Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September Secret Agent #31

TITLE: Nanoplague
GENRE: thriller

Dr. Catherine Thomas’ eyes threatened to close, so she decided to leave her nanotechnology lab and go home, shower, and sleep a bit before picking Ryan up at the airport. She missed him and needed him now more than ever. If only he would stay this time.

She trudged towards her cherry Smart Roadster with shoulders drooping and feet dragging. Halfway there, she heard steps crunching across the sandy concrete. She lifted her head and spotted him: the young man in the suit from the charcoal Audi. He was striding in her direction. Their eyes met, and she knew he had come for her. Her pulse kick-started. She scanned the car park left and right. No one. Bollocks. She pivoted and sprinted for the lab, but her sleep-deprived body moved in slow motion.
His footsteps pounded faster and faster. No. She would not let him catch her. Still running, she crossed the street and transferred her car keys to her left hand. As soon as she reached the entrance, she began to enter the code.

He grabbed her around the waist from behind and slammed her into the building’s door. “Where do you think you’re going, moça?”

She kicked and scratched.

He laughed and shook his head, making a clicking sound with his tongue.


She twisted and raised her keys to slash his face, but he didn’t give her the chance.


  1. First sentence runs a bit long, but the introduction of Ryan is interesting.

    I like the way sentences become shorter, more concise, driving the pace. Paragraph breaks could add to the effect and bring more focus to key sentences.

    The end of this sample leaves me asking a few questions. No security cameras to worry about around a lab housing nanotech? Why didn't she scream? What time of day is it and is there no one around to help her? A bit more detail to help with setting could go a long way toward establishing mood in a thriller.

    This has a lot of potential but I'm not hooked yet.

  2. I'm intrigued, but I need more to understand where the story's going. How does Dr. Catherine Thomas know the suit man is after her? Why is she running back to the lab? Missing elements make it confusing for me. I have no idea what "moca" or "querida" mean - should I? Is Ryan her husband? boyfriend? Son? I like the title, and would like to know more :)

  3. What I loved about this piece was the tension... it starts off calm and then it hits us - someone is following her and tries to take her right in front of her work building - very bold. I also wondered if the building has security cameras.

    I'd keep reading. I want to know if she got away.

  4. I think the writing needs smoothing out here but a pretty promising start overall.

    I really dislike the title.

    Overall, well-done.

  5. I thought this could be more exciting if you slowed the pacing. Once the suit guy starts chasing her, perhaps slow it down a bit by giving us more details. Is she panting? Does she get a stitch in her side? SHow us how things seem to her when she feels she's running in slow motion.

    And what about suit guy? Is he getting closer? Can she hear his footsteps, feel his breath on her neck? Instead of zipping through the chase scene, draw it out.

  6. My first thought was that "nanotechnology lab" is way too generic. Give the lab a name that such a lab would have, and in an offhand way you can drop the info that it's nanotech she's working on. Some detail that makes it real, like she hates the way she has to use a respirator whenever she's working in the "active" part of the nanotech lab, or some such.

    I also agreed the pacing was too fast. Barbara has good advice there.

  7. Hi,

    The biggest thing that comes to mind is that several characters are mentioned at the same time. Maybe it's possible to lower the number.

    Instead of naming "Kenneth" now, maybe sentence 2 could end with "Da's friend." (dropping upon one horse)

    It surprised me that Lia would run for the cottage instead of towards her friend.

    "Why hadn't her dreams forewarned her?" combined with the second sentence is almost the same as "but her fate-dreams had failed to give a timely warning for Da." Repetition.

    I looked for suggestions to help, which is why I wrote the above comments, but the plot so far sounds interesting.

    Good luck!

  8. OOps,

    Right comment. Wrong story. Hang my head in shame.

  9. I liked this and would read on. 'Nanotechnology lab' struck me as an authorial intrusion though. If she works there every day, Catherine isn't going to think of it as a 'nanotechnology lab', just a lab. I don't think we need to know at this point that it's a nanotech lab, the hook in this scene is whether Catherine escapes from her pursuer and why she is being chased in the first place.