Wednesday, February 10, 2010

23 Secret Agent

TITLE: THE COLLECTED
GENRE: Paranormal Suspense



Emma knew he needed her talent when the door crashed open and the Collector limped over the threshold. He dragged his left leg behind him, smearing blood across the floor with his foot. Her heart sank.

The Collector staggered across the room to the curio cabinet. Glass bottles of various shapes and sizes occupied the shelves and spotlights illuminated the carefully placed bottles, casting colorful shadows. Emma waited inside her bottle on the second shelf. She could pray he'd pass her by, but that would be a wasted prayer. She knew what he needed, and none of the others could give it. His eyes scanned over them all, but stopped on her.

He sighed, grasped Emma’s bottle with one shaky hand and twisted the lid enough to loosen it. The vessel was still capped when he brought it to his lips and in one fluid motion he removed the lid and inhaled, drawing Emma into his lungs.

She gasped as a wave of his pain overwhelmed her. His left leg was on fire and throbbed with each racing beat of his heart. The room tilted and he plopped down on the only chair, unsure if he was going to throw up or pass out.

Fix it, he thought at Emma. And no funny business. If I have to force you this time, I’ll make you remember George for me? Do you want that?

He placed one image in her mind, but it was enough: George. His hand pulled back and balled in a fist. His usually handsome features distorted by fury and fear.

Emma’s stomach flipped and the Collector chuckled

17 comments:

Valerie said...

Hooked. This was so different from anything I've read. I'm really intrigued by your world. You managed to pack a lot of world-building into 250 words. I would definitely keep reading. There's so much I want to know here.

Jean Davis said...

I'd give this another page or two to see where it was going. I was suprised by Emma being in one of the bottles and that's what grabbed my attention. However, the line dealing with the bottle description seems somewhat out of Emma's pov as does the line about the room tilting.

The line about making her remember George isn't a question and should end in a period.

Cassie said...

Hooked but a little spooky. That's good. It's different enough to be intriguing. I'd read on.

Kathleen MacIver said...

Wow...this is different! I'm honestly not sure if I'll like it, but the writing's good enough to hook me if it doesn't get too spooky. :-)

I'd work on your first paragraph, though. See if you can make it more vivid. "Emma knew" seems very telling, and a weak way to start a story like this. Maybe start with her emotion, or maybe start with the POV of being inside a bottle.

Higley Browne said...

This was great and very different. I'm definately hooked!

I agree the transition finding out she's in a bottle could be a little smoother.

Cat said...

Hooked. This is the kind of book I'd read. Lovely worldbuilding.

Lucy Woodhull said...

Wow - the genie in a bottle thing is very interesting. But the opening line read awkward to me. I almost feel like you should get to Emma being in the bottle sooner. THAT's what is unique in this situation - otherwise it's a person waiting to be discovered hiding, which is the start of many a suspense novel.

If she's in a colored bottle, wouldn't her vision be tinged with whatever color it is? Could be interesting to cast the Collector in the (ominous?) color.

Good luck!

K said...

Hooked. I love the description, and I'm eager to know who George is, what Emma is, what the collector does/did....

You created so many questions that I'd have to keep reading! Good job.

patesden said...

Cool idea. I'd read on to see how the point of view is handled. Personally, I prefer this to be in Emma's or the Collector's pov, but not both.

Barbara said...

Hooked. Once I read she was in a bottle, you had me. It's not the same old same old. I have all the questions K had, and I thought Lucy had a great idea of using the bottle's color to help create mood and tone. A great beginning!

Gem said...

Hooked. A few comments, I did stumble over the first line, too long and too much cramed into one sentence. Perhaps start with the action. "The door crashed open and the collector limped over the threshold. Emma cowered in her bottle, knowing he needed her talent." Or somrthing like that if you did want to mention the bottle sooner.

The only other thing is that you mention the collector as having "handsome features". As he seems evil, this was a slight disconnect for me. But overall, really want to read on.

Avily Jerome said...

Neat! Very unique. I'm intrigued enough to read more.

Jessica said...

Surprisingly hooked! Paranormals aren't usually my thing, but this is so different and so intriguing. I was momentarily thrown by what seemed to be a switch in POV in the fourth paragraph, but I assumed that, as she was inside his body and sharing his thoughts, she also shared his POV. Nicely done!

Bron said...

I'm hooked. I like how you didn't mention she was in the bottle immediately, but I agree the POV needs work in the second paragraph. At the moment the first two sentences are from the collector's POV.

Secret Agent said...

I was confused by the "he" in the first sentence - why not just say "Emma knew the Collector needed her talent when the door crashed open and he limped over the threshold." I also found this line (Glass bottles of various shapes and sizes occupied the shelves and spotlights illuminated the carefully placed bottles, casting colorful shadows) a bit awkward.

But this is a really cool concept and I'd definitely read on to see where this is going.

B. Light said...

Thank you so much, everyone. I'm so glad I did this. This is a difficult concept and it's been a bit of a struggle getting it into the first page without my reader saying "WTF is going on?" This lesson will go a long way to helping me improve my opening. Thanks!

Cheryl S said...

Ooh yes. I like this one. The MC in a bottle is a really interesting premise.

I agree with the comments about the outside pov with the bottles. If you keep it in Emma's pov, it would read much stronger. I liked the suggestion of seeing the Collector through the coloured potion.

But I would definitely read on