Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March Secret Agent #47

TITLE: Farlight
GENRE: YA sci-fi

Inching forward on my stomach, I craned my neck into the darkness of the vent. Pollen dust filled my nose and my hands faltered in the dim light. I wasn’t designed for this. For life on the Asteris. For life on Earth either. I was designed for another planet entirely.

One I’d never see.

I paused, flicking my lavender-green light against the void. All along the sidewalls, it flared back at me, tracing the impurities in the ductwork in spidery streaks of yellow and blue. Soon they’d grow into cracks, then fissures: a lacy web out of which the air would seep. Away from the ship’s cycling system.

But air wasn’t the resource I was here for. My charges were much less predictable.

I dragged myself onward. Wrist, forearm, shove; wrist, forearm, shove; every movement calculated and heavy against the press of the walls. The air was stale with the scent of over-clocked computers and fried autorations. Humid and oppressive. Someday, chasing after these stray beehives would be the death of me.

I adjusted my sensor glove, the webbing dark against the dull gray sheen of my outstretched hand. Beyond it, past the safe semicircle of lilac glow, a blackness so long I couldn’t see its end. I double checked my light. If something went wrong and– my throat hitched. I pushed out a slow, measured breath. Calm. I could do this. Jesry had done it, and he was seventy years old.

Only Jesry hadn’t had any reason to be afraid of the dark.


  1. I love love love your voice. I feel like I should be finding something you can work on with it, but frankly, I can't. You have me hooked and I can't wait to read more when it's published!

  2. I really loved this opening. The descriptions are wonderful, and I felt like I was in the vents with the character. My only suggestion would be to offset the "my throat hitched" line as its own paragraph. That way the em dash has more of a cut-off effect. Well done!

  3. This is really well written. You do a lot of world-building in a short time, but in a really seamless way. And the stakes, though obviously not fully realized in 250 words, are there. I would want more.

    Good luck!

  4. I really like this. The voice and descriptions are great. There's a nice hint of tension, with the character believing they're meant for something else and they have a reason to be afraid of the dark. Is Asteris the name of the ship? You might want to italicize it. That's really my only advice! I would keep reading!

  5. I think the only place I got confused was when you were describing the impurities that would grow into cracks. The sentence that begins "soon they," I thought they was referring to the colors, not the impurities themselves...and do impurities really grow into cracks, or do they CAUSE cracks? I got a little hung up right there.

    Other than that, your description is gorgeous, and something I really hope to learn myself. As others have said, I enjoy your voice. I am slightly concerned that I don't exactly know the protagonist's goal, or if it's a he or she. I like the cryptic references to darkness, but at the same time I guess I wish I knew why she was afraid of the dark. I'm not sure I have immediate urgency. I would read on, but I guess I'm someone who would rather have less pretty description and more plot in the first 250.

    Otherwise, I love it! So so gorgeous. Good luck!

  6. I really loved this opening. The descriptions are wonderful, and I felt like I was in the vents with the character. My only suggestion would be to offset the "my throat hitched" line as its own paragraph. That way the em dash has more of a cut-off effect. Well done!

    (Sorry for the repeat comment, I couldn't sign in earlier!)

  7. Stellar opening! I immediately wondered why the character was in the vent and why they wouldn't see the planet they were designed for. The descriptions and deep point of view were spot on. My only suggestion is that you alter one of your paragraph beginnings. You have three paragraphs that begin with "I" very close together. Just change one or two of those up at the beginning for a little variety. Great opening!

  8. I love YA sci-fi! I enjoyed your writing style. You've raised so many questions that I want answered. What planet is the MC designed for? Why is she chasing beehives? Why do they have a reason to fear the dark? I would read on. I agree about offsetting the e"My throat hitched" line as it's own paragraph.

  9. I'd read more. I want to know what he's doing in there and why he's afraid of the dark. A few issues with word choices.

    If pollen dust 'fills' his nose, he can't breathe through it, or smell computers or autorations. Use another word.

    He's flicking his light against the 'void' which is nothing, but then you describe the walls of the vent he's in.

    The impurities are described as 'spidery' streaks and a 'web.' Then you on on to call it a beehive. Perhaps stick with the spider descriptions, or change the spider description to beehive descriptions.

  10. I think you've written a lovely opening and you've done some really great world building in a short span of time. I am unclear as to whether your character is a robot or a genetically engineered human because some of the descriptions seem to point to one and the rest point to the other. I would assume that it eventually becomes clear, but it isn't right off the bat. I would like to know why this character is afraid of the dark. Definitely intriguing!