Wednesday, January 15, 2014

January Secret Agent #28

TITLE: Dreamwalker
GENRE: YA Fantasy/Retelling

This is stupid, Alice decided. If someone Googled stupid they’d find a picture of her sitting in the dirt, waiting to be attacked. Hatta and his dumb ideas. Try live bait, he said. Won’t take long, he said. Ass.

The cold of the ground seeped into her jeans, numbing her skin. A shiver shook her and she wrapped her arms around herself to ward off the nighttime chill.

As time stretched, shadows filled the forest. Tangled branches, leaves and vines choked the canopy, keeping the moonlight at bay. The smell of damp earth mingled with the sharp scent of moss and fresh water. Creatures chittered, calling to one another, no doubt mocking her. She felt incredibly mockable.

This wasn’t just stupid, it was crazy, but after trudging through the woods for hours, exhausted and starving, who wouldn’t be somewhat unhinged?

Something croaked a low moooooooron.

“Oh, come on!” Alice’s shout swept outward in echoing waves, silencing the forest save the whispering wind. “Fine. Fine! S’fine.” She pushed to her feet and dusted off her butt. “Guess we’ll do this the hard way.”

She’d backtrack to the Gateway. Hopefully the trail hadn’t gone cold. As she walked, an odd sort of pressure slid along her limbs. Goose bumps prickled her flesh. She paused. Everything remained still, quiet enough for her to hear what she believed to be the wind more clearly as it became a low, heavy pulsing rush. Whuush. Whuush.

Not wind. Breathing.

This plan was stupid, but it worked.


  1. Honestly, I think this is great. It gives a really good sense of the MC, the voice is engaging, and the scenario is interesting enough to make me want to keep reading.

    My suggestions are all pretty minor:
    1. Comma between leaves and vines
    2. "Sharp scent" in the third paragraph should be plural, since you're talking about moss and water.
    3. I'm not sure "silencing the forest save the whispering wind" fits with the overall tone/voice of the opening. It sticks out.

    Overall, this is great.


    Possibly an unholy amount.

    I disagree about the "sharp scent" comment above, because if the "moss and water" are combined into one smell, then pluralizing isn't needed. Definitely a stylistic choice.

    The voice here is just incredible. I'm immediately hooked and not just wanting, but NEEDING more.

  3. This one has me hook, line and sinker! Love this intro and want to know more, indeed! My only nitpick would be to change:

    "This plan was stupid..." to "THE plan was stupid, but it worked."

    I have no idea what "retelling" is, but if this is representative of the genre, I like it!

  4. #28 I read this a few times in search of something to say beyond "I like this a lot," but I have found nothing.

    So. I like this a lot. The voice is fantastic, and the whole thing flows very smoothly. There's an interesting character in an interesting situation and enough details about the world to ground me. I want to know what exactly it is Alice is waiting for and why, but I trust that is coming in the next few pages (and would totally keep reading to find out).

  5. Try italicizing the word "stupid" in the second sentence. The descriptions in your second paragraph are very nicely done. I would like to see your characters' observations more and what her reaction might be like to them. Does the clammy atmosphere maker her depressed?
    Nicely done. It left us all wondering what happens next and what their plan is!!

  6. Awesome! Great voice, great flow, great atmosphere. I definitely want to keep reading.

  7. Hooked! The engaging voice and vivid descriptions make it easy to fall right into this forest with Alice. I want to keep reading.