Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July Secret Agent #40

TITLE: Out of the Ashes
GENRE: YA Paranormal

I was used to being followed. That was the whole point of wearing the cape. The red seemed to draw them out; it was like a beacon in the night, a bull's eye screaming: Come and get me.

And that's exactly what I wanted.

Don't get the wrong idea. I'm no hero. The cape is just for show. Attracting trouble isn't hard when you know what trouble looks for. By now, I had my act down to a science: young girl walking the streets of DC at night, red short cape with the hood pulled up for visibility, add a dash of helplessness in the form of a limp, and there you go. Instant damsel in distress.

Not that I was expecting any princes to jump out of the shadows. No, night after night, I hoped for just the opposite, looking to have a run-in with something far more fearsome. And wouldn't you know it? Tonight the formula worked like a charm.

There were at least two maybe three. I could feel their eyes on me as I turned to walk down the alley. About midway, I pretended to trip, dropped my keys to the ground. As I bent to pick them up, I heard footsteps approaching.

"Hey there, Red," one called in a rough grizzly voice.

I smiled to myself. It was almost too easy.

Acting like I hadn't heard, I straightened, walked faster.

"Where you going in such a hurry?" A second voice, this one lower than the first.


  1. I think the character voice and psychology come through really well here, and the scene is fairly easy to visualize. I'm interested so far, but I'm a little afraid that the MC is going to turn out to be a vampire :)

  2. I definitely felt the creepy darkness here and what you have definitely intrigued me. I want to read more and find out why she's deliberately luring evil to her.

    The "I'm no hero" line does make me wonder if she's something evil as well. So there is a slight frustration that I don't know what she's doing. But then it makes me want to read further....

  3. Hooked. The first paragraph is great, different. I love the voice and mystery injected here. I too am not sure who or what this MC is or what they want, but I'm willing to keep reading to find out. Nice job.

  4. Hooked. The only place I paused in confusion was 'And wouldn't you know it?' because that made me think maybe she didn't want them to be attracted tonight. Otherwise I love this and want to read more.

  5. Definitely hooked. Excellent visual created and I already kinda love the MC :-)

    My only question is "hood pulled up for visibility." I think it means to make her more visible, but I initially read it and thought it referred to her ability to see with the hood up. (That could just be me ;-) )

    Great story - I'd read more.

  6. I truly loved it. My only problem, is that I'm not sure if the character is good or bad. The first thing I thought of (apart from Little Red Riding Hood, of course) is Frank Miller's Electra: she heard "voices"telling her to kill random people. All she could do, was to choose her victims among delinquents and criminals, "patrolling" at night the worse areas of NY to draw their attention and get them into a trap looking helpless. It's not very clear here if the main character is good or bad, that's it. Other than that, i would definitely read more! Break the leg!

  7. This is very creepy, and I mean that in a good way. It's also amusing to read. I agree with Lori Dyan about the term "visibility," but that might just be me. I would definitely read on to see what happens to the thugs.

  8. This was definitely well-written, sounds almost exactly like the opening of Jackson Pearce's SISTERS RED, right down to the girl donning the red cape in modern city to draw out werewolves. If those creatures are NOT werewolves, I think that should be made more clear on the first page to differentiate it from the already pubbed book.

    You have a great voice and style, the idea just may not be original enough. Still, good luck!

  9. Truly, great writing. This is a very good scene, however, I agree with MarcyKate, just in that there is a bit of a saturation of Red Riding Hood narratives. I would definitely read on though, based on your great writing, to find out what makes this unique.

  10. Great opening! Writing is great, hook is great and there is a real sense of character.

    I would *have* to read on!

    Miss Aspirant

  11. Great writing! I'd definitely read on to find out just what your MC's motives really are. Aside from the above-mentioned Red Riding Hood nods, it reminded me of Ellen Page's character from the movie "Hard Candy." That theme might be a bit strong for YA, but maybe not. The paranormal twist here is interesting, but it's got me hoping she's more than a vampire (please, oh please)

    Good luck!

  12. I imagine this is a Buffy-type story, which I love. But there are a number of other books out there like that, so make sure that yours is unique in some very important way.

  13. Nice writing, but as others have mentioned, it does sound like a lot of things already out there, and there's nothing exraordinary in this opening to differentiate it from the others. Perhap come up with that something and make it your hook.

  14. Thank you guys so much for the feedback and encouragement. Manatee and Vincent: I solemnly swear that there are no vamps in this novel :)

    Yes, I just saw HP7 pt 1 and 2, back to back. Yes, it was fantastic!

  15. The writing here was fantastic! Loved the voice, loved the creepy quality, loved the way it's hard to discern the MC's motives (yet).

    I haven't read the books that other commenters have mentioned, so perhaps that's why I have no problem with it. I would have thought this was very fresh and original. I'd read it in a heartbeat.