Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Secret Agent #16

TITLE: A Silence Grave and Hollow
GENRE: YA Thriller

Clara Saudade is dead. I know this without a doubt. Three days ago I buried her body.

Now I sit surrounded by doctors and nurses. Faceless blobs of blue and green that tell me I’m lucky to be alive, that it’s a miracle I've even survived. Scratching at the IV needle protruding from the back of my hand, I resist the urge to rip it out, toss it to the floor, and scream until I'm hoarse. I don’t feel very lucky. I feel hollow, purposeless. More than that though, for the first time in my life I feel alone. 

In the distance a steel tray is dropped, a metal clang on tile floor, the squeak of a rubber sole as someone stops to clean up the mess. Bleach and decay pervade the air, like rotted meat that's been cleaned from the counter and tossed in the trash, where it festers further. In a corner of the room, the flat white paint is cracked and peeling, tumbling like unspooled ribbon towards the floor. On one side of my bed a monitor beeps steadily, like the ticking of a clock, the beating of my heart. On the other, a man stands awash in fluorescent lighting, his skin a sickly white. He’s the only one who doesn’t seem to think my survival is miraculous, this man in the pressed but faded suit and scuffed leather shoes. His hooded eyes droop at the edges, pulling down towards an unsmiling mouth, eyelids stained the reddish-purple of a fresh bruise or a rough kiss.


  1. This is a solid first page. You started with where things change for the protagonist, and you drop enough questions to make things interesting without being confusing. But I think you should use fewer descriptions for a bigger impact. Also, resisting the urge to scream is incongruent with feeling hollow.

  2. I really liked this. I do agree with the PP about the heavy descriptions. Aside from feeling hollow (emotionally), I was wondering how he was feeling physically. The last line is top shelf, my favorite off the page.

  3. This is a great first page because it makes me want to keep reading. I think the descriptions paint a clear, interesting setting, but some of the longer sentences could be trimmed and/or converted into several shorter sentences without losing much detail to make it feel less heavy. Interesting first page though - it definitely makes me want to know what's happened to the protagonist and who the man in the suit is.

  4. Your descriptions are great! Definitely give the reader a real sense of where the character is. I might break up the longer paragraphs of description though so that something does happen to keep moving things forward, especially at the beginning. But man, your descriptions are so good, I'd definitely keep reading.

  5. Like everyone else said, this is an incredibly vivid first page. Maybe a little too heavy at times, such as with the three sentences in a row with similes.

    My only other comment would be about the opening paragraph. You could really shorten it to "I buried the body of Clara Saudade three days ago." Saying that she died, and you know she's dead because you buried her all sort of seems to say something similar.

    Other than that, you've got intensity, emotion, and enough hook to keep me going. I hope some of this helps. Good luck!

  6. I want to keep reading because I want to know what happened--who Clara is, why she was killed, and of course--how your main character ended up almost dead. My critique is to break it up a little (especially if you want to keep all your descriptions). Maybe a short line here and there, or a paragraph break. It's your first page, and you don't want your reader skimming past everything to see what happens.

  7. The first three sentences are like an immediate jolt of high octane caffeine for this page. Loved it. The next two paragraphs are good, but I would like to see them tightened a bit. You can probably get the same feel while maintaining the turbo charge start by knocking out some of the descriptions.

  8. Great first line! Wow!

    I love the first paragraph too. I'm riveted and can't wait to see what happens next.

    The third paragraph feels a bit bogged down by description. I would cut some of it. "In the distance a steel tray is dropped" is enough, cut "a metal clang on tile floor" - then maybe say "I hear the squeak of a rubber sole." Similarly, "Bleach and decay pervade the air" - is enough, I don't need the rest of that sentence, it's distracting. Next sentence too: "the flat white pain is cracked and peeling" is enough, I don't need the rest, it feels overwritten.

    Does he not know who the man is who stands beside him? I find that confusing. Also I think you dwell a bit too long in description of the man. I'd think about cutting it at "He's the only one who doesn't seem to think my survival is miraculous."

    Still, based on the strength of the first two paragraphs, I'd definitely keep reading! Just work on tightening your writing so it all comes across that way!

    Thanks for entering!