Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August Secret Agent #6

TITLE: Ghost River
GENRE: Paranormal Mystery

If God had meant for humans to live on water, we would have fins like Aquaman and hair that doesn’t frizz.

And since I had neither, I wasn’t getting out of my car.

Then the wailing started. Fitzgerald, my none-too-patient cat, was tired of her kitty carrier and wanted out. Now. I had the carrier seat-belted in the back seat for safety, surrounded by suitcases, boxes, bags and anything else I could find for packing. My whole life was in my car, at least, my life up to this point. My new life was outside the car, and it scared me.

The cat upped her wailing to rock concert level, while the large iced tea from lunch started to make demands on my bladder. I unlocked my door; it was time.

Grabbing the cat carrier and as many suitcases as I could carry, I walked over to the entrance to Mary’s Marina, my new home. The marina was on a river, not one of those cute little friendly rivers, but a serious river-- big, wide and deep. The ramp down to the marina was steep and worn. It had railings on both sides, but it was a long way down to the dock and the houses. A long, steep, scary way. The waves pushed up against the dock, making the ramp sway to and fro.

I stood there and swayed with the ramp, hypnotized by the motion. My stomach swayed, too, and my face started to feel a little green.


  1. The start of a new life is always fun to read about. As I mentioned last week, the first line is funny. In context with the rest of the page, Aquaman seems a little out of place because people don't need fins to live in a marina. Still, it's a funny line.

    I like how you've handled the cat in this. She's an extention of the MC, so it was nice to get her input on the move. You also did well with the ramp and placing the readers there with the MC as she swayed.

  2. I love this. Good voice, punchy writing. The first sentence almost made me think it would be a fantasy, and since it's paranormal, I like that hint. I would like some hint of why she has to be here, even though she doesn't want to be. Otherwise, this seems spot-on to me. :)

  3. I love your opening line!

    I'd take out "at least" in the line "my whole life was in the car" as I think the first part of that sentence describes it well enough.

    Over all, I like the visuals. I'm not sure why she's moving to a houseboat, but I'd keep reading to find out.

  4. I liked this. It could be tightened up a little bit.
    o The sentence about the cat carrier is a little too detailed. If it's belted in, we know it's for safety, so that phrase is redundant. If anyone has been in a car with a trapped cat they get this immediately.
    o Consider putting a period after, "The marina was on a river." Then continue on with the rest. Otherwise, the rest of the sentence gets a little lost.
    o Didn't really like the, face feeling green. Stomach, maybe?

  5. The opening line is great. Your voice is very nice to read. I would like to know if she is willing beginning this new life, or is it being forced on her?
    I'm not sure how this MC going to live on a houseboat when the ramp renders her seasick.

    would like to read more.

  6. I enjoyed this, but the last line stumped me. How does one's face feel like a color? Other than that, it was great!

  7. I'm with a couple others on the face feeling green. I don't think it really works. I really enjoyed your description of the marina and the fear she's feeling in this passage. Obviously the MC hates the idea of where she's moving to, and that comes across well. Good job!

  8. I stumbled over the phrase “If God had intended humans to live on water...” In context, I assume you omitted the article “the” before the word “water” and that your intended meaning is “for humans to live next to bodies of water”. The natural meaning of this phrase as written, however, is “for humans to derive sustenance from”, which of course we do. This, of course, is my take in the context of a quick read of the blog except, but hopefully this is a helpful observation.

  9. i'm digging this opening and get a good feel for the MC.

    i'd be interested to see how the paranormal fits in...

  10. I love the first line, and your second. Bonus points for pets, extra bonus for pet = cat.

    Everything flows and feels like a natural set up like in many commercial fiction books I've read. I got tripped up a few times, just a few minor suggestions: you don't need to say seat twice, you can say "I had the carrier set-belted in the back for safety" and it works. The line "My whole life was in my car" is great, maybe you could find a stronger verb than was to bring in more impact.

    I would move this line into the next paragraph:
    "The waves pushed up against the dock, making the ramp sway to and fro." You can combine elements of these 3 sentences for a more streamlined description: "Then remove: "I stood there and swayed with the ramp, hypnotized by the motion. My stomach swayed, too, and my face started to feel a little green."

    Nice job!

  11. I loved this--fun, engaging voice and a delicious tough spot for the main character right out of the gate.

    There are several spots of repeated words that I think miss out on the intended impact: "my life" (3 times), then the last two paragraphs there's "big, wide, and deep", "ramp down...steep and worn", "long way down" and "long, steep, scary way", and then the swaying. Using the repetition more sparingly would give it bigger impact.

    That said, I absolutely want to read more.

  12. I liked this a lot. The voice is excellent, shows us strong characterization and a touch of humor. We can relate to this character and the new life she is beginning. I would definitely want to read more.

  13. I remember this from the first line grabber we had, although I didn't expect the rest to be like this. Being displaced is always a good way to get a character off to a fun start, although I doubt your MC agrees. I can relate to her already and I'd read on. I was jarred a little about the description of the house though. I assume you meant houseboat?

  14. There are a lot of excellent comments already listed about this one. I thought the opening was fun and was delightful insight into the character. There are some sentences that could be tightened and a few awkward phrases, but I think they have been mentioned. I thought there was a bit much about the placement of the cat carrier, but maybe that's just me.

    Nice start.