Wednesday, May 13, 2009

2 Secret Agent

TITLE: The LordHeirs
GENRE: Urban Fantasy

Concealed deep in the shadows of the forest, a figure watched the female hiker intently, aroused, and fixated on her every detail – piercing blue eyes, the way she’d get annoyed at the willful lock of red hair that fell in her eyes, firm breasts swaying rhythmically with each stride.

She was unlike any of the others.

Thrilled with this long anticipated discovery, a smile appeared below the binoculars. Daemon was amused with the young woman’s naivetĂ© regarding her fate, delighted she was oblivious to the inconceivable power, the great danger lurking a mere fifty feet away.

It was early morning, the sun had just risen, and Alex MacLaren had been hiking in King’s Canyon National Park for the past hour. Thick, dark clouds choked off the sun’s fiery rays leaving the forest floor dark and devoid of color. The clouds threatened rain any moment, but Alex didn’t care. She loved being in the wilderness alone among the giant Sequoias. She walked with a thick tree branch as a hiking stick because the ground was so slick. With its many hills and blind corners, the trail slithered like a serpent through the dense forest. When she had pulled up to the trailhead parking lot that morning, it was quiet, only one other car.

Alex got that tingling sensation up the back of her spine. The one that says, something’s not right - be careful. She'd been getting that feeling a lot now that she was ancient - eighteen in only two weeks.


  1. Okay, good writing but it didn't hook me, I just get confused between the italicized writing and the regular writing.

    I'll make a comment that was made to me the first time I entered one of these: don't report the weather! Tell is why she feels don't tell!

    I love some of the imagery in this but it might be too much for the hook.

    I have to admit I was a little creeped out by the line "breasts swaying rhythmically." Maybe it's the father in me.

  2. These were three paragraphs that could be any separate paragraph in any story. There's nothing connecting them. Meaning, the watcher sees the woman and nothing else. The woman gives a description of the forest, and nothing else. And the third paragraph seemed disjointed from the other two. If you want her to get the 'something's not right' feeling, put it right after the italics. Then cut half the weather report. It's contradictory. Nice imagery, but the sun rising and the dark clouds don't matter.

    Start it with Alex loved the quiet of the early morning wilderness, alone among the Sequoias where the sun didn't reach. She hiked using a thick tree branch to avoid slipping on the dark, wet leaves.

    I know, very raw, but it conveys the atmosphere without sounding like it's the weather channel.

    Don't mean to be harsh! But we're all learning. I think with a bit of cleanup and rearranging, this could be really good. :-D

  3. Unlike the others, I like what you were trying to do with Daemon's part. However, it was worded oddly and was really vague, so I'm torn.

    Once you get to Alex, I feel like it is way too much telling. Show us how she feels. Have her take a deep breath of the fresh air, feel her feet slip from under her on the slick ground, grateful for the branch in her hand. I don't necessarily mind weather stuff if it's used to set the mood, but to a certain degree, it seems like here it is just description for the sake of description.

    Finally, most kids about to turn eighteen don't think of it as ancient, they think of it as freedom. With that in mind, the last sentence was the most interesting thing to me: why the heck does she think she's ancient?

  4. I thought some of the sentences were a little wordy, particularly the first one.

    You might want to take out the word "had" when it appears and your sentences will be better already.

    I think of breasts as "bouncing" not swaying.

    I don't think the weather part is all bad. But you don't need to see it was early morning and tell us the sun "had just risen." One or the other will do. A little simplifying goes a long way (one of my own weaknesses). I love that she's ancient at 18--what kind of world is this?!

  5. Nice writing but I found the order of information presented didn't hook me. I wondered if you started with, "She was unlike any of the others." That would've hooked me to read the next paragraph.

    I also felt it explained to much to me (example, "that tingling sensation...the one that says"). Maybe you could just say she had a tingle of worry/fear up her spine.

  6. Sorry, I'm not hooked.

    I personally didn't care for the italicized section. If we're going to start the story off with Daemon, I would have preferred being more grounded in his POV.
    Right now we're seeing him from the outside ("a figure watched", "a smile appeared"), and I think this would read stronger if we were inside his head. The line "She was unlike any of the others" did take us there momentarily, and made me wish the whole scene read more like that.

    I have to agree that there was just a little too much weather talk once we're in Alex's POV. I appreciate that you're setting the scene but I definitely think that could be tightened. So many agents don't read more than the first few paragraphs before making a decision to keep going, so it's a shame to waste words on trivialities.

    I wasn't sure how to interpret that "ancient" thing in the last paragraph. This is one of those times when only having 250 words makes it tough to render judgment. Unless there's a legitimate, story-based reason for her to think of 18 as ancient, then I'm not sure I like it. It threw me off, for sure.

    You do have a very good start here, though. Good luck. :)

  7. (Without reading previous comments...)

    Personally, I'm not a big fan of the prologue or opening narration from other characters, so I'll leave commenting on that portion to the unbiased.

    As for the rest, I think that you have a lot of potential to do some great character building by tightening up those first paragraphs that introduce Alex.

    For instance, "Though the sun was just rising, Alex MacLaren had been hiking in King's Canyon National Park for the past hour. Even the thick, dark rain clouds overhead couldn't keep Alex away." Etc.

    Tightening up those sentences really adds some "pow" and helps establish that Alex is dedicated, despite obstacles, and so forth. Also, I think showing, rather than telling, us how she starts to sense that something isn't right will be a great way to establish the ominous mood of the intro and further develop her character.

    Good luck!

  8. This didn't hook me at all, for a number of reasons.

    I felt that the author needs to pay more attention to the actual writing; it's overly heavy with commas, among other things. Additionally, the prologue did nothing for me as a reader.

    Disregarding the prologue, we get immediately to Alex, but we don't actually get to her right away. Instead, the author uses almost a full sentence to set up the scene, which is unnecessary: this is not a screenplay, where the director would be relying on the exposition. Those are wasted words.

    I need to know who Alex is, why she's in the forest, and what the conflict is.

  9. The entire italicised part is just a waste of space to me. It's completely unnecessary to the telling of the story, and you'd do better to start with Alex and what she's doing. Note, what she's doing. I don't need to know that the sun just came up, that it's dark anyway, or that a small squirrel is taking a dump just off to the left of her. Those aren't why I'm reading, I'm reading because I want to know about Alex.

    Not hooked.

  10. Third person felt out of place for the first three paragraphs to me. But beyond that, I felt like you did a better job on the setting in the first part than the second.

    Like, do we have to know it was Kings Canyon partk? And as someone who lived in the Sequoia Nat'l Park for a few years, that's a large place. Telling us that doesn't really tell us anything at all.

    I know others have probably said that it's info dump or tell.

    But the very last line hinted at some voice... which makes me think there's promise here if we could get past some of this other stuff.

    Good luck!

  11. I think you need to get rid of Daemon's section. It adds nothing and actually detracts from the sense of danger, because we're picking up his amusement. Go immediately into Alex' pov and why she feels like something's not right. And give her a good reason to ignore the feeling!

  12. I agree that the punctuation is confusing in the first paragraph. I also thought it would have been more effective if you kept the Daemon's thoughts a little more subtle. I wasn't convinced that a pair of rhythmically swaying breasts or any other feature made Alex that unique.

    I liked your second paragraph and would have read on just on that basis.

  13. Am I the only one who found it strange that an outdoor enthusist would be hiking all by herself in the predawn hours. I never see anyone hiking all by herself. It is not safe.

  14. A small point, but the word Daemon is totally associated with Philip PUllman's Dark Materials books for me and many other readers.