Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March Secret Agent #ALT-2

TITLE: Faerie Fate
GENRE: Paranormal romance

Holly Reed paced the hospital corridor outside room 532, uncertain if she wanted to enter and accept the consequences. On the other side of the door lay the grandmother she'd never met, apparently in the last losing days of her battle with lung cancer.

An orderly rushed by pushing an empty wheelchair, giving her a quizzical look. She smiled, trying to reassure him that she belonged, but unable to hide how out of place she felt. Arms crossed, she bit her lip and changed direction, passing her grandmother's door again, still hesitant to enter. Across the hall at the nurse's station, their eyes followed her progress back and forth.

"Can I help you with something?" one of the nurses asked, her voice suspicious.

"No," Holly said, "I'm fine."

She'd have to decide soon before they called security and had her removed. She could either leave and spend the rest of her life wondering, or go in and find out why her grandmother had waited until she was on her deathbed to make her only granddaughter's acquaintance.

Taking a deep breath she squared her shoulders. As the nurse glared at her and reached for the phone, Holly gave her a sweet, confident smile and turned her attention to her grandmother's room. The door was already ajar so she leaned into it, swinging it inward on its hinges. She entered the room on silent feet to find an old woman resting peacefully in the bed.


  1. So I'm hooked on too levels - first, the idea of someone who's meeting her grandmother for the first time on her deathbed, and dreads the meeting, makes me wonder about the backstory and the consequences of this meeting. Second, I haven't seen any paranormal elements yet, and I'd be looking for that fun stuff to start cropping up.

    The writing is generally good - I would take care about mentioning her body language. It's a good way of indicating her anxiety, but if it's overused, it can make the flow kind of choppy. I feel like the first sentence of the last paragraph stops everything short, when in fact things should be moving faster now that she's resolving to go in. Just my first impression. Great job!

  2. In the last para, you can say "the room" instead of grandmother's room. We're already aware of that.

    The first line threw me. Totally could just be me. I read it twice and was then like - oh, the consequences of entering the ROOM, not something else that may have happened.

    Maybe instead of telling us she's still hesitant to enter, you just say, she passed her grandmother's door, again, unsure if she could step in... Use your own words, but that's what I'd suggest.

    You've created some good tension, and I'm totally okay with not getting the paranormal in the first 250 words ;)

  3. A little bit of pronoun confusion in the start of the second paragraph. I didn't like the "call the security and have her removed" idea, I just didn't think her pacing in front of a room was believable cause for security to show up. I'm also not quite convinced of the tension Holly is feeling about entering the room. Most people are anxious to have their curiosity satisfied. We need a valid reason why she's hesitant to go in there, and if it isn't anything other than feeling nervous about it, then her wandering needs to be tightened up--get her through that door faster.

    BUT you've clearly set up the idea that something very paranormal is going to happen on this visit with Gma and spurring the reader's curiosity is always very very good thing! :) I'm already believing this will be a good story.

  4. like this a lot. I also like the meeting grandmother for the first time on her deathbead set-up. But I also agree that maybe calling security is to harsh. Maybe they'd ask her to leave or ask what she was doing...

    And that last line about her sleeping peacefully. LURV--I can tell something's coming. Good stuff! Best~ <3

  5. Very interesting situation. I'm guessing that perhaps the grandmother will introduce the paranomal element to Holly? Nice work!

    My first thought when I saw a title with 'Faerie' and a character named Holly Reed was the Artemis Fowl books (featuring a fairy named Holly Root). Probably not a big deal, but I thought I'd mention it.

  6. I am curious as to what makes her hesitant to go in. She never said, yet she's afraid of the consequences. What consequences?

    Across the hall at the nurse's station, their eyes followed her progress back and forth. (I think the RNs would be too busy to watch her. How about letting the RNs, MDs, and secretary take turns eyeing her?)

    She'd have to decide soon before they called security and had her removed. (I can see this happening in peds, but not in on adult oncology unit. She had done nothing wrong for anyone to call security.) She could either leave and spend the rest of her life wondering (She's curious, yet afraid to go in. Why?), or go in and find out why her grandmother (had-delete) waited until she was on her deathbed to (meet her only granddaughter?)make her only granddaughter's acquaintance.

    As the nurse glared at her and reached for the phone, (Pacing is not a crime and normal in the hosp.)

    The door was already ajar (slightly ajar? otherwise she would have seen her grandmother)

    I would read more.

  7. I agree that the level of suspicion (calling security?) here seemed over-the-top for someone pacing and a little uncertain.
    Personally, I would rather have had the set-up of how long she's been waiting/worry about the consequences of her entering the room laid out more quickly, so the real purpose of the story can begin: meeting this grandmother which, apparently, will set things in motion.

  8. Well written and intriguing, but some things don't ring true from my life experience dealing with a family member's 13-year struggle with cancer. We went through three major medical centers, so I have seen more of hospitals than anybody should ever have to face.

    I would drop the "apparently" in the first paragraph. She knows her grandmother is dying.

    The orderly would be busy with his task and would ignore her.

    Nurses in wards like that are almost always outstandingly nice, even maternal. They're used to traumatized family and friends and people standing in halls hesitating to go into a room. They would most likely look at her with kindness, ask if they could help her, etc. Maybe this isn't the kind of drama you are looking for, but it's realistic.

  9. While I'm intrigued by the set-up here, I don't understand why she'd be hesitant to enter the room. She came to the hospital, so to me the decision's already been made. Working up the courage, perhaps, but uncertain I don't buy. I also don't think security would be called over someone pacing in a hallway. If she's annoying, they might ask her to leave, maybe, but I doubt it. I'm curious enough about the paranormal aspect though that I'd read on.

  10. Just some nitpicky things. It feels to early for an adverb in the first paragraph (apparently).

    Also, I work at a hospital and all sorts of people can be found at a nurses station, so when you mention the nurses station and then say "their eyes" I didn't know who the "they" was. Doctors? Nurses? Patients ambulating? Visitors? Ghosts?

  11. I didn't have a chance to read the other comments, but this is what hit me immediately.
    This could be a strong opening if it weren't told and rather took a more personal approach.
    Getting inside her. Speaking from her.
    My best. Good luck.

  12. I like where you start this, it jumps right into the story without being too dramatic. I agree with some of the others that the nurses would probably not call security. I think they would try to help first - I'm sure lots of people are scared to face dying family, and pacing would be natural.

    The sentence 'She could either leave and spend...' did not read smoothly to me. I got hung up on it a couple times.

    I would read more. Good start and best of luck!

  13. Yes, I was another one who didn't really believe that the nurses would be suspicious of Holly. I'm sure they get distracted and distraught people all the time. I was also wondering how a rushing orderly would have time to look quizzically at her. If he's in that much of a rush, a healthy person hanging around a corridor isn't going to register.

    Apart from that, I think the writing is good. I would delete 'accept the consequences' in the first sentence. I feel it's too vague to add anything and the paragraph still makes sense without it.

  14. I like your premise, but I think you drag it out too far. We have her hesitation by the second paragraph. If you shorten the pacing and indecision, you'd get us into the room on page one, and that's where the story starts, not with her thinking and deciding. Grandma obviously has a purpose so get us to her.

  15. I thought the first parg. was the perfect place to drop your hook. She's unsure if she should go in and face the consequences. Tell us what the consequences are and you have our instant attention (assuming the consequences are big and are the plot of the story).

    I'm guessing that's where you're going with the opening, and after 250 words, you still don't get there. Why not grab the reader right away if you can?

    She can still hesitate to enter the room, although I did think that went on too long. All we get in the next 250 words is that the staff is suspicious, (which probably doesn't matter in the grand scheme of the novel) and that she's never met her grandmother before, which you can tell us when she enters the room and sees her for the first time.

  16. Why is she nervous to meet her grandmother? Is she notoriously mean? Does she think her grandmother won't like her? Is she scared of seeing her sick and hooked up to machines? What is at stake here? What are those consequences mentioned in the first paragraph? I'd read more to answer these questions, but it would have to pay off very soon. There's some good writing here.