Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July Secret Agent #15

TITLE: Shield & Crocus
GENRE: Adult Fantasy

The blare on my alarm bracelet shatters my quiet morning of work, so I strap on my belt of artefacts, don my longcoat, and dive off of the balcony of my apartment. I catch my grapple line on the worn gargoyle across the street. It grabs and holds, and I begin swinging my way across the city.

Even taking the high road over roofs and towers, swinging whenever possible, it takes almost a half-hour to reach the district of Audec's Bowels in the south-center of the city.

We can't be everywhere, not with so few of us and the city so large. The Shields live spread out between the five domains to minimize the delay in our response, but when a Spark-storm erupts, we're often too late. Often times, all we do is clear the rubble and prevent the terrified citizens from lashing out at the new Spark-touched.

I follow the red light in Blurred Fists' gem, serving as a compass pointing me to my fellow Shield's location. As I swing down the refuse-filled alley between two ruined buildings to avoid a group of sentries, I hear Sarii's voice in my mind, rehashing an old argument.

“Why do we even bother, Wonlar? We'll never win, we're always too late. How many people do we really help? More than you've gotten killed in your crusade."


  1. For so much action in the first two paragraphs, the narrative isn't very... active. I think there's too much backstory being spooned out, and while it feels natural in the narrative, it's just not... GRABBING me, you know?

    I'd definitely read on to understand more of the story, but I'm not feeling some of the things I need to feel. Like an emotional connection to the pov character (no name, gender yet, voice not unique). Or a question that I want to know the answer to, or a mystery I want to solve (your 3rd paragraph starts to make me ask questions, particularly with the phrase Spark-touched, but it's not active enough).

    It's possible that you're starting the story a little too early. Maybe seeing this Shield in action will help the scene work better, incorporating world-building more naturally.

    I don't mind feeling a little overwhelmed in the opening of a story, (emphasis on "a little"), but here I'm just feeling underwhelmed.

    Good luck!

  2. Wow, that is a dive into a pool of cold water!

    Way to dive right into the action. For me, it went too quickly. I couldn't quite picture everything, couldn't grasp exactly what was happening. It felt like this chunk of scene was meant to be three or four times longer than it was, like the story is slipping through my fingers.

    I can tell there's a lot of interesting elements and thoughts in this excerpt, but I want to have a chance to absorb it!

  3. Honestly, I just want to know more about this world and all of its inhabitants. I'm willing to overlook some rushed pacing and a little bit of backstory early on because it could prove to be such an interesting world.

    Two things:

    1) Your title - I had to look up crocus to make sure I was thinking of the right word. Not sure which meaning of crocus you're going for here but I'd wager it'll be interesting either way!

    2) The last sentence from Sarii confused me a bit. Is she suggesting that Wonlar has gotten more people killed than he's saved? I just don't know if it should be a question or if it should be said by Wonlar himself. Maybe I'm just reading it wrong...

    Based solely on this entry, I think if you calm the pacing and space out the info-dumps, this could be an awesome ride! Good luck!

  4. What I liked the most here was that it seemed modernly medievilish, or maybe medievilshly modern and I'd keep reading to see if that was the case. The world interests me now more than your MC.

    The issue, I think, is that it's told. We're not seeing your MC swing through the city. We're not feeling the wind on his face or choking on the fumes from the smokestacks he breezes through. We're not seeing what the city looks like. It's just him telling us this and that.

    Perhaps slow it down a bit. For instance - The blare on my alarm bracelet shatters my quiet morning of work, -- perhaps instead of telling us that, show him actually doing whatever his work is, let us hear the alarm sound, show him collect his artefact belt and maybe describe an item or two, then show him grab his grappling hook and chuck it across the sky to the next building. In other words, instead of him telling us what he did, let him actually do it. It'll make a big difference.

  5. I think the idea for this scene is great!

    Maybe take a bit of the explanation and more detail on the action he is feeling crossing the city in the crazy way. Maybe add some more of the back story after this event he's got to go help with.

    I'd maybe move the fact that they're always too late back a bit too. Help me love your MC and his gang before you tell me how unsuccessful they are.

    But again, really great opening idea and sounds like a great premise. I'd keep reading!

  6. I love how action-packed this is. But I don't get any sense of character here and I think you would be well-served to slow the action down slightly so I can learn a bit about who Wonlar is.