Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Secret Agent #6

GENRE: YA Science Fiction

That cracking bot was following me.

I careened around the long marble corridor that led to my father’s wing of the palace. Shadows cloaked the long hall and would until Sirocco’s red sun rose at midday, beginning the planet’s fifteen-day cycle. Most palace activity wouldn’t begin for another hour, which meant one hour for me to get in and get out. If only I could avoid running into more bots.

A thin curtain, embroidered with the dark overlapping triangles of Sirocco, separated the King’s private wing from the rest of the palace. The smooth silk slid along my arm as I pushed it aside, glancing back to make sure I’d lost the bot.

Movement in front of me made me stop, but this time it wasn’t a bot programmed to report my whereabouts. I cleared my throat, straightened to my full height, and smiled at the tall guard standing in front of me.

“Oh, heeeeey,” I said. Didn’t want to point any fingers, but it looked like he’d been sleeping.
“What… what are you doing here?” The young guard gripped the ceremonial staff he’d been given, as if that would grant him more confidence. It didn’t work.

“Well, I live here,” I answered, glancing around to see if any other guards or bots were hiding in the shadowed corners. “But now I’m going this way.”

“Uh, wait, High Prince Cyrus…” But whatever else the guard was going to say was lost as I ducked around him.


  1. I like the world building in the beginning. For me, there was too much about the bots. It felt more repetitive than adding new information. I suggest cutting one of the long's (long corridor, long hall).

    I know what he is doing, but not how he feels about it—excited, scared, annoyed. So, I don't know what I'm supposed to be feeling.

  2. I already like Cyrus because he's doing something he's not supposed to and he's pretty cheeky! But I don't yet feel invested in him or at least on his side. Getting more into his feels would certainly help, and a bit less about bots and guards before we're settled into Cyrus's POV.

    Definitely getting a sense of setting-- so cool that we're on a different planet instead of a space ship-- though the line "until Sirocco’s red sun rose at midday, beginning the planet’s fifteen-day cycle" is somewhat confusing. A sun rising at midday would imply a short daylight cycle... or is it fifteen days of straight sun... or is it meant to be a fifteen hour day... No biggie, just need needs a little clarification or different wording!

    The above are picky comments because it's already engaging. Looking good-- I'd keep reading!

  3. I really like the atmosphere in this piece. However, this MC feels like a little kid prince playing with his robot toys. I’m not quite sure of his age. A teenager might be a little more annoyed by bots following him around.

    The first sentence doesn’t work for me. It sounds funny and I’m not really sure what you mean by a “cracking bot”. Is that the sound its making?

    Also, I’d leave out any explanation of the planet’s sun cycle. You’ll have plenty of pages for that. Right there in paragraph one is an info-dump. Just stick to describing the that beautiful red sun, the way the colors fall at midday or how hot it is.

    Also, just a pet peeve for me….this society sounds very Arabian Nights. The bots sound Wall-E. So just make sure your world-building really meshes and creates a society the reader can suspend disbelief for, if you know what I mean.

  4. I like the opening line a lot. The atmosphere is great. The others already hit the points I would've made. Good luck!

  5. So for the most part I liked this one and I'm intrigued, I'd likely read on. But the part that struck me as most discordant was the dialogue. Something about it doesn't match the tone of the narrative - even though this is Science Fiction, the tone gives off a more classic feel besides the fact that it's set in some palace so something about me expected the language to be more formal or stiff - but it's not, it's really contemporary and that feels off to me.

    I also wanted to know a bit more about why he is leaving or hiding or sneaking.

    Thanks for entering!

  6. I agree on the dialogue point. I enjoyed that he was sneaking around when he shouldn't, but the extended "heeeey" had an Aladdin feel when I think you were going more for a male version of Jasmine. (sorry for my dated references) The other thing I wondered from the opening line was "cracking." Reading it, I get the feeling that it's a curse word, but I'm not 100%. I like the idea that our opening thought into his head includes a curse word.