Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July Secret Agent #33

TITLE: Shadow Embraced
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

The pale girl knocks me back against the fleshy wall of the crowd with a couple of hard smacks. I scramble away from a woman in a purple dress, my eyes on my opponent. Over the pulsing music, the crowd still keeps up their tribal chant.

"Fight! Fight! Fight!"

This is my first time at The Basement--innovative name for a club set up on a second-storey. The dim lights and smoky atmosphere make the red and black clothing of the crowd and the graffiti on the walls blaze. Between the pinball machines, sagging lounges, and the close-pressed crowd, there isn't much room to manoeuvre.

"What are you waiting for?" the girl hisses. She could be Snow White with her porcelain skin and long, raven hair. "You started this. It was just between me and her." She extends one long finger towards my best friend, Alex.

Alex watches from the sideline. I don't know what she did to piss off this poisonous cow, but now I want blood.

"Come on, Scar," Alex calls, running her hand through her long, bleached hair, which is overdue for another dose of peroxide.

My opponent launches at me. I shield my face from her punches. It all comes down to waiting for an opening.

I duck under a right hook and seize my chance. I throw an uppercut and knock her pale ass to the ground. Before she has a chance to regain her footing, I pounce.

A single word roars through the room. "Scatter!"


  1. I'm torn. I really like that this starts with action. And I especially want to read what happens after the shatter. (Plus, with it being urban fantasy, I think it'd be really cool if the scatter was the start of some magical effect along the lines of Bleach.) At the same time, I'd like to have a little more reason about why they're fighting. That doesn't necessarily have to be on the first page, but it should be fairly early in the story.

  2. I agree with Yttar, I'd like to know WHY they're fighting more than anything at this point.

    But I love the atmosphere you've created right at the beginning here. It's very easy to immerse myself.

    Although I have to mention that the "Snow White" description threw me off a little. I'm not sure I particularly liked that comparison. Just my opinion though.

    Anyways, love the action and the immediacy of this beginning, but it's hard to sympathize or root for the MC when the real reason behind the fight isn't clear to me. (I know it had something to do with Alex ticking the opponent off, but it's not enough for me to sympathize).

    Good luck!! :D

  3. I love a dynamic opening and this gives it to me in spades! I don't think we need to know the motivation right at this point because I'm sure it's coming soon. Right now, I'm carried away by the action and intrigued enough by why it's happening that I will definitely read on to find out the answer.

    Great opening!

  4. I think it's great; hooked me right away! You can really write action well.
    A suggestion or two:
    Perhaps 'innovative' should be 'ironic'.
    In this line--
    "Come on, Scar," Alex calls, running her hand through her long, bleached hair, which is overdue for another dose of peroxide.
    "Come on, Scar," Alex calls, running a hand through her hair, from black roots to bleached ends.

  5. I thought it was a ladies' version of "Fight Club" at first, but that doesn't mean I was disappointed in how it ended up. Great pacing in the action sequence. I think you've provided just enough reasoning for the fight without getting bogged down in explaining it. There's time for that (and to berate Alex if need be) after Scar finishes off that "poisonous cow." (Hilarious!)

    Good luck!

  6. I'm a big believer in having a great hook to open a chapter, and I think you have done this very well. It sounds believable and you have a good mix of character/scene description mixed with action. This is a good enough hook to make any reader want to read more in my humble opinion. Great job!

    Good luck with the contest!

  7. I think this is great action and as long as more grounded stuff comes next I'm all into it! NICE!

  8. I'm invested and want to keep reading. Well done.

  9. My main problem is I can't tell if Scar is male or female. Also, some of the colors don't need to be mentioned. Unless these are gang colors, we don't need to know that people are wearing red and black, and we don't need to know a dress was purple. Also, I don't think Scar would be thinking about whether Alex needs more peroxide at this moment.

    That said, I like the Snow White description of Alex. And it's an interesting fight scene. Although I don't think Scar would use a polite term like "my opponent." I'm sure you could come up with something ruder than that. But it's a strong start.

  10. I'm hooked! I want to know who Scar is, what the story will be.

    I would take out the red and black clothing--she was just pushed against a woman in a purple dress and it makes me think people are in uniforms. I would also take out Alex's interruption. But otherwise, I think this is pretty solid.

  11. What I liked most about this was that you didn't tell us anything about Scar, and yet I feel like I know her already. You make who she is evident through what she says and does. Nicely done!

    I thought you could cut the third parg. Scar is in the middle of a fight and she suddenly stops to describe the club? It's really not needed. You can do that as the fight progresses. When she falls into a wall of flesh, we get a sense of the crowd. The red and black clothes show us their goths. (If you cut color, cut the purple dress. It doesn't add anything. The red and black does.) When they look at Alex you could mention the graffittied wall behing her. When you're mentioning the pale face, you could work in dim lights of the club. Don't stop in the middle of an action scene to describe something.

    I agree about 'my opponent.' Scar isn't that nice.

    I shield my face from her punches. You might say how. That will create an image. The more your reader can "see" the longer they'll stay with you, and the more real your scene becomes.

  12. this is like fight club for girls--a little TOO much. i would try to distinguish your story from that one sooner.