Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October Secret Agent #38


To send me out to the wilds with this squabble of brats, I must have done something cruel to fate.
It’s a beautiful morning. Summer’s heat has passed and the trees are just starting to turn. After I finished my chores, I planned to sneak off with a book for a few hours, enjoy the fall now that harvesting is through monopolizing my life. But Momma caught me before I set foot off the yard. She wanted more tree bark and roots. Oh, and because that’s not painful enough, I also had to take some of the kids with me. I almost hope one of the monsters is out there to kill me.

Since no amount of protests convinced her otherwise, I’m stuck ushering them towards the edge of the compound. The force field is still up, keeping us safe under its rosy dome, but there’s only about fifteen minutes until it’s down for the day. The color deepens as we approach the border, veiling the forest beyond in magenta.

It’s pretty, calming, but my sense of peace is roughly cut off when the two littlest kids knock into me. I yell at them to stop horsing around, not that it does any good. They run off through the trees and I don’t feel like chasing after them. They’ll be fine anyway.


  1. The transition between the first sentence and then next seems a little abrupt to me.

    Also, the first sentence and the last in the last paragraph seem somewhat contrary. At first, it seems like her sense of peace being roughly cut off is a premonition of sorts, but then the last sentence negates that and that confused me.

    But I like the voice of the protagonist.

  2. Good voice, but watch out for tense.

  3. Famous last words, lol. I like the idea of this, but the narrator isn't earning much sympathy for her cavalier treatment of the young ones. The dome is the most interesting part of the story so far. I even like how obscure you leave the mention of "monsters", which could be anything.

    Watch tense, and sentence structure. Your opening line isn't grammatically correct. "To send me out with this squabble of brats," shouldn't be followed by a fragment with "I" as the subject, since it is the mother who sends the mc out there. "To be sent out to the wilds... I..." would be more correct.

    I'd read on.

  4. I agree with all above. The last sentence actually diminishes any tension you have built. Remember, the reader is trusting the writer. If you tell me they'll be fine, I stop worrying. This could be a great trick, but it can also backfire.

    I'm curious, but not totally hooked yet.

  5. I like the voice, but the prose seems a little clunky. I'd give it another page or so, but I'm not 100% hooked.

  6. I don't have much to add the above. The tense did have me stumbling here and there. The first sentence is not your best effort and it definitely should be. I like the last sentence. It lets me know that "No they will not be fine anyway". : )

    I would not continue reading because your writing isn't flowing for me.

    Read the above again and listen to their advice. Good luck!

  7. I love YA sci fi and I would keep reading because of that, but I do agree with the comments above. I'm not really feeling for the protagonist here and the transition between the 1st sentence and the second is abrupt. Although the 1st sentence did hook me. I am interested to see what happens though.

  8. I think the first sentence isn't working for you, because she hasn't been sent out to the wilds. She's in her compound. And how can you do anything, good or bad, to fate?

    The entire piece is told, so we don't see the colorful leaves or the pinkish dome or the bratty kids. We just have to accept that everything is the way the MC says, just because she told us it's so. SHowing helps with the believability issue and creates images your readers can see.

    If there are monsters out there, I wondered why they would shut the force field off at night. Do they want the monsters to approach?

    Overall, I thought this could use some revision.

  9. In addition to the other comments, there's too much backstory in the beginning. Focus on action and not what already happened. It'll help to keep the pace flowing and the tension higher.

    Btw, I kinda liked the they'll be fine anyway line because I assumed she'll be wrong about that.

  10. Her mother sent her out there with a gaggle of children and only 15 minutes until a force field keeping out monsters goes down for the night? Why? That seems like the very recipe for Bad Things. I feel like I know exactly what is going to happen, but because it was so set-up, I don’t feel worried about it. It’s hard to worry when characters walk so obviously but unknowingly into danger.