Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October Secret Agent #24

GENRE: Mystery/thriller

I could not see the malevolence in his face.

My "seeing eye woman" flung her body against my side, knocking both of us to the cold airport terminal floor. I instinctively struggled to rise. Kayko recovered faster, fell off me, sat up and, straight armed, used all the weight she could leverage to push me back down. "Just stay there!" she whispered. An explosive discharge echoed off the sides of the airport walls. I heard robotic outbursts I could not interpret.

The man with the gun in front of us turned and ran, pushed hard against a non-automatic door, exited into daylight and kept running. Men in blue shirts running as hard banged the door against its casings as they rushed to follow the gunman.

I looked behind me to see if anyone was hurt. I saw only blank faces, but no one was on the ground. Security guards from the nearby gates surrounded us, lifted us to our feet, and pushed us towards an office about 50 feet away. "Stay here until you are debriefed," one guard said and closed the door.

I looked at Kayko's blank face. All faces are blank to me. I have a form of autism that prevents me from seeing human expression. My disability extends to voices. I cannot hear the emotion in voices.

"Explain." My own voice sounds robotic to me as well.


  1. Seems like an exciting book, but I'm afraid I'm not quite buying the narrator as autistic. This is a very difficult thing to do with a narrator, and to be convincing, the MC should start from the perspective that his/her own situation is normal. S/he might intellectually understand that most people are different, but one's own way of perceiving the world has got to feel normal (unless s/he hasn't always seen things this way).

    If you need to give a quick explanation of how your MC differs from other people, you might try having her/him use as a starting point what other people say about the way s/he perceives things, without him/her really understanding what s/he doesn't see.

    Still, the "seeing-eye woman" is fascinating. If you can pull off the autistic narrator, this could be great. As it stands, I'm afraid I'm not hooked.

    - Lianne

  2. The "robotic outbursts" in the first paragraph is a little confusing; I had to look back at the genre to see if this was sci-fi. Made sense once I read the rest of it, obviously, but it was still jarring.

    The description of her disability felt disjointed; the rest of your submission had description and complex sentences and these were very short and sharp.

    That being said I do like the idea of a seeing eye woman, and I'm interested to see how someone who can't read people would solve a mystery.

  3. I agree with waht the others are saying - in order to write this sort of thing, you have to be really, really good.
    Noticing that things sound robotic means the MC knows that there is some other way for them to sound.

    Also, starting by saying "I couldn't see..." and mentioning a "seeing eye woman" makes me think the MC is blind, even though you let us know what is going on. It's not the clever trick to lure us in, it just seems to be a mistake.
    You have a point-of-view problem in the second paragraph. Your MC can't know that the woman used all the weight she could leverage. The MC doesn't know how much weight she could leverage. The MC just know waht it felt like.

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  5. I've never read anything from an autistic's point of view. I like it's potential.

    Since you often, in these 250 words, explain how he can't see and hear normally why not (in the first sentence) have him recall a psychiatrist's report or reporting to him,for the millionth time in which he wished he knew what normal really felt like. He could be obsessed by this 'fault' of his (rainman). Then all hell breaks lose and you'll never have to explain your hero again, or at least once in a while later in the book, just for us dolts.

    Fix-it and I am so hooked a tuna boat could reel me in.

  6. My first thought was - If he can't see the malevolance, how does he know if it's there or not?

    That's seems to be the main issue with this. Someone who has been blind all their life can be told the sky is blue, and can know the sky is blue, but they will never have a clue as to what 'blue' looks like. And if your MC never hears or sees expressions, he can't have any clues about what malevolance looks like, or what robotic voices sound like. He's not going to see or hear any of those differences or nuances, so he can't ever describe them because he doesn't know what they are.

    Parg 4 you say nobody was on the ground, and then security are lifting them to their feet.

    The story itself is intersting, but I think you have a heck of a job ahead of you making his autism real. It's doable, I think, but difficult. Good luck to you!

  7. Confused, but like the others I think the point of view could be interesting.

  8. I like the concept her, but too many confusing details kept me from being hooked. Like the others, I thought this was from the POV of a blind person and was thrown by the mention of colors. I have to say too that the paragraph where the MC explained his/her autism felt like an infodump. I would've liked that info trickled in through thoughts and actions. Your beginning, about not seeing the malevolence, is a good start.

  9. see: the "Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time"

  10. So I'm not sure I understand what a "seeing eye woman" is and that made me confused frm the start. She seems more like a bodyguard than anything else and I wasn't really clear on why this person would need one, and then when i reached the end of the page, I wasn't sure autism seemed like the big Aha moment I was looking for.

    Also, the stay here until you are debriefed--the whole thing jsut seemed sort of high level security but a little off the mark for it.

    I was a big fan of The Curious incident of the Dog in the Night Time. I think it can be done. but I think it has to be for a reason. Not as a gimmick. I'm not totally sure what you have going on here.

    That said, it's an action packed first page, and maybe a synopsis would have pulled me more into the story to want to read more.