Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March Secret Agent #42

GENRE: Sci-fi-Fantasy

Each morning, the deep plum shade of pre-dawn drowns the city of Hisoka Japan. Washing it in a sort of muted loneliness Satoru equates with long nights and quiet suffering, the ghosts of his grandfather’s last words rattling their literary chains. (Between darkness and light, shadow—eyes of the dragonfly.)

Satoru Nakahara has not slept. His mind will not allow it.

Drenched in five a.m. twilight, bare feet to the patio cement, he leans against the red brick wall of his upper-class condominium. The dark clouds are thick and oppressive, overwhelming the moon and stars. Streetlights illuminate the roads with an eerie artificial glow, a vision Satoru finds comforting especially during morning patrol. His gray bathrobe is moist with dew and open down to his chest, exposing a plain white undershirt. Hot coffee in hand, he covets the city’s silence staring hard into the bordering mountains.

Any minute now, he thinks, they will come. But for now, there is absolutely no sound. Not even from the leaves and buds of his large pink cheery tree trembling in the morning wind.

Raising the small black binoculars hung by a strap at his neck, Satoru grins as he peers through the lenses. “There you are,” he whispers, spotting the man-shaped black shadows watching him from the far hills.

Today, there are three: one large, one medium and one small. They are closer than they were yesterday, closer yesterday than the day before that. How long until they catch me, he wonders, raising his coffee cup to his lips.


  1. There are some really amazing elements in this. Your word choices are stunning, I particularly liked "the cherry tree trembling" which has a poetic feel to it.

    My only problem is that I'm very confused by the opening paragraphs. this work goes back and forth between lyrical showing and muted telling. I think it might be an issue of style, (it reminds me of old Japanese stories) but I wonder if the telling parts could be explained more or perhaps better through showing. It's just a thought.

    I love the way you have painted a picture with your words, but I felt lost in the first paragraph.

  2. I liked it! My only comment would be I think in places it is too descriptive and tell us bit shows us what is going on.

  3. I thought the opening, while nicely done, added nothing to the set up. I'd suggest cutting pargs 1 and 3. Beautiful writing, but it doesn't seem relevant to the situation. And without them, it leaves you room to get in how he reacts to these three shadows, which we don't see here. Or to include what he thinks about them. As is, he has no reaction to them, and because he has none, I , as a reader, have none. DOes he fear them? Is he looking forward to kicking their butts? WHat's the situation?

  4. The writing is beautiful but not enough is happening. The first paragraph, while describing the setting and giving the title of the book, isn't really needed. I'd start with the Drenched in five a.m. line and work the important tidbits in from there.

  5. I liked it very much. I would suggest taking a little of the description in para 3 and moving it around, so the setting is revealed as we settle into his POV. The writing is lovely and flows well.

  6. The writing is well done and flows beautifully but feels distant because of all the description. The last three paragraphs held my interest, but the first three didn't do much for me. I'd keep reading to see what is happening.

  7. I just wanted to say thank you for the lovely and constructive comments and for reading with new eyes; each necessary to put out a kick*** book! :)

    the thankful author

  8. This is very atmospheric. You certainly write beautiful prose.

    I'll admit that for me, the prose was a little too fanciful. I prefer the writing to get out of the way so I can get to know the stories and characters more. Very descriptive prose like this can make me feel distanced, and also can bring out the dark elements of a story when I'd rather see what's compelling and beautiful about the world.

    But you set up a nice conflict with the shadows at the end, and I'd keep reading a few pages to see where this was going.

  9. Ooh, I loved this! Sometimes I can't explain why I love a passage, I just do. This one was beautifully descriptive and I felt immediately drawn into this place as well as left with enough questions to want to continue reading to find out more. And you juxtaposed enough subtle hints about his character -- the grin, the taking a drink of coffee right when he's wondering when the shadows will get him -- that convey a wonderful calm, an unflappable sort of person. I definitely want MORE!

  10. "Any minute now, he thinks, they will come."

    That's where you hooked me. I love that line. Simple, but effective.

  11. I really enjoyed the descriptive passages at the beginning, but I think the piece really gets started when Satoru thinks to himself Any minute now, they will come. I think starting the passage with this line would hook the reader in immediately. We want to know who THEY are. You could then add in a bit of scenery, have the shadows turn up, and then put in more of your beautiful descriptions. As it is, I'm hooked by the end, love Satoru's devil-may-care attitude, and would read more. But with some rearranging, I think you'd benefit.
    I'm curious about whether this might be an excerpt from a book I saw pitched on another author's blog. If it is, then I'd definitely be interested in reading more, because that pitch sounded awesome.

  12. You guys are the bomb (said the author of this book); thank you! :) I am really starting to see how, although I do like my scene setting regarding descriptions, that the first few pages need to hook. Not just on the pretty words, but the story. Finding the perfect combo is key, and so thank you for helping me there.

    As for Mythology Mixologist, I did put a pitch on another website.
    This is it:

    Forced into Japan’s spirit-world, Satoru hunts the birdman who imprisons his love and steals the souls of reincarnated men.

    Again, thank you all so much!!! I think I am going to run with that as my first line (Any minute now, he thinks, they will come. )

  13. I was quite hooked by this, and I have to say it was the language that drew me in. A compelling voice carries this off and I think the descriptions work well to evoke emotions in the reader as they clearly convey the viewpoint character's mindset. I find too many stories I try to read lately fall flat as far as language goes; they're all about plot, which I hardly care about if I can't be drawn in by the characters and the world, as you've done here. Bravo! Watch the adjectives, though. A bit heavy handed on a few. Other than that, I'd enjoy reading more.