Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October Secret Agent #26

TITLE: From The Fallen
GENRE: YA Dystopian

Some say it started with the earthquakes and flooding, but Falcon knew it started with the greed. She wasn’t old enough to know Hell-A in its prime, when the people called it L.A and the Hell Wood sign still read Hollywood, but her parents had known it well. The stories they told made her long for the time when Sunset Strip held advertisements for Coca-Cola and Budweiser and not recruitment posters for the Stronghold.

They made it sound so glamorous, though, the people’s army with their shiny gasmask and pretty guns. And the slogan was so inspiring.

“Join forces with the Stronghold and restore our city’s potential.”

Flacon scoffed at the pictures of the boys smiling down at her with their masks pushed back on their foreheads, basking in the sun kissing their faces. Sun. She snorted and let her gaze stray to the smog covered sky. The sun hadn’t broken through the pollution since before the Corruptors had fled, leaving behind their mess for the poor and weak to live in. Cleaning up the city was too big a job, which Falcon knew, but she still stayed behind. Despite what she told her brother, the pact they made wasn’t the only thing binding her to the city. Even if they found their parents killers she doubted whether or not she would leave. She wanted the good citizens to have a voice again.

Under her modified gasmask, Falcon scanned the streets as she prowled from one shadowed alley to the next.


  1. There are some intriguing ideas here but nothing really happens. I'm wondering if your last sentence might be leading us to the action. Consider interspersing action and background. FYI the second paragraph starts with 'they' and it seems to refer to the parents. I suspect you mean the posters but it's unclear.

  2. No. 'They' means the people in charge of the Stronghold. Not her parents. Her parents told her stories of the way things used to be. This is how things are now. I will clarify.

  3. That really sounds sharp as I reread it. And it isn't! :D I really appreciate the feedback!

    Thank you! x

  4. I like the history lesson, but it doesn't seem like the right place to begin. Maybe a more active scene would work better to also show how Falcon is plotting for the "citizens to have a voice again"? But the info about the Stronghold is interesting.

    Falcon's name is misspelled in the 4th paragraph, as well, and "parents killers" should be possessive.

    As it stands now, I'm sot compelled to read on.

  5. That was supposed to read "sorry, but I'm not".

    And since I'm commenting again, I thought I'd add that there is a lot of potential, but I'd like to "see" more of Falcon's character, rather than hear her narrative.

  6. It's an interesting premise, but I didn't have a good idea of the character and what her world is like. There's a bit too much back story rather than showing how and why Falcon lives the way she does.

  7. This is truly cinematic! You're creating a world of the imagination, n' finding the place to start is one of the hardest things in writing a book like this. I think if you find where the action, and the conflict, starts for Falcon, and open the story there, you will have something absolutely breath-taking! You've already got me interested in reading more...


  8. You spelled "Falcon" incorrectly at the start of the fourth paragraph.

    Ditto with Plumbago that to hook us into the novel, something needs to happen. I absolutely love the world building you've set up, so maybe start the novel with the last line so we have movement and a question introduced to the reader (i.e., why Falcon is sneaking around alleys).

    Best of luck!

  9. Personally, I like this beginning even though it's for the most part backstory. The voice is strong, and the situation and worldbuilding are clear. I did feel like the 'good' in 'good citizens' might be out of voice (it sounds adult).

    That said, this beginning does distance me from the story. Perhaps I'd have been even more hooked if these 250 were a close-up scene with the main character actively doing something--and the backstory was dribbled in later.

  10. I am mortified over the misspelling of Falcon. Mortified! :(

    Again, thanks for the feedback. xxx

  11. This sounds like a story I would read, but it would be nice if you could wait a page or two for this backstory. I would like to see something happen, even something small so I could connect with Falcon. I would read on though.

  12. I would sugget starting with the last sentence, and as she skulks around the city, looking for whatever it is she's looking for (perhaps we should know what that is) you can work in some of the previous info.

    For instance, maybe she sees the Hell Wood sign in the distance, you can describe the billboards as she passes them, you could make the smog part of the scenery.

    In other words, rather than giving us several pargs telling us what this world is like, just get on with the story, and work in a line of info here and there as Falcon goes about her business.

    The world you've created does interest me (loved Hell-A)and I'd probably give this another page or two, but I want to see more plot than desription.

  13. Helpful comment, Barbara, and exactly in line with what I was thinking. :) Thank you!

  14. You've definitely created an interesting world. But I'd start with the last line - with the MC engaged in some sort of action - and sprinkle the backstory throughout.

  15. Well written, interesting set-up. At this point, the biggest hurdle for me is that the voice isn’t really coming off as YA. And not just because it isn’t in first person or talking about omg the new boy in class. ;) It lacks immediacy, too caught up in explaining how this world has changed from the one we know, rather than letting this world stand for itself. And I don’t know if I’ve ever heard “She wanted the good citizens to have a voice again” in reference to anyone who wasn’t a middle-aged politician. It’s fine if Falcon is idealistic, but that idealism can’t come off like a sound bite.