Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April Secret Agent #40

GENRE: YA Science Fiction

The first time I traveled through time, I overshot by three minutes.

Instead of the hum of the subways in New York and the 14:12 train to Brooklyn thundering by, laughter greeted me. When I finally managed to catch my breath, I forced my eyes open. I’d also apparently missed my target by four kilometres, landing slap bang in the middle of the bushes of Central Park where anyone could have noticed me pop out of thin air.

A stellar performance, if I did say so myself. The exam board would be thrilled.

I willed my legs to move before anyone became suspicious. The lingering lurch of Control’s simulator struggled to settle in my bones. The moment the world stopped spinning my head gave an almighty thud of protest. My Duty Sergeant hadn’t thought to mention ‘by the way Sara, when you travel through time you’ll get the world’s worst migraine’. She’d also missed out the part where my tongue went numb, and every atom in my body tried to find itself again.

This was not how I’d planned my first visit to the twentieth century.

Back in the days when I allowed myself to imagine good things, the city of New York held nothing but possibilities, Broadway shows and endless pretzels. I’d never thought of it as a map with a moving target, a test for me to prove myself worthy of joining an elite time traveling crew. So far, I was pretty sure I’d failed.


  1. I like your opening line since it tells us right away that your MC is time traveling, but I'm wondering how this time travel story is different from others. Maybe there's some nuance you could add into the intro to set it apart.

    Also, I would change 'missed out' to something else, maybe 'omitted'. Seems like the wrong phrase there. But otherwise, nice job. :-)

  2. I'd really read this! She sounds like a great, spunky MC.

    With cbaz above, it's difficult to inject a bit of originality, maybe, at first but you do set the scene pretty well. Maybe more smells of New York? But I super like this, great job!

  3. This caught my attention from the get go. I found the "stellar performance" line to be confusing. The first line says Sara, overshot and then she talks about being discovered, but then she says her performance was stellar. It tripped up my brain. If you added something like, "Despite missing my target, it was a stellar performance..." it would help the opening flow more smoothly. Very cool opening, overall. I like the Sara's voice, and I think I would grow pretty attached to her if I were able to read on.

  4. I really loved this. The pacing is strong, and your MC seems to be someone the reader can root for, and is slightly sarcastic to boot!

  5. Love love love the voice! Sara's sarcasm make this a really fun read. :) I love how you weave in all the details about line sickness - it's interesting, but it's not an info dump. You have such a great opening, dude! :D

  6. Yes. We are in awe. I'd change nothing. I'd read on.

    Yay, You!

  7. First off I love the sarcastic voice. LOVE IT.
    The line about "Control's simulator" throws me a bit. Is Control a person? A government agency? A military unit?
    Also does simulator imply that she's in a computer simulation? I'd like to believe she's really there but this line/word doesn't let me.
    The title implies some meddling and I really like that! I'd totally read on to the next page!

  8. Great first line! It instantly made me want to read more. With time travel, I immediately wanted to know the connection between three minutes and four km. The only thing I'd consider revising is the stellar performance line. It was jarring reading a well known phrase in past tense, "if I did say so myself." Well done!

  9. I'm going to comment like a reality show judge here. Ready? :)

    I don't like time travel stories. But I like THIS time travel story. You hook the reader with your opening line (what happens when she misses the mark?), you establish the stakes and a bit of the world, you give us a clear, relatable voice in Sara, and you leave us with another hook. *affects British reality show judge voice* Well done! Good on you! :)

  10. Love your first line, and the sarcastic MC. The thing that tripped me up was the laughter she hears. It felt like for a moment maybe she'd ended up somewhere wrong, and they were laughing at her.

    Also wouldn't the bushes in the park be a better cover than the crowded subway if she doesn't want to be noticed?

    Love the line about every atom in her body trying to find itself.

  11. Oh my gosh, I love time travel stories! And the voice that was her. Gah! Wonderful.

    You were able to incorporate enough description to help me understand the protagonist and her situation while also peaking my curiosity. Way to go!

    Thanks for entering!

  12. I am also a fan of time travel stories. I really like the part about the migraine, numb tongue, and the atoms realigning.

    These lines, though (The exam board would be thrilled. / So far, I was pretty sure I failed.) sound odd to me, like the verb tense is wrong. Maybe it's just my ear, but it caught me.

    Otherwise, nice job!

  13. I love this! I've read a few time travel stories, but this really stands out. The first line is engaging (as is the last line, I really wanted to keep reading). The voice rings right off the page. I'm also starting to get a great sense of stakes for this scene right of the bat.

    Great job!