Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October Secret Agent #20


Hitting the ground is the hardest part. Nine times out of ten, it’s dirt or gravel. But all it takes is that one time on concrete, or worse, asphalt, to send even the most experienced Shifter into a panic.

My feet slammed into cobblestone. Muskets cracked and echoed down the alley where I’d landed. Acrid gunpowder stung my nostrils, searing my throat as I fought back a cough. My hair caught in the warm brick wall behind me, twanging and snapping as I lowered myself into a crouch. The gunfire grew louder and louder, bouncing off both sides of the narrow passageway, so I couldn’t tell which direction it was coming from.

Where was I? Valley Freakin’ Forge?

If so, my dang transporter had missed the target by well over two centuries. Good grief. How hard was a 23rd to 21st Shift? Wyck must have set a new personal record. He would pay for this when I got back.

If I got back.

Puffs of fresh gunsmoke clouded the few rays of sun in the dim alley. I slipped behind an empty barrel and pulled out my QuantCom. A Virginia address and instructions popped up. “Bree Bennis, pre-Tricentinniel midterm. Deposit package contents on Muffy van Sloot’s grave with following message: ‘There’s no time like the past.’”

So help me, I thought, if this is for a dead cat, heads will roll.


  1. Oh I love this! I'm a huge fan of time travel so you hooked me right away.
    My only suggestion is to cut the description in the second graph. It's too much and lags your pacing/messes with the flow of your voice. IMO, remove the sentence about the hair - I'm thinking you're hinting your MC is a girl but it's a bit clumsy here.

  2. This sounds sooo interesting. Although, I'm confused as to why hitting the ground would send a Shifter into a panic. Wouldn't it hurt them? Other than that, it's a very intense and well described scene.

  3. I like the action and the voice. It makes me think that this will be a fun story with cool gadgets and loads of action.

    I didn't believe that the main character really is afraid that he or she might not get back, dispite the 'if I get back line'. I feel this way because the first paragraph and the last sentence lead me to believe this person has shifted quite a few time before and always returned.

  4. Very different. Love the voice of the MC. It's quiry. And the writing was strong.

    The only thing I think, it could do with is a bit more emotion. There's no real reaction to the gun shots. Or if he will ever et back.

    Wait, he? He or she?

  5. I enjoyed this and would continue reading.

    I would cut some of your adjectives and some of the overall descriptions. Tighten.

    Should Tricentinniel be Tricentennial? Not actually sure about that one...

    I love your last line. Good luck!

  6. I also was hooked by this. Wish I knew if we're dealing with a male or female MC and wondered how he/she knew it was musket fire, but otherwise a great beginning.

    And that last line made me lol.

    Good luck!

  7. I'd suggest cutting the first parg. because the thing you're warning about doesn't happen, so it doesn't relate to anything. But I wouldn't start with the 2nd parg either. I do think it needs a lead in of some sort- something that let's us know this is time travel.

    I wondered how she knew the guns were muskets and not rifles or blunderbusses. Afer all, she was supposed to land in the 21st century, it seems, so why would she immediately assume she was at Valley Forge in the 1700's? It seems the cobblestones are all she has to give her a sense of where and when she is, and they wouldn't automatically make someone assume valley forge 1700's.

    Also, would smoke from muskets fired at a distance be filling the alley? Probably not. And if she was supposed to deliver her package in Virginia, wouldn't she assume that's where she was, rather than New York, even if she was 2 centuries off course?

    Having said all that, I'd still read on because you caught my interest with her quest. Hopefully, I wouldn't keep coming up against these anomalies.

  8. I really like this one. I would definitely keep reading.

  9. Thanks so much, everyone, for your feedback!

  10. Great grabby opening and I'd keep reading.

    A couple of things: I think it's a female narrator but I'd lose the hair "twanging"....also slang is so hard and we're in the future so "dang" and "good grief" just sound way off. Also agree that you don't need line about "if I got back"....that's not where your tension is coming from. Great last line!

  11. This is pretty awesome. The sentence of the hair twanging and snapping gave me a weird picture-- Does brick really do that to hair? It's never done it to mine.

    Anyways, I'd read on for sure :)

  12. I admit, my reaction might be my own prejudice. I see a lot of queries for YA time travel, and they’ve started to blur because they tend to fit this same mold. So the writing isn’t bad here, but the set up doesn’t excite me. Also, if she thinks she might be two centuries off, then wouldn’t the mission be a moot point? I know what century I was in would concern me more than my midterm at that point, but maybe she’s used to it.