Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Secret Agent #12

Title: Becca's War
Genre: YA Historical

Another train sped into Kensington Station, spewing smoke and soot everywhere. Horses shrieked as the huge iron engine squealed to a stop. Papa said these trains could go as fast as thirty miles an hour. My head spun at the thought of going that fast. A cold wind propelled soot our direction as we moved out onto the platform. Shivering, I brushed soot off my cloak then stuck my hands into the fur muff Mama and Papa had given me for my thirteenth birthday last month. I glanced around at dozens of people dashing to or from the train that had just stopped. They all seemed to be in as much of a hurry as the train. Where were they all going in such a rush? For a moment, I was jealous that I wasn’t going someplace with them. Even if it meant going that fast on one of the trains nearby.

The mass of rushing people jostled me as they hastened past and I realized I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should. I almost lost my balance, but I felt a hand on my elbow to steady me.

“Sorry, Miss.” I looked up at a tall young man, several years older than I was, who grinned and doffed his hat.

I frowned at him, but stopped myself. I nodded and straightened my own hat, which he had knocked askew by his carelessness. At least he’d apologized, I thought as he joined the crowd whirling around the station.

7 comments:

  1. Loved the opening lines of this - very visceral. But I wasn't satisfied by the end of the section because she's at the station and she doesn't appear to be going anywhere. And she's 13 and appears to be alone. Why?

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  2. The opening setting is intriguing, but you might want to consider breaking up the first paragraph into small chunks. Also, you use the word “soot” 3 times in that paragraph.

    You also mention “our direction” in that paragraph so I’m assuming she’s with her family, but she seems to be alone when she bumps into the man.

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  3. You did a really nice job describing the trains and I can picture a busy platform and the soot! I did wish to get a little bit more of a hint at the main character's motivation or purpose for being there. Is she waiting for someone? If so, how does she feel about that?

    I also noticed that the description of the people on the platform is somewhat repetitive. In a few short lines they're described as dashing, rushing, hastening past and all those synonyms do the same work because I could already picture the chaotic scene. So perhaps that's an area you could tighten and instead start hinting at why she is there, what she is waiting for. Hope this helps!

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  4. I will agree with Catherine's comments. Nice job of using details for the setting and time period: Kensington Station, trains spewing smoke and soot, crowds rushing past, fur muff, age 13, doffed his hat. I can see the scene.
    Since you said "we" , I presume that the MC is with others on the platform? This is unclear. And are they traveling too or there to meet someone coming to see them?
    I think you could tighten some sentences and clarify the purpose of being at the train station and who the MC is with.
    I would like to keep reading:)

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  5. I also agree with the comments and details on setting. There are a few echoes which are easily fixed. Three for soot which if we change the middle makes it okay. Three for fast, two for rush and four for that. The word that can be dropped most of the time in writing which I did for the last two. I also cut this sentence (that had just stopped) as it's a touch redundant as the reader knows the train is stopped if the people are dashing to it.

    Consider these alternate choices to fix the repeated words. I will put them in all CAPS to make them stand out. I would keep reading.

    Another train sped into Kensington Station, spewing smoke and soot everywhere. Horses shrieked as the huge iron engine squealed to a stop. Papa said these trains could go AT A SPEED OF thirty miles an hour. My head spun at the thought of going that fast. A cold wind propelled the BLACK POWDERY FLAKES in our direction as we moved out onto the platform. Shivering, I brushed soot off my cloak then stuck my hands into the fur muff Mama and Papa had given me for my thirteenth birthday last month.

    I glanced around at dozens of people DARTING to or from the train. They all seemed to be in as much of a hurry as the train. Where were they all going in such a rush? For a moment, I was jealous I wasn’t going someplace with them. Even if it meant going fast on one of the trains nearby.

    The mass of rushing people jostled me as they hastened past and I realized I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should.

    Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This scene powerfully evokes the sense of a city’s hustle and bustle, but I’m not feeling transported yet. We’re mostly watching the MC react to her immediate surroundings, and I can’t tell why she’s at the train station or even whether she’s boarding/getting off a train (or neither...?). This bit of reader disorientation nicely reinforces the MC’s own overwhelmed feelings here, but this scene doesn’t give us enough distinctive details about her personality and context yet.

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