Wednesday, April 15, 2009

24 Secret Agent

GENRE: YA Science Fiction

Beside Archer's bed stood a girl, tall, naked and still as a statue. Her dark skin glowed in the stripes of white moonlight slashing in through the window blinds. Curtains of thick black hair hung over her shoulders. Moving his gaze over the curves of her body to her face, Archer locked onto her eyes. As dark as the rest of her, they trapped him in their hunger, thirst and wild curiosity.

She couldn’t be real. At least that’s what he told himself. She was his imagination on overdrive. If you want something bad enough you’ll either get it or fabricate it in your mind so you don’t go crazy. It wasn’t the first time he’d seen a naked girl. Well, in person it was, but he had seen his brother’s poorly hidden magazines hundreds of times.

Archer laid his book on the nightstand. His sweaty hands gripped his blankets to his chest where his heart attempted to break its way out. Along with the stirrings from his body that he anticipated in the presence of a naked girl, he was surprised at his physical response of shallow breathing and a hammering heart that he identified as panic.

It was his mind that turned traitor, finally catching on to the situation and frantically running in circles, causing him to think instead of act. Who was this girl? What did she want? Should he yell? No, he wouldn’t yell. He was sixteen, not ten, sixteen with a naked goddess standing mere inches away looking down at him. He had to seize this opportunity. It would likely be the only one he would ever get.


  1. Definitley hooked! Why is there a naked girl standing next to his bed? I want to know! The descriptions were perfect, the only bit that threw me was the line: he was surprised at his physical response of shallow breathing and a hammering heart that he identified as panic.

    It felt just a little bit clunky. But not enough to stop me from wanting to read more!

  2. This has me hooked a little. I would read further to see what develops.

  3. Nice writing. Yes, it's a dream--no it's not, because it's under "supernatural."

    I, and about a million boys, will be eager to read on. But being a girl (so to speak) I might not read on as long as the boys would.

    I'm marginally hooked.

  4. I'm on the fence.

    I am definitely curious to know why there'd be a naked girl in his room.

    I really like your description of how he's thinking and feeling. The only thing that threw me was the description of her hair with the use of 'Curtains'.

    I would definitely read on to find out why she's there and what happens. So, I guess that means I am actually hooked.

    Good job.

  5. I'm not sure. I'm curious about what's going on, but I have a few issues with the writing. I think you need to look at the next to last paragraph. There are a lot of "his" phrases, and for me it was repetitious.

    Your descriptions are good, however, as well as the idea so far, so I might continue on.

  6. I'm also on the fence. I loved the first two paragraphs, but afterwards it seemed like too much thinking and nothing has happened. Still, I'm intrigued by the naked girl by the bed, and I'd probably read on.

  7. Ok, when I was sixteen, I'd kiss first and ask questions later. 16 year olds are all lusty, only inhibited by how they were raised. I doubt any boy would grip his blanket to his chest. Also if she's standing in front of his bed with windows on both sides its possible your beautiful description can work. The eyes bothered me because the light source is likely bending down from the windows...maybe have her closer to the window. I'll assume all this thinking didn't take much time. He hops out of bed and kisses her (at least). So, for me, clarify it, and I'd be hooked.

  8. I am undecided.

    If I were to wake up with a naked girl or guy in my room I would definitely be screaming. But testosterone filled boys might not. And stranger in the room seems cliche, but not necessarily for SF.

    You have some great sentences worked in- Well, in person it was, but he had seen his brother's poorly hidden magazines hundreds of times. Great work there.

    "her dark skin glowed in the stripes..." also a great sentence though I think you could remove "in".

    I'm confused about why he's reading in the dark. Moolight slashed the blinds but he has to lay his book on the nightstand. One or the other.

    Overall, I would read on a bit further and see what happens. Good luck!

  9. I liked it - and I loved the choice to have him reason/panic/lust simultaneously. Such a mix feels real to me and makes me really like this kid. Hooked. I want to know if he does leap up and do something naughty - and if she lets him!

  10. Good writing. (You aren't afraid of parents getting up in arms, I hope? They can get pretty silly about nudity.)

    I LOVE his reaction to her. Panic. Love that.

    Although I am mildly curious about the naked girl, I think the writing is what has me hooked. And his reaction. I can't wait to see what he does.

  11. I like the set up, but I wasn't "with Archer" as much as I'd like to be, so it didn't reel me in. The distance in the voice was part of what held me back, and the timing seemed off a little - he seemed very analytical and actually calm in the face of this.

    So, I might read another page or two, but it would have to really pull me in.

  12. I'm curious, definitely. But I'm not sure if I'm hooked.

    The writing didn't flow for me. There were bits that were really smooth, like the first paragraph, but as we move along, some of that seems to get lost.

  13. Can't say I'm hooked yet. I think there's too much internal narration going on, and not enough here-in-the-now response/action happening. Plus, I kept getting tripped up with all the pronouns you use here. I might read on a bit further to see where this is going, but I'm not really hooked, sorry.

  14. Hm...I want him to do something. He's looking at a naked girl and when he sees her eyes, she's got "hunger, thirst and wild curiosity" in hers.

    And he...puts his book on the nightstand and pulls his blanket to his chin. Um, no. That doesn't work for me. There's just too much description and internal thoughts. He's got to DO something. (In my opinion.)

    That said, I'd read more to find out what, if anything, he does do.

  15. To me this feels a little slow. Maybe too much description?
    For example, you could probably remove a big chunk of the second paragraph. He doesn't need to sit there thinking about how his psyche reacts to a naked girl. That's pretty much a given.

    Interesting start, though. I have to admit, I'm a little scared he's going to make a fool of himself, so I guess you've hooked me in a way.

  16. Ummm . . . I'm not sure what to make of this. The writing is really good. As is the voice. But I kinda turned off by it. There's a strange person standing over him--possibly there to kill him--and he's deliberating whether to freak out or have sex with her.

    Sounds to me that the only reason you've have her naked is to hook boy readers. Beware, not all YA readers are over the age of 12 (this one should be for the 14 + YA category, btw). Some are advance Tween readers (or younger). I would not be thrilled if this is what was available to my 9 year old (who reads several levels above his grade level). There's not enough YA books for boys as it is. Please don't use the allure of sex to try to hook them. That's cheap.

  17. Hm, this seems to recognise what YA boy readers secretly dream about reading. And there is no offensive detail. Not sure I'd be overjoyed about my son reading it, but I recognise that when he gets to be a (hopefully older...) teen he'd probably like a book that started like this! Not sure what the publishing position on instant nudity in YA is, I guess we'll find out soon...

  18. Thanks everyone for the great comments. I want to put in a disclaimer really quick. She's naked for a reason, not for a hook. You're right, that would be cheap. You find out in about 1 more paragraph why she's naked and why it's called "STEAM" ANGEL. :) Thanks again for all your help!!

  19. I'd just like to add that, the way Archer speaks, the "he identified as panic", because of the genre, scifi, i assume he's some sort of cyborg or machine or something that's like learning his inner workings or whatever. If he ends up being human than this doesn't really work for me and it momentarily disctracted me from the naked woman, but i think it's cuz i'm a girl.

    However, I liked that she was naked and I'm on the fence about his reactions. If he's a cyborg or not human or whatever, than that justifies his not completely human boy reactions. If he's not, than I agree with everyone else, it's not realistic.

    I like the voice and opening though!

  20. I'm curious about this and want to read more, but I think it could be shortened/tightened some.

    Those first few paragraphs seem a bit repetitive. We know the girl is there and it's a surprise, now I want to know why. I think you could cut most of the second and third paragraphs down to just a sentence or two of his reaction.

    And then the first sentence of the last paragraph is awkward and too much 'telling.' Maybe just cutting this phrase would fix most of the problem: **causing him to think instead of act**.

    I really like this next part though; it made me laugh: **Should he yell? No, he wouldn’t yell. He was sixteen, not ten, sixteen with...**

  21. I wondered about putting down the book and holding the blankets, too. Some dialogue might introduce a little action. But the whole idea with this naked woman in a 16 year old's bedroom is a page turner. The first sentence could be stronger if you mentioned the naked part at the very end. Good luck.

  22. Pretty writing, but ultimately not compelling enough for me to want to read more...

    Although I too have to wonder at Archer's almost slow-motion reaction.

  23. 'He had to seize this opportunity' - made me giggle I'm afraid. Double entendre..
    It doesn't feel real.

  24. It didn't really hook me. I think, for my personal preference, there's too much reaction and not enough action. I'd prefer to see a paragraph of reaction, then get into what he does next. You say we find out in another paragraph why she's there, so maybe tighten the first page so this paragraph arrives a little sooner.

  25. My biggest problem with your page has to do with the obvious sexual content. I definitely wouldn't want my son reading it, and there are probably a lot of parents out there who would have a similar concern.

  26. I'll keep this short. Yep, I'm guessing this has market appeal right out of the first line.

  27. I liked the panic the boy felt along with the lust. I'm curious and would read a few pages to see what happened next. Mostly I like the style but a few places could use some editing.

  28. Hmm, interesting. The writing style is really strong and I am a little curious about the girl. I would read more.