Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April Secret Agent #12

TITLE: Dreamscape
GENRE: YA Contemporary Fantasy

I have no idea where in the hell I’m going. It’s cold and I’m lost. Not to mention marginally freaked out, and a whole lot ticked off.

This is the worse place yet. A shipyard. Rogers said to meet him here at a quarter to ten tonight. It’s five minutes after ten now and there’s still no sign of him. He does this all the time. Keeps me waiting. And I’m not allowed to say anything about it. The one time I arrived ten minutes late, he went off the deep end. I swear flames flared up in his eyes.

Our “little arrangement” was the only thing that saved my hide.

I’ve seen him mad at other people. Livid, even. And Rogers livid is basically a death sentence. Because Rogers’ version of anger isn’t the same as yours or mine. Rogers is animalistic. Reactive. Believes in the “order of things,” and when someone disrupts that order, he finds a way to right it again. Which usually means the other person’s head on a platter. So, now, I’m always on time.

I know he’s here, lingering in the shadows. He tests people, makes sure they’re keeping their word. And it’s this fact, the fact that I know he’s here, just watching, that irritates the hell out of me. My face feels hot even though it can’t be more than twenty degrees out. I keep trudging forward. If I keep moving, maybe I won’t freeze to death.


  1. I like that you delve right into the character's voice, and we get a firm picture of where we are and what he's doing here. I think you can probably tighten it a bit, so we can get to the actual meeting quicker, but I'm glad we have a firm understanding of who Roger is.

    Two minor issues:

    It should be: This is the WORST place yet.

    In the second to last paragraph, there's so much build up and build up about what he does to people he's angry with... only to end with 'other person's head on a platter'. That cliche was a let-down for me. Could you convey the same meaning with something more unique to you?

  2. Really enjoyed this excerpt! I think you did a great job of making me feel attached to your character. Which is what it's ALL about for me as a reader. I'm interested in her situation, want to know more, and I'm really digging this guy Rogers already. Your characters and voice come through very strong, the only thing I'd like to know more of is the plot. What/where is she, and what's is this "little arrangement" between her and Rogers. I'd definitely read on--and I'd love a query letter/summary to see what the story's all about!
    Ninja Girl

  3. Oh, one thing: Is everything supposed to be in italics? I just chalked that up to a computer mistake. Anyway regardless, if I was an agent, I'd request more!

  4. I really like your writing and the situation. I'm hooked!

  5. The italics kind of threw me too, I was hoping it was also just an error with submission.

    I agree with Chro's comment about the head on a platter; ditch the cliche and come up with something new and descriptive to show us why your character is so scared.

    I would keep reading but I'd need some concrete context soon after with who your character is and why he's obligated to follow Rogers. I don't personally favor vague tension - I want to see Rogers and how scary he is and why your character is involved with him. B

    Best of luck to you!

  6. I'm with everyone else, the italics are frustrating, at best. If you're in your character's head & about to jump out to 3rd person, I wouldn't advise it. If it stays in 1st person, you should be able to ditch the 'thought-bubble' style italics and just write it. That is what 1st person is about, anyway. Being in your character's head.

    The tone is really good - you convey your MC's irritation and frustration well. Careful with the cliche phrases (off the deep end, head on a platter, etc). Too much too often is a turn-off.

    Otherwise, just a little tightening (but then, can't we all use just a little tightening, always?). I'd read more - Best of luck!

  7. I like the voice, and the mystery of Roger, but for me, this goes on too long, and gives too much exposition. Roger's anger, the one time she (he?) was late, Roger testing her (him?)...I wanted to either get more context, because this drops us into the middle of something and we have no idea what, or more action. It sounds like it's going to get really interesting so I think you can get us more invested by shortening this description and giving us a better sense of what's going on.
    Good luck!
    Dana (#41)

  8. The title and the italics made me think this might be a dream rather than something actually happening to your character--or that somehow your character is meeting Rogers in a dream. But I like the voice well enough to keep reading and find out.

  9. It was an interesting 250 that makes me want to read more. Lose the italics as has already been said. Let us know if your MC is male or female. The throw-away line of "our little arrangement" kept me safe is actually a hand grenade. It has connotations of sexual use or abuse. I'm not sure that's where you were going - if not, then reconsider. Roger sounds appropraitely menacing but I agree that the "other person's head on a platter" falls flat - lose that and instead substitute something really designed to shock the reader. But, strong writing and I'd read more.

  10. I just couldn't get into this. I think it was the fourth paragraph that really fell bland to me. The idea is good, but I felt like you were telling me all about it instead of showing me. For an opening, I want to see action happening and have it pull me into the story.

    For example, when you're telling us how the MC has seen Rogers mad at other people, that it means death in and animalistic sort of way, I personally feel like. Oh, he's a mean person. Okay. But if you showed me with his actions ruthless he was, I would actually feel it.

    I do like the the last paragraph though. It makes me feel like I'm starting to get into the character's mind a little more.

  11. The itallics threw me a little because I thought 'oh, no. A dream...'

    But I was intrigued. I would have liked to have seen more action though, less introspection about what Rogers is like.

  12. The writing is solid for the most part. Twice you forgot an apostrophe to denote something as belonging to Rogers, and there's that cliche that's been pointed out.

    What I like about this page is that even though nothing happens, the tension is there, and you do a good job of showing Rogers character through your MC.

  13. In agreement w/the other comments re: cliches and italics. You give good tease but I would have liked to see something more of why the MC is there, a hint of the 'little arrangement'. I didn't quite feel enough of a connection to the MC.

  14. I have to agree with everyone else about the italics, but I did feel connected to the MC and would keep reading.

  15. Oh technology. I know the italics are probably not supposed to be here.

    Moving past them, I think this can be tightened up. The second paragraph is all about how he is on time and Rogers isn't, but then the last paragraph tells us that Rogers is probably there lurking. I think that second item is much more interesting to know.

    I also wanted to keep the sense that the MC is moving on foot through the entire first page. I lose that thread and then when it picks up again in the last two sentences, I'm irritated and wonder what I missed.

    Their "little arrangement" is probably going to be not so little.