Wednesday, May 13, 2009

31 Secret Agent

TITLE: Traitor's Plight
GENRE: Fantasy

“It isn’t right that you’re making your home in this cesspool,” Rhys grumbled as he followed the older man up the creaking staircase to the second level. Werdimor grunted sourly in response and increased his pace, his stride long and regular for a man of his age.

He led him down a dark, narrow hallway and through an open door into a small apartment, lit only by a glassless slit of a window and a few tallow candles. The rank smell of the fish shop below drifted up through the gaps in the floorboards, and indeed as Rhys looked down he could see a patron below him examining a rather sorry-looking salmon.

“Lord Calorian!”

Rhys looked up from his examination of the fish and smiled broadly at his old nurse as she made her way across the sparsely furnished room towards him.

“It has been too long, Marrie. I hope you’ve been well?”

“As well as can be expected.” She smiled gratefully at him as he handed her the sack he had been carrying. “Cup of tea?”

“That would be wonderful,” he responded, though he would have preferred something stronger. If nothing else, it would take the edge off the dull throb in the back of his head from the prior night’s excesses. Idly he fingered the lump of the flask in his coat pocket before dropping his hand to his sword hilt, gripping it tightly for a moment as his anger flared. These idle days were to his detriment.


  1. Not really hooked yet. Nothing intriguing or exciting to make me read on. Their speech is formal so it makes me think it takes place in the past or a different place.

    However, it was well written, good descriptions and interaction.

  2. Somewhat boring. The only thing that jumped out at me was Marrie.

    Is it pronounced 'Merry?' 'Mary?' 'Marie?' 'Marry?'

    Not hooked.

  3. Yes, I confess I'm not that interested. It's well written though. But the name Werdimor read to me like Wormidor at first. Then I laughed. But then, I'm a dork.

    I do like dissipated Lords, though.

  4. I'm always conflicted about opening lines that feature dialog. Sometimes they work, others they don't...this one is one of the latter.

    It doesn't grab me even if it is good writing. There's a whole lot of nothing going on in this opening.

  5. I have to agree, not much going on. It moves slow also because you're spending time on unneeded details. Here's a few examples:

    his stride long and regular for a man of his age. <-- if its normal, why do you need to tell me?

    Rhys looked up from his examination of the fish <-- repetative. Just have him look up - we know he was looking at fish since you just told us.

    Not hooked, sorry.

  6. The writing is solid - I just think maybe you started in the wrong place in your story.

    We get a small hint when he got angry when his hand hit his sword, but we need more idea of what's going on to be pulled in.

  7. I didn't find much to hook me either. When you said "cesspool" I was thinking water and sewage-- something wet--not an apt above a shop.

  8. I liked this. I thought the writing was beautiful and the MC caught my interest. There wasn't much action, but writing and the genre were enough to hook my interest.

  9. I wasn't hooked by this. Most of the description is okay, but we start with a character disgusted by his surroundings, then by the end of the snippet, he's angry and fingering his blade? I feel like I missed the action somewhere.

  10. I'm hooked<:

    One thing that occurred to me is he thinks like an old guy... but then I checked the genre, so he could be middle-aged or older after all. :]

  11. This is just about there -- I am just about hooked by the combination of writing and setting but I'm missing story and if there was more in the opening, I would be hooked. Why do I care about these people? About Rhys? Give me a bit more story and I am sure I'd read on.

    I have a few nits with the writing, mostly to do with the use of adverbs and adjectives:

    Werdimor grunted sourly How do you grunt sourly? I don't think this works because I don't see grunting and sour as belonging together. Just use grunted and it conveys everything perfectly.

    In the second paragraph, "He led him" tripped me up as being too generic -- who was leading whom? You might change it to

    Werdimor led him down...

    As well, there was a great deal of description in that one sentence. Maybe conisder breaking it up. With the adjectives, chose which is more important -- dark or narrow and since you imply darkness later, why not stick to narrow to start?

    Werdimore led him down a narrow hallway into a tiny apartment. A glassless slit of a window and a few candles provided the only light.

    Just suggestions -- good luck!

  12. Not bad. I'm interested. I will agree with some of the others that there is not much in this 250 words but that's just it. 250 isn't a whole heck of a lot. This shows promise to me and I think you've got a good writing style.
    Good job.

  13. Not hooked. Nothing's happening, and the writing could be better.

    grunted sourly--how do you do that?

    He led him -- who is leading who?

    His stride was long and regular -- if it's regular, why mention it, and there going up stairs. Would you even notice somebody's stride then?

    Lit only by a glassless slit of a window -- windows don't light anything. The light coming through them does.

    Give a bit more attention to the words you use and how you use them. Less is more.

  14. You've set the place really nicely. And Rhys internal thinking flows well.

    But it didn't feel like the beginning of a story. More like a middle scene somewhere. Also, I was a little confused. Rhys is following an older man up a staircase, commenting on his living conditions. But by the end of the excerpt, it seems Rhys might be living there as well. I'm not sure if that's because you don't come back around to the older man? I don't really know. Even if the event that gets the story rolling happens in the next couple of pages, there isn't even a hint of it in these words.

    Sorry, not hooked.

  15. I'd read on. I think your writing is very good. I would want something to happen soon though. A lot of others seem to have similar opinions. This is good news really - it's much easier to rewrite your first few pages, or start your story in a different place, than it is to fix your writing.

  16. Lord Calorian - sounds like a diet drug.
    The word cesspool in the first par and the lack of action meant I wasn't hooked I'm afraid.

  17. I am completely confused with this one, so not hooking me.

    I thought at first that Rhys was in the fish shop, but then his nurse shows up? Is the cesspool the fish shop or above the fish shop? How does the nurse get there? And why are they all speaking so formally? The diction is completely out-of-place with your setting.