Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August Secret Agent #35

TITLE: Hope's Redemption
GENRE: Historical Christian Fiction

Alura stood with Molly, Natalie, and Mary in the dwindling line of the captives. Rivulets of sweat trickled down her back and dripped off her forehead blurring her vision. Of the five girls Alura had been put in charge of, two remained. Sarah, a tiny mite of a girl, survived the grueling march to the docks at Ravyn only to be sold to a man with menacing eyes and a greedy lust drooling from his lips. Two other sweet girls had slipped away peacefully in their sleep. Mary never cried anymore. She never talked either. Natalie grew faint, but her spirit remained strong. Alura determined in her heart that she would do whatever she could to protect all of her girls.

Molly had not lost her steadfast faithfulness to Alura, for which Alura was eternally grateful. Alura tried to remain unshakable, but at times she had crumbled under the burden of suffering. Some degree of protection had surrounded them as long as they marched close by Terious, but he had not always been there when the vicious guards beat upon them. Now, standing in line, Alura heard the whispers and rumors from the other captives. Those left at the end of the day were to be sold to the floating brothel resting in the harbor.

The guard turned and walked straight toward Alura and the others. He stopped in front of Nataile. Reaching out, he seized her collar and yanked the tattered fabric of her dress. It easily gave way.


  1. Alot of names to keep track of in the first couple of paragraphs!

    You mention that Alura only had two girls left, after you say she is standing with Molly, Natalie, and Mary (which is three).

    Also you say she is going to do what she can to protect her girls, but it seems sort of impossible right now.

    I'm not yet pulled into the story after these couple of paragraphs.

  2. There are a lot of names dropped in the first paragraph, and I'm immediately wondering if I'm going to have to keep them all straight (though I suspect not since Sarah was sold off... if so and we never hear of her again, do we need to know her name?).

    I think there's an interesting story here, but it might help if we cut straight to what's going on, rather than have a description of all the different girls, and then mentioning of Terious, who we know nothing about yet.

    What exactly are they being protected from? I almost feel like you could start with the last paragraph as the first one, and then give us a bit more info on precisely what's going on.

  3. I agree, I was lost with the names. I'd cut the descriptive stuff and get into the action of the scene a little faster. Then work the rest back in as the scene goes on. Dumping so many names on us in the first paragraph just left me confused.

  4. Your scenario draws me right in. I want to know what's going to happen in the next minute. I think I could be sucked in with less effort, though, if I didn't have quite so much to keep track of. While what happened to the other girls is heart-wrenching, it's the girls still with Alura that you want me to care for immediately. Keep the focus on them and tell me the sad tale of what happened to the other girls a bit later.

  5. There are too many names for a first page plus it's all tell. Get to the story and allow the details to unfold as the story progresses.

  6. I'd put the end of this piece at the beginning. Well, not the guard part, but why there are in line. As I read, I was wondering who these girls were to her (cousins, sisters, daughters, friends)and where they were. You explain how these girls feel toward her, but we need to feel invested in this character first. We need to be in this scene.

    PS. My MC in another ms is Allura. :) Nice name choice.

  7. This was confusing. You name four girls in the first line, then say that Alura had two girls left to care for. Who is the third girl with them? In addition, I questioned the line "she would do whatever she could to protect all her girls." If there are only two left, shouldn't that be both? The tension comes at the end, where we learn they are about to be sold to a brothel. This is where I first felt engaged.

  8. Too many names, open with the setting. Where are we? How does it feel? Take us by the hand and guide us.

  9. I'm sorry, but I'm confused right from the beginning. Alura was assigned five girls, two of whom are left. Sarah and Ravyn were sold, two died, that leaves one assigned girl. It doesn't add up. Then there are these other girls, who are they? I was pulled from the story, dithering around trying to make sense of who everyone was. You don't want that.

    This sounds like it could be a compelling story. But the beginning needs to be simplified.

  10. i know it's been mentioned, but the amount of characters in this opening is overwhelming and confusing--it also kills your momentum. maybe focus on alura and the three girls she's protecting and what (action) they are doing.

    and yes, the last sentence would pull me in much more effectively if placed in the beginning. that being said, i like where you're going with it.

  11. Wow, I loved this. As other commenters have noted, there are a lot of names to keep up with, but it's not too difficult, just work the math with the three girls and two left issue that has already been noted. This is clearly a compelling premise and I want to know more about Alura (how old is she and why is she in charge)and her story. Too, I'm confused about the time period and location, but I'm sure that will pop up in the next paragraph or two.