Wednesday, January 23, 2019

January Secret Agent #34

TITLE: Eva’s Soul
GENRE: YA Speculative Fiction

Eva realized that playing dead was the only escape shehadn’t tried yet.

She’d tried everything else—prying open the window, sliding the hinges out of the door, and even barging from the door the second it opened. She usually made it downstairs, and once nearly made it outside, but the soldiers in green uniforms always caught her. Then they went wild on her.
She stared at the concrete walls and rocked back and forth on her heels. If only she had a bit of that old magic her parents had whispered about, she could use it to break out.

The door of her cell bashed open. She dropped to the icycement floor and closed her eyes. Soon it would be time to play dead—just one more beating.

She gritted her teeth. She’d do whatever it took to save her sister.

As the boots and fists came at her, she curled up into a ball. To protect her teeth from breaking, she wrapped her arms over her head and tucked her knees up to her forehead. To stop shaking she tensed all her muscles from her face to her feet.

Not reacting made them go away sooner, so she did her usual trick—she pictured each pain receptor lighting up, shooting its little signal towards her brain, and then bouncing around her skull. That’s all pain was—all she was—electric signals, chemicals, blood and bone. Nothing more.


  1. Oooh! I like it! I want to know what happens next which is exactly the kind of reaction everyone wants for their first page. I think the first sentence could be tightened up a bit. Something like 'Playing dead is the only escape Eva hadn't tried yet.' But overall, great work.

  2. Love the hint about magic! I'm assuming that will play out later. I think that second paragraph about her breaking out could be strengthened -- for example, it's almost too vague and some more specific engaging details might help draw us in (for example, the going wild could mean a lot of different things, and details of how it felt to try to pry that window open (stinging fingers or something) could help give more life to the struggle.)

  3. Thanks for the advice guys! And thank you secret agent for volunteering your time!

  4. I'm not sure how she knows that not reacting makes them go away sooner, if she"d never tried that tactic before?

    Right now I'm having a hard time connecting with her, but I guess it would depend on what comes next!

  5. This is a very intriguing opening. Eva is coping with a dire situation and trying to be brave and that makes me worried for her and makes me care about her. With the descriptions of how she keeps running away and being brought back, at first, I didn’t realize how serious her situation is. Instead of saying the soldiers “went wild on her,” perhaps you could let us know she’s being beaten. Some of the wording --“Barging from the door,” her cell door bashed open”-- is a bit awkward. “Tired everything else” in the second paragraph is repetitious and you could lose it. I loved the hint about the magic. Good luck!

  6. The soldiers in green uniforms… as opposed to the soldiers in other-colored uniforms? Is there some significance to this?
    They went wild on her?? I truly have no idea what that means. Are they assaulting her?
    The reference to her sister may be coming a little too soon. It’s less impactful here before we’re invested.
    The last paragraph is very strong. I think everything before it should be revised or removed, but that last paragraph is great!

  7. Thanks everyone! Great advice!

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