Wednesday, November 4, 2009

38 Secret Agent

TITLE: Crescent Moon
GENRE: YA Paranormal Romance

The sweet perfume of orange blossoms, vanilla, and a hint of soothing amber eclipse the bold, rugged scent of leather. A Bach concerto lulls the passengers into a false sense of euphoria, forming a tranquil atmosphere. Then, a blinding beam of light floods the tiny space, encircling the inhabitants, creating panic and fear. The tranquility gives way to squealing tires, laughter becomes horrifying screams, and then all is silent.

When I woke up, it was late, and the room was dark. The only visible light came from the street lamp outside my bedroom window, and even that was filtered by the thick limbs of the grand maple tree.

My mind did it again, cruelly reminding me of the reason why I’m here and not at home…my other home. Rolling over, I clicked the lamp on, attempted to blink my eyes open, and strained to focus through the puffiness that had set in. Crying yourself to sleep is not always the wisest decision. There’s always a penalty to pay--red and puffy eyes.

It was another restless night, just like the previous night I’d spent in my new home. As weird as it sounds, I was becoming used to it, and it didn’t bother me as much. Usually my dreams were the cause, and tonight was no exception.

Lying on my mother’s old bed, my hand clutched at my chest, and I pulled out the silver pendant from underneath my pink night shirt. The police officer said my mother was grasping the pendant when she died, and managed to tell him to make sure I received it.


  1. Actually, I'd throw out everything except the last two paras, and open with them. I think it's be a stronger opening. Starting off with a dream is too cliched, unless there's something really remarkable about the dream. That's not the case here. Writing's nice.

  2. I am not sure if the character is male or female, but I am assuming female.

    I really like the writing and can feel how she is haunted by the memory in her dream...

    I could picture the accident, feel the red puffy eyes... and understand the heartache she is feeling while at her childhood home after losing her mother...

    I would

  3. Sorry, but waking from a dream is really a cliché. And I didn’t think anyone ever decided to cry themselves to sleep. The penalty, puffy eyes, seems so insignificant compared to losing your mother and moving to a new home.
    Not hooked.

  4. I got a little confused going from present tense in the first para to past in the rest. It felt like it was missing something about how the dream made her feel - obviously she isn't sleeping, but does it scare her or just replay in her mind every night? I am curious about what happened to her mother. - Heather

  5. I wasn't pulled in by the description in the first paragraph. Agree with Travener that I'd start with the last two paragraphs.

  6. I didn't mind that it started with a dream, but I would have liked to have known what sort of passengers they were. I have the feeling the main character knew. Were they airline passengers or bus passengers?

    The action is clear and the writing solid. I'm slightly hooked.

  7. I'm sorry to jump in with the first negative comment, but technical issues got in the way of my enjoyment.

    My mind did it again, cruelly reminding me of the reason why I’m here and not at home…my other home.

    That should read:
    My mind DID it again, cruelly reminding me of the reason I WAS here.

    This needs to be put in past tense:
    Crying yourself to sleep is not always the wisest decision. There’s always a penalty to pay--red and puffy eyes.

    so it should read:
    Crying yourself to sleep was not always the wisest decision. There was always a penalty to pay--red puffy eyes. (But you really ought to cut the last sentence, it's redundant as is VISIBLE LIGHT.)

    I could go on. You are mixing present and past tense in every paragraph.

    That's not a big deal at all. Just proof read your manuscript for it before you submit it. Because these technical glitches make it hard to enjoy the danger and mystery you are setting up.

  8. Technical issues aside I do want to know what happens next for this character. I want to know what happened to her Mom and what kind of paranormal elements are going to be introduced.

  9. Honestly, I'd open with the last paragraph if I were you. That was what hooked me. The rest of it I thought was was basically backstory, and then your real story began.

    I won't mention the stuff about dreams, because I just agree with everyone else.

    Also, as some other posters have mentioned, there are technical issues here ie switches from past to present tense, which somehow didn't really bother me. (This means you've done something right. Tense switches usually make me stop reading right away). So I suppose I'm somewhat hooked.

  10. Yeah. I'm not a big fan of dream stuff from the get go. Again, personal preference.

    I like the last paragraph as a starting place as well (others mentioned that). I liked the puffy eyes comment (penalty of crying youreslf to sleep) that painted a picture for me. :-)

  11. Didn't like the first paragraph. The next two were weak. But the pendant made me want to read on.

  12. Your first paragraph seems too detached to feel like a dream. It sounds like someone describing a commercial. I think if you want to open with a dream, then we need to feel like it's real and we are living it along with the character. However, opening with a dream/waking up is one of those overused beginnings agents are always saying they don't like, so I'd start with something else. Maybe after she's woken up and lying in bed, grasping the pendant. Overall, I think the writing could use some tightening and smoothing.

  13. I liked the writing of the first paragraph, but more hooked by the last one. Intriguing and I want to read more! Good luck!