Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October Secret Agent #31

TITLE: The Hunt
GENRE: YA Adventure

Sunaya spied the bad men and everything changed.

Immediately blood pumped from her heart to the ends of her tingling fingers. Her eyes narrowed and focused, taking in every detail of the bouncing green truck. There was excitement, for sure. This was why she was here. But there was also fear. A gnawing at the base of her stomach. This wasn't a game.

From her lookout high on the hill, she could see that this crew was smarter than most. The truck followed the fence line but stayed 100 yards outside the Kruger National Park border where it would be hard to spot through the long, brown grass. It stopped behind the cover of trees, exactly where the goat boy said it would.

As the men unloaded their equipment, an anger pulsed through Sunaya. These people made a living out of animals but what did they see? The martial eagle floating high above - on the lookout for a mongoose or baby monkey? The ancient black rhino on the other side of the fence, its horn bigger than its brain?

No. They saw green. Not the various shades that layered their way down the South African hills like a patchwork quilt. The greedy kind that made this silly, crazy world turn upside down.

Sunaya stood and shook the deadness from her legs. It was time to move. It was time to make the bad men pay.


  1. Smooth read. I like the voice. I would read more.

  2. Good description paragraph 2 and below. Not sure about your first sentence. Make it more specific, more wrenching. What changed?

  3. I agree with both comments above. 'everything changed' along with 'that's why she was here' along with 'It was time to make the bad men pay.' seems redundant. I'd drop the first two. Besides they're both abstract and hard to visualize.

    Otherwise, very interesting, hooked.

  4. Hooked. I want to see what she is going to do to "make the bad men pay."

  5. I agree also about the first sentence. You could simply leave it at "Sunaya spied the bad men. Immediately, blood pumped..."

    You could also deepen the POV by revising the second paragraph to omit "...she could see" and start with "This crew was smarter..."

    I would absolutely read on to see what she's got planned for these goons.

  6. I felt frustrated reading this. You tell us lots of things except why she is there. I guess that's okay but I hate it when books do that. I just like them to tell me what's going on.

  7. I was hooked. I've read other books about Kruger national park. What a fascinating setting. I do agree that I would remove "and everything changed". You don't need it. Show us the change. Great start, though! Good luck!

  8. An interesting setting and I liked starting right in the action. The voice rung false in a few places, though. "Bad men" sounds younger than I think Sunaya is. "Martial" feels out of place in a YA. "This silly, crazy world turn upside down" is a little overwrought (would anyone really think or say that?). You have a good voice for your character here. I'd love to see it carried throughout!

  9. I agree about that first sentence. It says nothing because we don't know what her life was like before this moment, so we have no idea what changed.

    I'm wondering how she knows they're 100 yards from the park fence and not 98 or 99. Perhaps use something vague here.

    I think it has potential, but as others have said, what is she there for? What does she intend to do? Does she work for the park? Is she doing this on her own? I don't need answers to all those questions, but I think I should have some hints. I should know more than her nae and that she wants to make the bad men pay. Telling or hinting at why she wants to do that could be a strong hook.

  10. Hi

    I LOVED the first line. I'd read the book simply because of that - bad men - wooo strong line - everything changed - what, where, why it made me ask all the right questions.

    A very smooth read and I'd love to read more. Great beginning.

    The premise looks good too.

  11. Lots of controversy over this 1st line. I'm going to weigh in on the NO side. I didn't like that first line. I agree with the commenter who said it sounds young. It actually really annoyed me and set a totally wrong tone for reading the rest of the page.

    On the other hand, after reading the rest of the page, I go back to the first line and it doesn't bother me so much. Sunaya feels like a jungle tribe kid or something and in that way it feels like she would call them bad men in sort of a not perfect English sort of way. Or what her people call the money hungry people who come to try and rape the land or something. And then all of a sudden it felt in character. But before I felt that, it annoyed me. And I think "and everything changed" is sort of useless anyway. You could probably just start with Blood pumped...

    For some reason the specific animals--the martial eagle sentence and the next one sort of brought me out of the story as well. It didn't feel like they fit.

    Overall I think this has potential. The story seems interesting and the writing is good. I'd tweak a little but definite potential.

  12. I liked this. I liked that you were showing us what was happening, with just enough telling so that we know what's going on. I'd keep reading.