Thursday, July 17, 2008

#55 SECRET AGENT Are You Hooked?

Title: The Path Into Darkness
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Spiders skittered around the periphery of his vision. Everything was
shrouded in deep shadow; all he could see and hear were the spiders.
There were hundreds of them, maybe thousands--crawling over him, on his
face, through his hair.

Something loomed into his vision; a large bloated shape, a
glistening black that allowed him to see his own reflection. Small
spiders moved over his body, leaving wisps of white silk webbing all
about him.

After a few moments, his eyes adjusted to the darkness, allowing him
to see that the shape hovering above him was a giant spider; its thorax
was over him and it was spinning thick strands of webbing. He struggled
against the webs, but they were already over his legs and trapped his
arms to his sides.

He threw his head side to side, getting a glimpse of his
surroundings. It looked like a hospital ward; beds lined the wall he was
against as well as the wall opposite him. Other large spiders could be
seen, hanging on thick strands of web over the other beds or encasing
other forms--patients he supposed, it was a hospital after all. The
chattering sound of mandibles and the clicking of the spiders filled his

Before each bed, a person stood; each was watching the process, some
made notes on clipboards. They were all dressed as doctors, but what
sort of doctor would stand by idly and watch what was happening?


  1. No.
    While the scene is intriguing,
    there is something about the execution that didn't grab me.
    I want to know more about the main character, not just that he's surrounded by spiders, but at least his name, and some hint of his reaction to the many, many spiders.

  2. Didn't quite hook me. I had a problem with "everything was shrouded in deep shadow; all he could see and hear were the spiders." And then miraculously he can see his surroundings and everyone in it. Even allowing his eyes to adjust in the darkness might not mean he could see everything so clearly.

  3. Give the guy a name, and I might be with you. What's with the elusive "he"? If he doesn't know his name because he's in a hospital ward (has had an accident, etc.) then that needs to be addressed. I don't like a mysterious person thrashing around with spiders, because I just don't care about him yet.

    I hate to say it, but I probably wouldn't read more. Sorry. :(

  4. I have spiders like that at my house....

    I would keep reading. The idea of doctors watching someone being wrapped up by spiders intrigues me and I want to see what happens.

    As for the elusive "HE", I'm all for it. Sometimes names have to be kept for later. :o)

  5. I don't think I would keep reading. I do think the spiders are interesting, but I need to have more from the main character's POV. Or maybe have it completely omniscient--that would help me get into the story without getting distracted by the main character's lack of presence.

  6. I would keep reading even though my skin is crawling. Giant spiders - this is something even middle school boys might read (and they don't read much). I liked the description.

  7. I would probably keep reading...provided the spiders are out of the story soon. I'm scared of spiders and can't stand them.

  8. It's a maybe for me. I think it would be stronger with an emotional response to having spiders crawling all over someone. Also, so much of this is written in passive voice, it's hard to really get into it. But, the concept is definitely intriguing.

  9. No for me.

    For one thing, as I've said, I don't like unnamed third person narrators.

    Secondly, the dude is ABOUT TO BE EATEN BY SPIDERS. That is so incredibly cool and fun--and yet, he has no reaction whatsoever. There is no sense of dread or horror or any emotion whatsoever.

    This bugs me, because this is such an awesome opportunity for a hook (even if the character isn't the MC) in here, but it's not taken advantage of at all. :( That's a shame because this could be truly, shinily wicked. (In a good way!)

    Get into the character's head, let us feel his emotions and reactions to this--and the sensory details of what it feels like to be covered with spiders. Creep us out and make us want to know what the heck is going on.

    Do that and you will have a winner.

    Good luck,


  10. Ew ... lots of spiders.

    An interesting plot point to be sure, but the man about to be eaten or encased in webs seems far too underwhelmed and clinical about being munched. Shouldn't he be panicking? Shrieking and struggling to get off the bed?

    Make his reactions more believable, and I'd be interested in reading more. The people watching fascinate me. For now, I give this hook a no.

  11. I'd give this a tentative few more pages because of the potential, but I want to echo loudly and firmly all of Merc's comments. Plus the fact that the word 'spider' is repeated so many times it gets distracting.

  12. I'd have to say no. The use of the word spiders is way too repetitive and really distracts from the writing.

    Once again, I have to agree with Merc. This character needs to be freaking the fuck out. I know I would be fighting the best I could, even as they bit me.

    With some revision it would be much better.

  13. No.

    There is nothing here but straight description.

    Needs more imput from the character + ACTION.

  14. Almost, but not quite. The POV character sounds like a robot! He has no feelings, no reactions to his surroundings. It's frustrating to read this fascinating situation with a character who has no emotions. I was, and maybe still am, hoping that the spiders are like nurses or medical technicians preparing the patients for a procedure. Now that would be an awesome twist.

  15. Not hooked.

    The pov is strange. It's like he's observing it happening to someone else in a mundane sort of way.

    I would think at the onset he'd be struggling to free himself, not after carefully observing everything.

    Doesn't he know where he is and why he's there? Why is he asking what kind of doctor would watch such an event? And why is he wondering THAT, considering he is about to be eaten alive by spiders?

    The premise has the potential to grab me, but it isn't executed very well.

  16. Maybe. I think the storyline is interesting and I like the way the doctors are just standing there not intefering. As said before, the MC needs some emotion to really help the reader to connect to him. I think you have something here, so keep at it.

  17. It's a no for me. I suspect I'd be intrigued by this in the query but the execution wasn't quite at a high enough level--the threat of the spiders wasn't as visceral as I'd hoped. It is a cool set-up, though, so maybe a bit less inward, thinky prose and more sensory input would solve this.

  18. The scene feels so detatched... like watching it from the outside. I want to really FEEL the tension in the MC (and to have a name if it's third person).