Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October Secret Agent #29

GENRE: Paranormal Thriller

I was never going to get there in time. The voice in my head had been quiet for almost an entire minute. My legs pumped towards the double doors of the co-ed dorms. If I could just get close enough...

No! Let go! Her voice was thinning, much quieter than it had been only moments ago. I'd seen her in my office just an hour ago. Now she was fighting a masked man in her college dorm room. The time frame for saving her was running out. Finally inside, I ran towards the staircase, pausing at the first two floors to listen for her. At the third door, a weak plea broke through.

oh God, no. Please, no.

It wasn't until I reached the middle of a hallway that the man's voice chimed in. In his mind, Chloe was lying on the floor, her red hair slung over her face. Closing my eyes with all brevity, the barriers on my mind snapped shut, forcing his incoherent thoughts out.

Their struggle had been silent. She'd been scared enough at the appearance of a masked man in her room for it to resonate all the way across campus. With the rag smothering her pleas, she'd only been able to protest internally, a brief mental struggle which I alone had witnessed.

My fists pounded on the door. As he approached, my hands clutched the side of my head as if I could keep his rage from boiling into my brain.


  1. I'm definitely intrigued by the premise here.

    There are a couple spots I'd tweak to make it flow better- co-ed dorms seems like an unnecessary detail and "with all brevity" definitely tripped me up.

    This looks interesting!

  2. I liked this submission.

    There are several places to do some house cleaning and tidy up the sentence structure, but the voice was super.

    "...chimed in. In his mind..." Up until this point, you had me. I understood the scene and what was happening but the first sentence in this paragraph stopped me.

    I would re-write this paragraph to convey the protag's horror when she heard his mind.

    "Closing my eyes with all brevity..." is also a bit clunky.

    The premise is Great! Just go over it again, read it aloud and see if that helps.
    Good luck.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Now that's action, inciting incident, foreshadowing, etc. all in 250 words, congrats.

    Now later, please ID the sex of the hero.

    I think you should put quote unquote about every whimper Chloe makes. He does hear her, even with special powers.

    I'd like you to consider adding after..."As he approached (the opposite side of the door). Maybe that was asked and answered, but if you aren't sure, err on the side of clarity besides it's a point of danger. The masked man raises a gun or knife, thinking he'll just decapitate the hero by surprising him??

    Hey tomorrow you could be at 350 words, and it won't hurt, because you have a winner. Hooked.

    p.s. maybe 'incoherent,' could be 'lust crazed?' . . 'and although the hero was attracted to Chloe, what man wouldn't be, he forced the barriers of his mind shut etc.

  5. Interesting premise definitely draws me in. There are a few nits that trip me up. The repetition of "ago" in "moments ago" and "an hour ago".

    "Time frame" doesn't seem to go with "running out". Try "the time frame for saving her was closing" or "the time for saving her was running out".

    I wasn't sure what you meant by "closing my eyes with all brevity".

    But everything else was well-written and gripping. Hooked and would read on!

  6. Is it perfect? No. But out of all the other ones this is the one I'm hooked on. I'd read more without a question. Perhaps I'm just too hard on YA, but this story has backbone.

    And yeah... is this a dude? Or a chick? Give us some kind of indication at least.


  7. I'm the writer -- thank you all very much for your kind words! Sorry about not being clear... my protag is a woman, but I should have stated that. Revisions coming right up.

    Thank you all.

    P.S. - if that's the same anonymous that is posting on everyone else's story, I'm glad to get your good graces. I was kind of scared to open these comments!

  8. I love paranormal stories, so this premise appeals to me although some of the wording broke the immediacy of the action. I would read more, but I have a few suggestions.

    You could change the tense to smooth the action. Ex: I'd never get there in time.

    Changing "The voice" to "Her voice" would clarify it's not his voice he's hearing.

    I agree you should set off what he hears in his mind with either quotes or italics.

    Revise your verbs to be more active. "Her voice thinned (or faded)" "Now she fought"

    When you say "I'd seen her in my office..." did you mean she was physically in your office or were you in your office alone when you saw her getting attacked all the way across campus? If it's the latter, the sentence needs some clarification.

    I enjoyed reading this. I wish we could read the queries for some of these entries!

  9. I'd read further. The main thing that bothered me was the pause. If someone is dying, and you can see inside of heads to know what's going on, I can't understand pausing to listen for a fading voice in the real world. Intriguing premise, though! Good luck!

  10. Wow. Great start. Not 100% sure what's going on here but you gave the reader enough to jerk 'em right into your story. Not sure how you could do it, but I still felt like maybe the info should stream through with a little more panic given what is going on behind the door. But well, well done.

  11. This is an exciting scene filled with tension. I'd suggest you keep it moving and keep the tension high by cutting out anything that wasn't in the moment, for example,

    stopping the action to tell us she'd seen her in the offce hours ago. The building tension just stops here.

    And if you keep it active, rather than passive, it would bring this up to a whole new level. For example, It wasn't until I reached the middle of the hallway . . .

    Don't tell us. Show it. I reached the middle of the hallway. Keep it active and in the moment and the tension and suspense level in this piece could be enormous.

  12. Exciting opening. The action was good. I'd read on.

  13. So one of my issues with these mind reading stories is always how come they hear some people and not others? If she (and I was assuming the whole time the mc was a he until I saw your comment above so that might be something to clear up) was all the way across campus, why just this one? I guess the danger, but what about other people in danger all over the campus? Or town? Or world? I always have a little trouble with this question before I can move on.

    But for the purposes of this contest, i'll move on.

    So overall, I think if my questions are answered and you've worked out the mc's skill, I think it's an intriguing skill to have. I think there's potential for a good story here.

    I think it's not totally for me since I want to say that now there's a murderer there on the other side of the door. Did she call 911 while running over? Is she a black belt in some martial art? So far we haven't really seen her do anything except fail to get there in time. Maybe it's enough to keep reading, I don't know.

    I don't love it, I don't not. I think I would need more to go on. But there's potential.

  14. I like it, but I have a few small nits. I'd like to see Chloe's thoughts in quotes, just so we know for sure that it's her thoughts and not the narrator's. I actually did like the mention of the office. It told me that the MC is a staff member, not another student. I am kind of wondering why she didn't call campus security, but I suppose it might be hard to explain how she knew it was happening.

    I'd read on.

  15. The thoughts are all italicized in the MS.

    Also, to the Secret Agent - the reason she can hear Chloe is addressed fairly soon into the novel. In a tossed about political, mafia, scandalous array of romance and vengeance. Sigh. So much to say in 250 words!

    The mind-reading is also explained in chunks throughout the book. What she can hear, who she can hear and why some people better than others and some people none at all.

    I'm glad you all have taken time to read and comment on this! A lot of the problems here have already been addressed in a final revision. I wish there was a way to edit these posts.

    Again, thanks for reading and giving me some positive vibes and a great place to start revising.

    Much love,