Wednesday, August 19, 2009

29 Secret Agent

GENRE: Paranormal Romance

Icy fear raced through King Solomon’s veins. Could he save his people with what he did this day? No, not just his people, he amended. If he failed, every man, woman and child in all the land would die.

Apprehension, prickling with the grains of doubt, seeded his mind. The meter-high bronze jar resting on its fan-shaped base mocked him with its shining presence. Sigils, protective symbols reflecting the Lord’s will, etched into the smooth surface flared as if they tasted his weakness. Tasted his sin.

A muscle twitched in his jaw as his teeth ground together. The scrape of sound shivered along his spine, and Solomon shuddered. How could he have let the situation deteriorate so far? When had the gift given to him by the Lord become a curse?

A teasing breeze played with the hem of his short-sleeved white tunic and shawl. Fringe danced against his bare legs. Rich earth-scents followed the wind before the piquant, musky odors faded in the brightening light. He lifted his face and took a deep breath. The appointed hour grew near.

Preparing for the ritual had taken most of the last day and night. The clothes covering his body, the bronze scepter in his hand, and even the sandals protecting his bare feet from the small stones that littered the dry riverbed, all created exactly as instructed.

Everything had to be perfect. For this moment. A single moment to free his soul or damn it, and his people, for eternity.


  1. Okay - definitely intrigued.

    It's kind of clunky, and I kept having to reread stuff. You might want to tweak it just a bit so it flows more smoothly and isn't so jarring for your readers.

    First Paragraph - personally, take out the sentence "no, not just his people . . ." This is where my brain had to stop a minute. I think there's more impact without the sentence.

    Why does the bronze jar mock King Solomon? Is there a way to give a bit more info here?

    You defenitely drew me in with the breeze and musky odors. Great job.

    I know it's the first 250 words, but there needs to be a bit more information.

    Good luck.

  2. The first question that crossed my mind was, What is "the land?" Usually, for a king, that means his land. Which would mean that he amended "his people" with "his people." I think you need to expand "the land" to show what lands he's really thinking about.

    The rest of it is over-written, in my opinion. There's a LOT of detailed adjectives stealing attention away from what's happening, which is... what?

  3. Dude. :)

    When I saw the title, I was thinking about one of those Librarian movies (I think) and had my guard up. Didn't expect you'd start with Solomon himself. Even if it's a prologue, this is quite a bit different and makes me curious about what direction's you're going.

  4. It does need trimming, a bit, but it is very intriguing. I'd read more.

  5. I had a different take on the intro question. I had a strong dislike for it. It seems well used and overdone by others.

    You used a lot of great detail that I enjoyed and you've included senses etc, which was great.

    Still it didn't pull me in. I think if you had given me your twist that makes this story different up front I probably would have changed my mind.

    Happy writing to you!

  6. I'm not sure how I feel about King Solomon being in a paranormal romance, but I'm definitely intrigued enough to want to keep reading.

  7. Very cool! I like to read something a bit different in my paranormal besides vampires and werewolves. I'd read more - to see where King Solomon fits into this. I didn't think it was overwritten, either. Liked the way reading it made me feel.

  8. You have three different paragraphs describing how nervous/afraid/angry he is. I think most readers don't need that much explanation if you tell them what is at stake for this character.

  9. This was difficult to read, and not because the writing is bad or unvaried, but because there's too much of it. I got overwhelmed with sensory images--too much description, in other words, without being broken up by something else. It also took me a bit to get into the voice (which I think is just my modern mind adjusting to premodern melodrama).

    However, don't get the idea that your description is bad. I think you write it really well, I really get a sense for what's around him and what he's feeling. I just think there's too much of it.

    I'd recommend adding some dialogue from later in this chapter (or prologue?) if you can. Break it up for lazy bums like me. :)

  10. Not hooked, sorry. This rings as a little cliche and over the top. I'm also not a fan of so many questions in the narrative; they weaken the strength of the prose.

    It looks like there are some neat ideas in here, though.

  11. I had to reread a few things throughout it (the descriptions, mostly) and I think you might consider leaving off "King" in the first paragraph. Most people know who Solomon was and, if they don't, your reference to keeping his people safe would let them know that he's a king. I'm not sure about the subject matter but I'm definitely intrigued and I think I may read more.

  12. I have to be honest and say I don't read or know anything about Paranormal Romance, but I'm definitely interested in this. I agree with the other comments about the adjectives. I think the idea, (A biblical character in a story about paranormal romance? Brilliant idea.) is so intriguing you can afford to be sparce with the descriptions. Although I know some readers really like that and maybe it's part of this genre?
    As I said, I don't normall read this kind of book, but I would keep reading.
    Definitely hooked!

  13. I'll admit upfront that I'm typically a description minimalist, so take this with a grain of doubt, er, you know what I mean. In all honesty, I was overwhelmed by sensory details, so much so that I couldn't really picture or feel any of them. I mean, what does "prickling with grains of doubt" mean, anyway? Plus the sentence with the six "s" words pretty much stopped me dead in my tracks.

    But it may just be a personal thing for me--I have a very short attention span. I did think you had some interesting ideas. Good luck.

  14. Eh...nothing happens. I mean, stuff happens, but you haven't made the reader care about it.

    Look at that last paragraph--now I see what's at stake, now I see what the character cares about and WHY he's doing it...all that before it was just eh for me.

  15. This didn't work for me, mostly because the biblical period isn't one that does well in the romance category. I don't think I can sell it. Beyond that I thought the writer raised the stakes too high too soon in the first paragraph. We don't care enough about the mc or his people yet to have an emotional response to the threat he's describing. In the second paragraph, there's is too much "fancy footwork" in the writing, with the seed metaphor. I prefer simply clarity to pretty writing. Too many adjectives altogether and repetitive images: the muscle twitch and grinding teeth, for example. They really indicate the same emotion and I'm not convinced you need both.