Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April Secret Agent #45

TITLE: Meditation
GENRE: YA Thriller

I’m not sure what wakes me up first, the pounding in my head or the concrete floor I’m lying on. A moan escapes my lips and echoes around the room. The echo surprises me into opening my eyes, which makes my head throb even more. As the throbbing slows and my eyes adjust to the dim light, I take in my surroundings.

What the hell is going on? I have no idea where I am. The room is unfamiliar in addition to being bare and completely gross. My eyes track across the floor, and I cringe at the dust and dirt covering it.

Refusing to lay in filth regardless of what’s going on—which I’m not ready to think about yet—I place my hand flat in front of my chest and push myself to a seated position. The familiarity of the motion I use in yoga every day usually calms me, but now my head just pounds harder.

I breathe in through my nose for a cleansing breath, and cough when the smells of the place register. It smells like something died in here. Or lots of somethings. I try to breathe through my mouth instead, but that only dulls the stench, so I cover my nose with my shirt. Which doesn’t really help, either.

Shaking my head, I attempt to stand, but my knees wobble. Whatever knocked me out is still in my system. I get halfway up, and my legs give out, so I fall back to my hands and knees.


  1. Not sure how I feel about the story beginning with your MC waking up. Everything I've read about fiction writing says this should be avoided. I think it's been overdone, which is why it's frowned upon?

    I'm not drawn in enough to want to read on. Maybe you could start earlier? Perhaps a scene of the MC being abducted?

  2. I think in general people have a problem with the waking-up beginning when it's a regular day, waking up in one's own bed, so I'm less worried about that here.

    However, I agree that I'm not really feeling pulled into this character's situation. I guess maybe more emotion or even a sense of panic (if called for) would help put us on your MC's side.

    Still, I'm definitely curious about where your MC is and what brought him/her there, so I'd read on.

  3. Your MC seems more concerned that she's lying in filth than the fact that she's waking up in a strange place.

    It's so hard to tell with only 250 words but unless she's used to waking up in strange places, I'd think she'd be terrified not disgusted.

  4. This feels very familiar, which is a drawback IMO. Don't connect with the MC's disgust at her surroundings. Why isn't she freaked out at being somewhere unknown?

  5. If you're going to open with your MC awakening in a strange place after getting knocked out, we need to get a sense of his/her disorientation and fear. The MC's oddly relaxed. I certainly wouldn't be. Make us feel it!

  6. I'm okay with the waking up since it's not your typical "here I am waking in my comfy bed" scene. That said, you are describing what should be a traumatic experience in very detached language. I don't feel a sense of confusion, anger, panic, fear or anything from your mc. I'd suggest cutting out some of the blow by blow movements and add in more internalization.

  7. Beginning with waking does not bother me. I WOULD like to know sooner if the MC is a male or female.

    Your description of the surroundings is super, and I think young adults would appreciate the 'eeuuuu' factor of waking up in filth. ;-)

    Like others have mentioned, there is a lot of psychic distance in this, which pushes away emotion.

    I liked the premise and voice and would read on.

  8. Great voice and description. I don't mind a main character waking up in this suspenseful manner, but I'm not sure I believe she'd know it had been some sort of drug that knocked her out. She should have no idea what happened, be woozy without knowing why. And I'd expect her to panic a bit more and look for possible modes of escape. Is she locked in a room? That should be the first thing she notices, in my opinion.

  9. Iagree that the MC needs to be a bit more out of it and adding more pnic and fear would help the scene. I'd read on because I want to know wha happened. And I'm also curious about the MC and really want to know more about him/her.

  10. I'd like to echo the sentiment from the secret agent about showing what the character is feeling. I wasn't quite sure what wasn't working for me, but that nails it. I think fewer descriptions of physical movements, replacing those with what the character is feeling, and insight into who this person is and the setting of your story, will really help. Best of luck :)