Wednesday, August 19, 2009

33 Secret Agent

TITLE: Under a Full Moon
GENRE: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy


Something wasn’t right, I could feel it. Stepping out onto the porch, the smell of smoldering leaves caught my attention, and I glanced up to see smoke billowing up from the trees. Curiosity getting the best of me, I made my way across the yard to the mouth of the woods. As I lifted my nose, checking my direction, a metallic odor joined the smell of burnt forest. It was the smell of blood. That didn’t make sense but only time would tell and as I moved closer, the sounds of grunts and fighting filled my ears. Confusion clogged my thoughts as I tried to figure out what was going on. Finally reaching a break in the trees, the field was in view and the scene of it was horrifying. Down the slope and at the heart of the clearing was an enormous bonfire, reaching so high it seemed the flames were licking at the full moon above. Just beyond the glow of red was a stone table or sacrificial alter, holding what appeared to be a baby. Stepping closer and straining to see more, something else in the ring caught my attention. A figure cloaked in a dark robe, standing there, just staring into the flames. Her face, void of any expression, was familiar, but I couldn’t see enough to tell. The woman moved and something in her hand shimmered with firelight, a knife. She slowly approached the table, the wind lifting her hair from her face; the woman was me, but something wasn’t right.


  1. One giant, jumbly paragraph. the writing is hidden by the lack of formatting. This would turn me off right away for the sake of my eyes.

    Sentences... you've got some good word usage going on, but there's a lot of over comma usage and the piece could use some slicing/dicing to mix the sentence lengths/structures to keep the reader interested.

    The concept...might or might not be nifty, but it was confusing. I couldn't get a clear picture of what was going on.

    Not hooked, sorry.

  2. As the writer, I have to slide in that I forgot to put that this was the Prologue! SORRY!

  3. This needs to be broken up and edited a little bit. It's a huge chunk of text, but also it could be more to the point if you syphoned out things you don't need (Like: Confusion clogged my thoughts as I tried to figure out what was going on).

    alter = altar

  4. Even in a prologue should this be one big paragraph? It kind of interests me but if I had a huge pile to read through, I don't know if I would keep reading.

  5. To strengthen it, I'd have the first sentence stand alone. Then start a second 'graph. The sentences are a bit long with lots of information packed into each. Watch the conjunctions, since they tend to chop up your thoughts and make it harder to follow what you intend. Also watch words like "seem" -- great clues for writers when we edge toward telling instead of showing.

  6. Not hooked: at times the writing was beautiful, at times it felt clunky and cliche, such as: "Curiosity getting the best of me", "but only time would tell". Try using more precise language.

  7. White space. I needed white space. Break it up a bit. Especially in a paranormal romance. The sheer number of words in the one paragraph left me tired. You've got good stuff in there but it was hiding.

  8. This was sort of interesting, but the giant block of words was hard to read. You also use a similar writing pattern for several sentences in a row:

    "The smells of smoldering leaves caught my attention."
    "The sounds of grunts and fighting filled my ears."
    "Confusion clogged my thoughts..."

    Try changing it up a little.

  9. I repeat the block of text comments. I had to force myself to read the whole thing, which isn't good.

    Once I did read it, I didn't mind it so much, but it didn't really jump out at me. However, once I hit "the scene of it was horrifying" I expected the sentences to amp up in terms of pace. Change the length of them--making them shorter helps remind your readers that the protag is panicking.

    Speaking of panicking or being horrified, I don't get much of that, either. It seems more like a dream... which I suppose it well could be. However, I have some panicked feelings in dreams, I get afraid and nervous and I even feel my heart beat, so I think you could throw some of that in.

    Or not. Up to you. :)

    I agree that you could whittle down these sentences. Check any time you use a conjunction (but, or, yet, so, for, and, not) or "as" whether it would be better to just a period there instead, or cut out the second part completely. I find that does wonders for my own purple prose...

    Ganbatte!! (that's Japanese for Keep Fighting!)

  10. Interesting...but clichés in writing muffle the voice, such as '..but only time would tell..' or 'Curiosity getting the best of me...'.

    You have a great setting, and I'd read on more to see where it was going.

  11. Not hooked. Part of that is the fact that there's only a single paragraph and part of that is that I feel like this is sort of overwritten. The plot is good and I'm really interested to see what happens next ... but not enough to kill my eyes for it.

  12. I kept wondering who was talking, and you answered it at the end of the huge paragraph. Dramatic. I like it.

    It needs some editing. I'd like to read more.

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  14. Thanks to everyone who left comments. It was really helpful.

    The whole deal is a dream, I think theflightytemptress nailed that.

    Of course if I could have posted the whole prologue, I think it would have been better, but that's what 250 words gets ya! But, I did notice the commas and the lump of words so I went back and fixed my comma splurge and broke up the paragraph some.

    I think it will turn out good once it gets some needed tweaks! THANKS!!!!

  15. Alas, I was fairly underwhelmed by this submission. The title didn't strike me as anything special, and the first line felt, well, ordinary. I had trouble with it at the language level. If I saw and smelled smoke in a forest, "curiosity" does not begin to describe how I would feel. "Metallic odor" and "smell of blood" seems repetitive, as does "confusion" and "tried to figure out what was going on." The paragraph needs to be broken up when the real action starts, that is, when the character reaches the break in the trees. I'm afraid I wouldn't read any further.

  16. Not hooked. And when you mentioned above that this was a dream sequence, I'm hooked even less. Start with real conflict. I'm always deflated when I find out something I thought was exciting isn't real.

  17. This should be a tense scene: the MC is smelling burning leaves and blood. But you keep breaking the tension by inserting unnecessary sentences and phrases, eg. "Curiosity getting the best of me", "only time would tell", "Confusion clogged my thoughts". Your prologue would be stronger if you cut these.