Wednesday, March 7, 2018

March Secret Agent Contest #8

GENRE: YA suspense

   My fingers grip the handlebars of my bike. Pebbles fly from the pavement. If anyone asks (which they won’t), I’m barreling toward the Battersall Pass Bridge. My path to purging a rotten school year from my brain.

     Okay, that’s only partly true.

     I have a plan.

    The bridge in sight, I slide off the bike and head toward the pedestrian walk that hangs under the actual bridge and leads to the scenic observation deck where hikers and birdwatchers flock in good weather. More than likely they’ll be out today. Not a problem. They’ll be looking up. I won’t.

     The high concrete walls and ceiling tremble from the rumble of heavy tires overhead. The place smells of brine and stale, forgotten food. Guide lights along the bottom edge of the pathway splay light in the gloom. Not a place to linger. I shiver a little and move along quickly.

     Finally, the walkway gives way to the deck. Today, shadows from the bridge girders hide most of the sun, but the water below sparkles with bracelets of sunlight.

     I stand on the bottom rung of the railing and lean over. Fifty feet down the water glides in lazy swirls. An invitation. I hold out my arms like a heron ready to fly…

    A raven swoops. Not a good sign. Ravens are bad luck in my family. I want my jump to be perfect. To impress the swim team.

    One of the birdwatchers moves toward me. I step down and shrug.

    Not today, I think.

    Not yet.


  1. I like that you are building suspense about whether the MC will jump or not, but I feel like you can get to it much faster. I don't know much about the MC except that they are a swimmer. Is there more you can add to let us know who it is so that we can want to root for them?

  2. I like this. Your description is great. I'm curious to know why the Ravens mean bad luck. I'm not sure the line where you give the name of the bridge fits. It felt out of place to me. And I'd like to get a better feel of your characters age, if possible, male or female. I can picture everything but the character.

  3. Your descriptive writing is great. You've given me a lot of sensory detail about the setting but I don't feel a connection to the MC. I know setting is important but I think setting can be established more quickly without all the detail and show us the MC. Also, because I don't know the MC I felt that they were going to jump to their death... then I got it. Swimmer. The opening doesn't allude to any type of conflict/drama either. Readers need something to keep them reading. I do get the MC wants to jump from the bridge but if they are a swimmer then it doesn't add enough drama in my humble opinion. Also, the opening sentence doesn't hook the reader. Maybe start the story with the MC already on the bridge and go from that point... Hope this was helpful. I did enjoy the read. Best of luck!

  4. I like the whole set up, the premise that the MC is about to jump dawns on the reader slowly, you're not hit over the head with it. But during that time we don't really learn much about the MC. Or is this not the MC? It's in first person, but there's just so little detail about the person whose thoughts we're reading it could be a side character. The description of place is amazing, but making me care about the character has not happened.

  5. I actually felt myself tense-up when I realized that our protagonist was about to jump, so great lead up to that moment. The initial sentences make them feel young to me, however. Maybe it’s the imagery of a kid peddling on a bike that did it? I’d like a bit more info - how many times have they attempted this? What makes for good conditions? Why is this the only way to prove themselves? Really intriguing.

  6. Thanks so much for the thoughtful comments. Definitely will work on developing more character motivation.