Wednesday, October 14, 2009

30 Secret Agent

TITLE: Angel on the Wall
GENRE: Contemporary Christian

She wasn’t alone.

Footsteps skulked towards her. A deep vibration could be felt from where she sat on the cold cement floor; slow and heavy. A whimper broke the deafening silence. She shook as each step drew nearer, fear threatened to consume her.

The air held the nauseating stench of sulfur. It lingered and settled into the pores of her skin. Trying to escape the permeating odor, she twisted her head. The acrid smell worsened as she felt an icy chill tease her left cheek. Until now, the deep jarring pain had barely registered in her mind. Movement caused it to intensify and added a new sting; a sharp object was tore into her cheek. She felt the blood drip onto her bare shoulder.

She was cold.

Footsteps closed in to where she lay huddled on the damp, frigid floor. Goosebumps covered her bare skin. The smell grew stronger, overpowering her with its potency. Her mouth was gagged, allowing no sound to escape.

The dull pain on her wrists became unbearable. Her hands were bound behind her back. She was powerless to move them. She frantically searched for her attacker. She arched her head and struggled to adjust to the lack of light in an attempt to see past through the darkness. It was an impossible task. She, who could see all that was natural and supernatural, was blinded.

She was afraid.

The whimpers became louder and harder. One after another, wave upon wave, until they grew into a muffled scream.


  1. Not quite hooked. Some suggestions? Try moving the information about her being bound and gagged up to the first paragraph. This might intensify the feelings of fear and terror as the footsteps get closer.

  2. Not hooked. The sentences were choppy to me and monotone. You're telling how the MC feels rather than showing. Example in the 1st paragraph - "fear threatened to consume her". You're telling me this. Show me. Does she feel like she's going to vomit? Does her blood turn to ice every time she hears the heavy thud of another step?
    Good first effort but this needs a lot of tweaking.

  3. Doesn't give me the fear that it should, and I think it's because of the choppiness. You have alot of passive phrases like "hands were bound" and "mouth was gagged" and it feels more like someone is reading a police report.

    For instance, "The dull pain on her wrists became unbearable. Her hands were bound behind her back. She was powerless to move them."

    Instead of those three choppy sentences, maybe: "Her bound wrists, twisted unnaturally behind her back, ached unbearably."

    Just a thought. Good luck!

  4. Sorry, not hooked here. I did not feel any connection with the protagonist or what she was going through. Having said that, the story itself promises to be interesting, and just a few things could easily be tightened to draw the reader into the action and into your character's head.

  5. Slightly hooked. Outside of the inactive verbs, I want to know what happened to her.

    A clue to how she got there may help the reader get into the MC head.

    I also agree with the previous commenters about showing her fear instead of telling it.

    I'd slim the next page or so to see what happens.

  6. Wow, lots going on here. I think you might want to shorten some of the descriptions and even the whole scene to get a little more impact. Example: "trying to escape the permeating odor" is too complex a statement for this poor girl to think at this moment. Plus as Sharla said, eliminate some of the passive constructions: "vibration could be felt" change to "she felt the vibration" or even better "the floor vibrated."

    I thought we were reading about a helpless person so I was surprised she could see everything natural and supernatural. That made the situation more interesting so maybe it needs to more forward to the opening.

    Not quite hooked, but good luck.

  7. Not hooked. Too much passive voice, and the whole thing feels a bit overwritten.

    Also, the nature of the scene itself turned me off. I feel like someone just dumped me into a rape and/or impending murder scene, and that's always hard to stomach. Especially in Christian literature.

    The fact that "she" (don't really know who she is, which is another problem) can see supernatural beings is intriguing, but not enough for me to overcome my initial reservations.

  8. The fact that she can see everything, supernatural and natural, is very interesting, but I felt like this fact was buried a bit. There's too much passive voice to get through. I'm not sure if she is whimpering or if someone/something else is.

    The positive is, as I said, you have an interesting scenario, I just think the writing needs to be tightened.

  9. This is overwritten.

    This is more of a personal question (feel free to answer it, jump down my throat and stomp on my liver, whatever floats your boat). I'm very curious how a character who has supernatural ability is Christian fiction?

    I wonder if Harry Potter was promoted as Christian fiction first whether his magic would have matter any more than Santa and and his eight magic reindeer.

  10. This is an intense opener, but I wasn't quite there with the character, feeling the fear and despair. I don't have much of a suggestion, apart from perhaps trimming it down, replacing some of the passive verbs and weak verbs with stronger verbs, shorten or break up some of the paragraphs. I think this a great start but isn't quite there yet emotionally for me.

  11. I agree with the other posters - tighten it up, get rid of the passive voice and figure out a way to hook us better.

    I would be interested to read more. I'm wondering if this is more of a prologue to your story? If that is the case then I'm going to guess this scene is more spiritual than physical.

    I've read Ted Dekker and this would go along the lines of his books - in which case, the comment above regarding Harry Potter and Santa needs to be ignored.

  12. This read rough, but you have an intriguing element here - a person who can see everything natural and unnatural. Perhaps work that into the opening paragraph some how.

    Others have commented on the active/passive and the show/tell so I won't go there. Maybe show us who it is that has made her a prisoner here. Are we dealing with people or demons/supernatural beings? What is it she's so afraid of? And where is she?

    You did a nice job creating a mood and a feeling of fear. Keep at it. And good luck!

  13. Not hooked. The prose is stilted and overwritten. I'm confused as to how someone who could "see all" had no idea what was going on. Maybe you should lead with that concept.

  14. This is an interesting scenario with some hints of an intriguing story, but not quite well-crafted enough to flow smoothly and grab my interest.

    First paragraph: I found “skulked” in the first line to be awkward. I wonder if it would be more effective to just say “Footsteps” and leave it at that. Passive voice: “A deep vibration could be felt…” The last sentence should either be two sentences, or have a conjunction connecting the two parts.

    The whole thing is a bit uneven and staccato. Too many different ideas in each paragraph for me to grasp. I need to picture her a little better, a little sooner. I need the information about being bound and gagged earlier.

    The whimpers in the first and last paragraph are unclear. Who is whimpering?

    You use some strong visuals and nice sensory descriptions, so I have the feeling that when you smooth things out, this could be terrific. Keep working!