Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April Secret Agent #10


Shamed by her hypocrisy and wary of the Lord's wrath, Ava Spenta struggled to sing for Runda's South Community Church after a sermon she absolutely loathed--starting with the Reverend's chastisement of her friend. This was hardly an unfamiliar battle, singing with composure while her spirit writhed. She couldn't ever have anticipated that within the hour, she'd lose the privilege of keeping it a private one.
The Rev. Griggs stepped up to the podium and raised his arms, his purple robes flapping like wings.

"Let the church say amen."


"I said, let the church say AMEN."

The vibrations of their reply echoed from the rafters, and a few stray calls burst from edified souls as the Reverend projected his voice--thick with his black ancestors' heritage--over the endorsements.

"And Hallelujah. Thank you, Ava Spenta, for your always beautiful, always healing rendition of the Lord's hymn, Amazing Grace. You have even managed to bring our afflicted sister, Tori Adams, some peace."

Judas Iscariot probably felt less shame than Ava did then. She nodded and took her place with the rest of the choir sitting behind the podium. No matter what, she wouldn't change her attitude towards the Reverend's much too regular threats against the evils of associating with members of The Verita.
Trent was Verita, and the last thing Ava would do was turn her back on a friend...again.
She masked a cringe when shrill howls and thumping started up again from the room beside the chapel's platform.


  1. Hello! Okay, I almost think you should start this off with the paragraph: Ava cringed when shrill howls and thumping sounded from the room beside the chapel's platform.

    Maybe have it where she has to sing after hearing the thumping etc.

    Or find a way to bring it further up. Because I really liked the idea of something/someone banging against the church wall. I'm assuming it's her friend, but we don't really get that.

    Hope this helps!

  2. I would read on. I 'm really having negative feelings about the Reverend so that's good. I assume. Good luck.

    Subission #11

  3. You have some nice elements here. You give us the mystery of the Verita, and you make it clear she has already betrayed one friend and is ashamed of it.

    I think what gets in the way here is all the explanations. The opening parg doesn't do a lot for you because at that point, we have no idea what you're talking about. ANd the second last parg is kind of the same, although there, we do have some clues.

    Perhaps try a rewrite without all the explanation and just let the story unfold?

  4. I try not to read other people's comments before I write mine but I agree with Rebekah about starting in a different place - the idea of her having to sing while she hears her friend banging on the wall really creeps me out - in a good way :)

    I think the very first line is too long and some of your sentences could maybe be broken up a bit. I'm not totally hooked yet but there are enough questions here that would keep me reading. I'm intrigued as to who or what the verita are.

  5. The first paragraph was a little confusing but by the time I got to the end, I was hooked. I think you are telling too much in the first paragraph so maybe if you make it more active, it would work better. I would read on.

  6. The first line/paragraph threw me a bit. I actually end with "church." Then, make new sentence with the new info. Then go into loathing the sermon and the revrend for his open attack on her friend. By the end, the previous betrayal, the howls and thumping, I'm interested to know what's going on!

  7. I'd read on because I want to know what's happening here, especially with the verita! I'm also very curious about why the reverend is publicly criticizing Ava's friend. Rebekah makes a good point when she suggests starting at another place. I'd also suggest reducing the number of names in the first 250. Right now, there's Ava's name, the reverend's, the friend's, Tori Adams, the name of the church, and The Veritas. It's a lot of information in a short amount of space in my opinion. I'd love to see what happens next with this. The voice is great!

  8. I like the concept here, but I think the writing needs to be polished a bit. For example, Ava is singing at this church and she feels like a hypocrite because the Reverend chastised "her friend." Who? Tori? Trent? If they're being referenced as the Veritas later on, name them outright. It gives the reader some dots to connect.

    Then when she talks about how this is "hardly an unfamiliar battle" but soon she'd "lose the privilege of keeping it a private one"...If Ava is indicating that in less than an hour there will be a public battle of wills, I encourage you to make that more exciting and central to this scene. It feels like a "battle" should be very important, but that sentence so easily fades into the background.

    I love the people howling from the other room, and the creepiness definitely has me intrigued, but without tightening the prose and making it more concise, I'm not as invested as I could be.

  9. Firstly, I’d like to mention that your title struck my curiosity (nice choice!). You introduced your character quite well, and her emotions grabbed my attention and made her easy to sympathize with.

    I would agree with others’ comments about the first paragraph. After reading that particular bit, I had to stop and go back to make sense of it all. All the names were distracting and added to the sense of "too much information" for a first paragraph and nearly dissuaded me from reading on.

    Despite this, the ending left me surprised and even shocked...definitely intriguing! With a little polishing done to the writing, I would read on.

  10. I doubt anyone lurks back over the comments later, but I want to say Thank You anyway for the VERY helpful and encouraging critiques. I've worked and reworked through the suggestions, and I'm very happy with the improvement--amazing what another pair of eyes can do!! Thanks again :)