Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July Secret Agent #46

TITLE: Supernatural Freak
GENRE: urban fantasy

A rough area on the abandoned outskirts of London. It's a very dark, but unfortunately for me, not stormy night. My situation would be much better if it was. On my right, a massive grey building stares at me with its empty windows, like a monstrous, blind giant. All around there is rubbish of every kind: a broken armchair, a rusty bicycle, even an out of order washing machine still filled with yesterday's rain. A stench of putrid water fills the air from time to time, when the wind changes. A dog is barking madly in the distance. Definitely not the best place for a picnic, but I couldn't have found a better and safer location for what I am preparing to do.

My only problem is that it's nearly midnight, in less than half an hour the moon will rise, and the bloody shaman hasn't shown up yet. No shaman, no healing spell; which means no money and loads of trouble for me. I haven't even written my will! Considering the situation, I'm happy I've given uncle Terry a day off. By now he'll probably be in some sordid Soho strip club, watching a half-naked chick, young enough to be his daughter, dancing frantically around a pole. Well, good for him; better to be safe
than ethical, as I always say.


  1. I really like all of the atmospheric detail you give in the first paragraph, it sets the scene very clearly.

    However, you start the novel with a sentence fragment. It threw me off, and could easily do the same for other readers. If you use sentence fragments as a stylistic choice throughout the novel, it can work, but I would not recommend one as your opening line.

    Th very last line does't work for me. It may just need a slight re-wording, but I feel like it doesn't fit as is.

    You get across setting and conflict right away, with dramatic questions to be answered, without overloading the reader. I would certainly read on.

  2. I would almost suggest swapping the information in the two paragraphs. Starting the story with the knowledge that this character is waiting for a shaman is eye-catching and interesting.
    Great title!

  3. Great description! I'm right there with your MC. I stumbled over the first line as a sentence fragment, too. I'm not sure what uncle Terry has to do with anything - maybe save that bit for later and get on with it? Otherwise, I'd read on! Good luck!

  4. Think you could strengthen the first sentence and set the scene better, for example, I'm crouching in a rough area on the abandoned outskirts of London, waiting for the shaman.

    You can do much better, but at least we know the problem right off, and then provide the excellent description as we wait for the shaman to show...

  5. It wasn't exactly the first sentence that threw me off, actually. It was the second. There's something about the comma placing that made me pause (and not in the way commas are supposed to make a reader pause).

    "It's a very dark, but unfortunately for me, not stormy night. "

    Perhaps it is just me, but I was thinking maybe the comma should go after the "but" rather than before it. I think that it would provide a better flow.

  6. I agree, the comma should go after "but" instead of before it. The sentence fragment also threw me off. Other that that it was a good, clean voice that hints at a fun read.

  7. thanks for the useful feedback guys!I have changed the first sentence this way: "in a rough area on the abandoned outskirts of London, waiting for the shaman". Better? I have also moved the comma! Thanks again, these small things can really make a difference!

  8. I like your character's voice - the sarcastic tone is fun and fits the setting and genre well. I also like the details like the washing machine full of rain. It paints a vivid picture of the scene. I agree that there are some awkward phrasings. My recommendation is always to read it out loud - awkwardness tends to be more obvious that way than when read silently. And it helps determine where the natural pauses fall so you can place commas and periods appropriately.

  9. I agree with the other comments about the opening line being awkward and think the writing could be tightened up but in general, liked the opening and would read on.

    Miss Aspirant

  10. I like the dark humor, but I wish more happened. While the descriptions in the first paragraph are great, I might cut them down so that we can get to the real action more quickly.

  11. I thought this was a bit rough and could be tweaked a bit more. The first sentence was already mentioned. You make the lack of a storm seem important but never say why, so that reference to the dark and stormy night doesn't realy work. And I wondered about the bloody shaman. Is bloody used here as an expletive, or is the shaman actually bloody?

    I would also have liked a hint as to why he was waiting for the Shaman. I thought that info would have been more interesting than Uncle Terry, since it's more important to the story. The description is done very well, but better to use it on the things that matter, rather than the extraneous stuff. (We can learn about uncle terry when we actually meet him.)