Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September Secret Agent #40

GENRE: Young Adult

Red and blue lights flashed in the rearview mirror, setting Nox Somner's teeth on edge. She shot a glance at the blond boy in the driver's seat.

"So, you pulling over, or should I hop out the window and make a break for it?" Nox grabbed the window crank, tight fingers betraying the anxiety behind her joke.

"Very funny." Memphis sighed, slowly pulling to the side of the road. "I don't get it. I wasn't speeding. All my lights are working. I just want to get home and drown my math test blues in biscuits and gravy. Is that so much to ask?"

"Well, if it isn't my favorite officer." Nox watched in the side mirror as Sergeant Carris bumbled around inside the car, doing whatever cops do while people wait, hearts pounding to find out what they had done wrong. Flashing lights and police presence made Nox's heart pound for a different reason. She first met the Sergeant when he came to tell her and Haden their parents were dead.

Drumming her fingers in rhythm to the rain, her eyes sought out the River Styx flowing next to the road. The curving grey water soothed her. Don't freak out. Memphis got pulled over all the time; it probably had nothing to do with her. Dr. Tom said these panic moments were part of her PTSD. It made therapists feel better to name stuff, but as far as she could tell, having a name for painful emotions didn't make them easier to deal with.


  1. Lots to like here. Loved all the dialog.

    However, you kind of ruin the suspense by saying Memphis got pulled over all the time. I was feeling nervous along with her until then. Now I'm feeling like she's suffering from panic disorder instead. Why not let her feel the normal anxiety anyone feels when the cops pull you over? Then I'm in suspense to see what's going to happen, instead of getting bogged down in her downplaying of the situation.

  2. Agree with the above comment and also, the last paragraph dumps info on us. Maybe show some of this rather than telling?

    Keep revising.

  3. Interested, but agree with the above.

    Also, I would change "car" to "cruiser" to make it clear the Sergeant is in his own car, not Nox's.

  4. Writing needs some smoothing out. Try reading dialogue out loud to make sure it sounds natural.

    I really like the last line, it's nice and punchy.

    I like the characters' names.

    But this could have been a little more exciting or intriguing, something doesn't feel very urgent about it to me.

  5. interesting...the river this a mythology story? i like the characters' names.

  6. I'd read more. Great start. I want to know why the river is Styx of all rivers.

  7. I would definitely read on for at least a few more pages.

    To make things more urgent, try starting when the officer is walking to the car, have a tiny flash of opening her door to find him there on the night her parents died, and then back to the car and what she's worrying about now.

    Also, watch your POV--would Nox really notice that her tight fingers were "betraying the anxiety behind her joke?" Show us her fingers, and we'll understand the betrayal without you having to spell it out.

    Overall, interesting beginning.