why so many?

    Maybe, "And I thought running away...." should be a separate line (although, it may already be since you can't tell with formatting). Also to remind us that there are multiple officers, maybe say, "The first officer pulls me over..." And why does he confess his age? Did the officer ask that?

    Definitely interested to find out more!

  11. I love the first three lines of this! They immediately drew me in and made me want to read more. I also love Charlie's voice. His description of the three and a half cars is hilarious.

    As others have said, I didn't get a clear picture of what Norvani is. A planet? A city? Something else? I also immediately wanted a bit more about what Charlie is running from and why? When he says he's cruising in the car he "borrowed" from his father, it seems like he might just be out for a joy ride, but the running away ups the stakes. Is he scared? Just defiant? Is this something he's done before?

    In any case, I want to read more and find out what's going on!

  12. Wow, those first lines, the voice, the cops, all of it, totally pulled me right in! And normally, when a first person narrator directly addresses the reader, I’m a bit wary. But this is really well done. I like how the scene is set before me. It’s a very cinematic opening. And best of all, I want to read on.

    I don’t know what Norvani is, and I want to. Can you give me a bit about it? And frankly I was surprised that Charlie was so quick to give his real age. I dunno, I expected him to hold out longer.

    Also, nit-picky, but maybe spell out the numbers at the end. Characters don’t talk in numbers, you know, and it would make it more consistent with the beginning.

  13. I don't have anything to add that the other crits already haven't mentioned. I will say that I get a sense of personality from this. The opening sentences feel fun to me.

  14. I think a lot of people will really enjoy this immediate punch of Voice with a capital V. I think you might be dipping a hair too casual for me personally; when writers do this, it can sometimes sound like a grownup trying too hard to sound like a teen. For example, “so it’s the middle of June right…” or “Let me explain.” I’m personally not really a fan of variations of “let me explain” or “first let’s start at the beginning” or “okay reader let me back up and explain what I mean.” It breaks the fourth wall in a way that really pulls me out of the story.

    “Norvani” sounds like a fantasy land (not very contemporary SF thriller). I would cut this. It’s distracting from the momentum of this action-packed scene. Allow us to discover the speculative elements organically.

    I was a little surprised he confessed to being 17 quite so readily.

    All in all though, it’s a great first scene! You start right in the action and you make us ask a ton of questions. Very well done.

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