Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Secret Agent #25

Title: The Good Fight
Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Not a soul surrounding the pallet-made fighter’s ring would ever believe Ofelia was starving. There was enough meat on her to make her dangerously ‘thick’, and strong enough to inflict damage with weary fists. Spectators leaning over the crude ring splashed the concrete floor with the contents of their brown-bagged bottles. They cheered and taunted. Her feet were bare, and she felt every puddle of spilled beer. Everything felt wet. Her skin was drenched in sweat and crimson tendrils streamed down one side of her face. It all added to the seeping damp.

She looked more boy than girl before entering the ring. Short black hair, T-shirt nearly down to her knees and large enough to fit two of her in it. Her baggy, black jeans hung from her waist, and she had cuffed them around her ankles. Ofelia pulled her shirt over her head and flung it into a corner of the ring. The air thundered with a commentary of lewd suggestions and propositions. They called for Eights. She was Eights. They loved and hated her all at once.

“Damn, Eights. Why you hidin’ all that?!”

“You want a banging, nena?! I got one for you.”

“Break my heart, Eights. Dykes can look like that?”

“Kill ‘em, Eights. I got my rent money on you.”

The jeers continued, two fights in. Eights was sure of it. But their words were no longer decipherable, stretching and blending into one pounding mass of sound.


  1. Definitely gets my attention. You played to all the senses here, which is great. However, I didn't understand the "pallet-made" ring. You can't have meant that the floor of the ring was made of pallets because that would be impossible to box on, and you said her feel stepped in the spilled beer. You might want to clarify what the ring was made of.

  2. Loved all the sensory detail in this. I can feel the room with its crowd, noise, scents. I got the mixed feelings of Ofelia as she prepared to fight. I'd definitely read on.

    The first line tripped me up a little though because I didn't understand the "pallet-made ring" bit. I assume you mean the space is marked out using pallets, not that she is standing on them?

  3. As with those above, the pallet-made ring confused me. I think perhaps you are mean a rudimentary ring and maybe are working a little too hard on description there, especially as you use the word "ring" again not long after. That said, I am intrigued. I'm curious what kind of historical fiction includes a T-shirt and blue jeans, but the story is definitely compelling.

  4. This is GREAT opening. Thrusts you right into it. I don't have much to add unfortunately, so I'm afraid things might sound nit-picky. Sensory items are all on point for me, but could she have bruises of past fights? A pallet made ring would undoubtedly have scents included along with the bear. Thick jagged splinters, boards popping at the nails (I work around pallets, just in case you wondered). But anyway, really awesome. I would keep reading for sure! Good luck!

  5. I'd start with the third sentence, it's much more compelling. Maybe move the first two sentences to after "they cheered and taunted." I'm intrigued, would read more.

  6. Here’s an example of a very-zoomed-in moment that also conveys character, voice, and tension all at once, even though there’s no action yet. Nice! I would keep reading this.

    The one glaring absence from this scene is Ofelia’s opponent—we don’t get a glimpse of her/him at all. I actually think this builds a nice tension, presuming that glimpse (and the action!) comes in the very next lines.

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