Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Secret Agent #22

TITLE: Wild Music
GENRE: YA Contemporary

“Want to try a howl?” I ask as Josh Winter and I lean on the railing of the Wolf Center’s viewing platform.

The last rays of the setting sun stretch orange and red fingers across the sky and cast shadows over the ground below. The evening holds its breath as the birds settle into sleep. The perfect time to howl to the Silver Valley Wolf Pack.

“A howl?” Josh coughs and shifts his weight. The warped boards of the viewing deck creak under us. “What for?”

“Sometimes, the wolves answer. Coolest sound ever.” I hold up my cell. “I use it for my ringtone.”
“You just want to see me make a fool of myself.”

“No way.” I put my hand over my heart. “Swear.”

Josh frowns, as if he thinks I’m playing a prank on him. “You first.”

“Deal.” I raise my head and howl for all I’m worth. I imagine the sound flowing out into the valley, imagine the wolves lifting their heads, their ears pricked. Answer me. Join my song.

The echoes fade away. Josh laughs. “I don’t hear anything—”

A howl shoves the silence aside. The sound starts high and keening, gradually drops in pitch. Other wolf voices join in; shrill yips and barks merge to create a virtual symphony. I rub my arms where the hairs stand on end, inhale the sharp aroma of the pine trees. Thanks, guys. I never get tired of that sound.


  1. I'm intrigued. I LOVE your descriptions - the creaking boards, the sun's rays. I also like the dialogue. Very realistic. I like how Josh shifts his weight to show his unease. However, I wish there was a little more tension here - some sense of what the MC wants. Besides the howling. Or perhaps why the MC likes the howling. Why should I care about this beautifully introduced character?
    Good luck!

  2. This is interesting and very well written. You have so much sensory stuff going on that I feel I'm with them.

    The only criticism I would have would be when the wolf answers. I don't particularly care for the description of the howl shoving the silence aside. Mostly because Josh was in the middle of talking at that time. Otherwise, I'd read on.

  3. I was a little thrown by the first line. Is she asking this question of someone other than Josh? Has she only just met him? It's weird to use his surname if she knows him already.

    Also, where is her cell phone while she holds her hand over her heart and rubs her arms? We haven't seen her put it away so I'm imagining her rubbing it on her arms here.

    Other than those 2 small things, this is great!

    Good luck!

  4. I really like this. You've really established great mood here. I also think this is a unique place to start your book and it really drew me in. Well done!

  5. Oooh—I love your writing. The voice is fantastic. I’d love a few more details—such as why these teenagers are at a wolf center. And perhaps a greater hint as to where the tension may lie in this story, but otherwise SUCH a great start. Wonderful dialogue and descriptions. I was pulled in immediately and would certainly read on!

  6. Love this opening. Just the right amount of description and action and you get a real sense of the awkwardness of this new relationship between the MC and Josh. You probably shouldn't use his surname in the opening line - why would someone who knows him think his last name in this situation. Your MC clearly loves the wolves and I love that she's sharing this with Josh at a point that's clearly early in their relationship.