Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August Secret Agent #21

TITLE: Inner Demons
GENRE: Paranormal Urban Romance

Sometimes the simplest things end up being the hardest things.

Like not turning left across Main Street into the liquor store parking lot. With both hands gripped to the steering wheel, I kept my eyes straight ahead. Cold beer on sale tempted me, flashing red and blue hypnotic lights against the lengthening shadows. Aisles and aisles of vodka, scotch, gin, rum, wine – everything I needed to replace the bottles dumped down the drain.

You can do this. Don'’t turn left.

Slowly, agonizingly slowly, my Civic crawled through traffic until the neon signs blinked in my rear view mirror.

Don'’t turn the car around.

I drove up Prospect Street, up the snaky hill, releasing my breath as I parked the car in the laneway and turned off the engine. A little victory for me, but there was no one to share it with.

I banged through the door, expecting resistance from the sticky frame, but the weather had been dry for a change and the door yielded effortlessly. The old farmhouse enveloped me with its scents of old dust and firewood, the powdery fragrance of Aunt Helen’s perfume lingering as if she’d just walked by, making me miss her all over again. After dumping out the day’s worth of textbooks and notes on top of the mini-freezer, I hung up my backpack. My housemates were already home, working on dinner.

Bear glanced at me as he drained the noodles. “Hungry?”

“Not really.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” I said.


  1. This is very well written, and I would definitely read on. I think your first sentence would be stronger if you omitted the last word. Just "Sometimes the simplest things end up being the hardest."

    My only other criticism is that I don't get a paranormal vibe at all from this sample, and that I don't know whether the MC is a male or female yet. I like to know whose head I'm in. Great job though, I'm hooked!

  2. Nice opening. I liked the details about the farmhouse...very vivid.

    Also am missing the paranormal piece, but I assume it creeps in sooner than later?

  3. I liked this a lot. I'd keep reading.

  4. I liked this. I want to know more about the drinking, and a lot more about Aunt Helen.

    I think you did a really great job with the description.

    Good work! :)

  5. Descriptions are wonderful.

    Love the liquor store conflict.

    I assumed the MC was male based on the voice. If the MC is not male you may need to give us a hint of who's head we are in.

    I would read on.

  6. Your MC used all the senses and took me straight into the personal conflict. It also made me curious about room mates in a house this person had known a long time.

    Very intriguing. I'd read on.

  7. I'm interested in this character. It seems to be a recovering alcoholic or a person on the verge of becoming one and I need to know more about this person.

    You did well with the visuals, but not to the point we got lost in them, which is important. Well done!

  8. Sounds like you've set this up for prime inner conflict with the alcoholism. I liked the way you described the farm house and am curious to learn more about this character.

  9. I really like this. I'm intrigued by his/her fight with alcoholism. You didn't info dump on why the MC was a drunk or why he/she is sober, just enough to draw my interest. My only critiques are: 1) I don't know what Paranormal Urban Romance is. I've seen Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy, but that's it. Think about which category it fall into at Barnes and Noble or Amazon and stick with that. 2) I'd cut one of the "old"s in the 8th paragraph.

    Good luck!

  10. Anyone who has fought an addiction, chocolate, drink, drugs, shoes, will relate to this beginning.

    The paragraph when she arrives home is a little unwieldy. The word 'effortlessly' hangs out there too boldly. I'm also bothered that she enters the house with all its odors but doesn't mention the smell of cooking food.

  11. I really liked this. I'd definitely read more. I'm intrigued by the fact that she thinks she has no one to share her victory with, yet she has housemates.

    I also just realized I assumed the MC was a woman, though I don't think you've actually said. Maybe it was the Aunt Helen . . .?

  12. I like the way I'm drawn into the MC's persona right away. Nicely done. I'd like to know the gender, but I'm sure that's coming up soon with the dialogue. Good luck :)

  13. I'm intrigued but not completely hooked. I don't know enough about the MC to identify with him/her and the situation hasn't grabbed me yet. I've done the college thing, but haven't fought any significant addiction so I can only sympathsize there.

  14. Nice first line. I agree with the other commenter that I'd drop the last word of that first sentence.

    I like the internal struggle the protagonist is faced with as he/she passes the liquor store. Nicely done. However, at this point, I'd like to know if the protagonist is male or female.

    I think this still needs some work. I felt a bit let down that the next scene (and I realize this is merely the opening) is Bear draining noodles. Not a lot of tension in pasta. Finally, I'm not seeing evidence of anything paranormal, but I'm sure that will come up shortly.