Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October Secret Agent #5


Devlynn bolted from her bed. Sprinting the down hall, she burst into her parents' room. She grabbed her sleeping father's shoulder. "Damon's hurt!" she said. Her mother turned on the bedside lamp and swung her feet to the floor. "Damon's hurt? What happened? Did someone call?"

She reached for her robe. "No, I was asleep and I heard him saying my name. He's hurt somewhere there is water and rocks. He's upside down. He doesn't know where he is, but he's hurt." Devlynn pulled violently on her father's arm.

"Okay, Devie, I'm awake. Just slow down," her father said.

Her mother sat back on the bed, visibly relieved. "Oh, Devie, it was just a bad dream."

"No, wasn't a dream. He was calling for me. He's hurt and he knows I will hear him. He's upside down. His head hurts. He can see water and rocks." She paced the room.

"You had a really bad dream. I am sure Damon is fine. We'll call him, okay?" her father said.

She shook her head as he lifted his cell phone. He dialed and waited. "Straight to voicemail..." He frowned. "Damon, it's your dad. Your sister is very worried about you. Call us as soon as you get this."

Devie sunk to the floor. She needed to focus. She fought to breathe through the hysteria. What had she seen in the dream before his voice woke her? What else was there?


  1. Grrrr....Blogger doesn't let me do much in the ways of editing. Though I have already put together a super detailed one :( (Feel free to email me if you'd like to see it)

    Pretty much I feel like this needs work. There are many words that aren't needed (such as some dialogue tags) and an over abundance of "he's, she's, his's and her's". It's okay to use her name more often, actually it's better to use her name more often.

    Also, be careful to make sure that the action that comes before the dialogue belongs to the person speaking.

    Over all, I am left wondering why her brother is hanging upside down, but I feel like it's missing something.

  2. I agree with Marybeth that it's missing something. I think what it's missing is her reactions. It seems to be a bunch of facts. She does this, that and the other thing, but doesn't react to anything she sees and does. No emotions are expressed or felt. Perhaps slow this down by giving us a bit more.

    For instance - Devlynn bolted from her bed. You might follow that up with why. Damon was in trouble. You're not giving anything away. The reader now asks himself, who is Damon and what's his problem - a reason to read on right in your first paragraph. Then add her reaction. I have to tell mom. or But was it real or just a dream - whatever fits with your plot.

    When she tells her parents she saw it in her sleep, is she crying when she tells them? Is she frightened? Unbelieving? Or determined to make them believe?

    When she's pacing, is she thinking - Why won't they take this seriously? Or - Maybe they're right. It was just a dream. Adding her thoughts and reactions will strengthen her as a character as well as strengthen the storyline.

  3. I'm compelled by the situation and would read on for a bit to find out if Damon is okay. The short sentences really add to the suspense, but I need a little more of Devlynn to be pulled in and really care about her. Right now I can't even tell how old she is--if she's a kid--if not, why she's living with her parents. As is, I'd at least continue to the end of the page to find out.

  4. A good, tense opening which could be improved with editing.
    Should be 'Sprinting down the hall.'
    She reached for her robe should go with the mother's dialogue as I assume you're talking about the mother here.
    Overall there's good action and I'd like to read more.

  5. Hi! I am the author. I wanted to say THANK YOU so much for taking the time to comment. I greatly appreciate the feedback.

    Since it has been mentioned more than once, I feel the need to point out "She reached for her robe" is an unintentional format error. It appears after the mom's dialogue on my copy. I am not sure how it ended up at the beginning of the next paragraph here.

    *I also wasn't sure if I should post under my normal name or not, please let me know if I need to change it to anon.*

  6. I'd read on to find out why Damon is upside down.

    Some suggestions for improvement:

    Sprinting down the hall. (Instead of the down hall).

    "He's hurt somewhere, where there's water and rocks." (Inserted where).

    "He's hurt and he knows I heard him ..." (instead of I will hear him. She already heard him).

    Repetition of upside down and hurts not necessary.

    Best of luck!

  7. This formatting is crazy. It needs a good editing to trim down the unnecessary words and to format the dialogue and narrative in a way that makes sense.

    I'm intrigued, but the formatting and cluttered sentence would make me put this back on the shelf.

  8. Dawn, this is good but needs work. For example, 'She reached for her robe' I wasn't sure who...I think the mother, but my brain is back on that line when it should be with my eyes on the next one.

    A more striking example is the paragraph with 7 he, his or hims. Too much! She shook her head as he lifted his cell phone. He dialed and waited. Too much she and he! IMO of muddles an interesting start.

    Good luck!

  9. The dialogue doesn't give us much here. From the short sentences, I'm guessing that Devlynn is very young. I'm not getting strong characterization or emotion from her words. I'd love to get a sense of whether or not she does this frequently (see things in her dreams). Are her parents brushing her off because she's just a kid or because she's cried wolf before?

  10. I think a lot of the formatting problems for some of the author submissions come from not saving their word file as a plain text file.

    Saying that, of course you know to break dialogue into separate paragraphs for two different speakers.

    A little thing: her father asked (not said).

    This reads as a bit paranormal, although so many things have doctors scatching their heads.

    I like these kinds of stories and would read on.

  11. Hmm. I really do want to like this, but it's missing something. I don't know what I'm getting caught on, I'm just not hooked. It seems forced for some reason.

  12. So I think this has an interesting premise, but I feel it's not quite living up to its potential. I'm not really getting a sense of the urgency by the parents--is that because they're not aware her dreams come true? Do they come true? Has this ever happened to her before?I think we need to put her reaction into context here a little.

    And seems like she'd be more hysterical or more determined otr more somkething, depending on what her abilities are and her past experiences with dreams.

    I think this needs some tightening up for sure but I think you've got an interesting premise that's got potential.