Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September Secret Agent #17

TITLE: Currently Untitled
GENRE: Urban Fantasy

If you’d asked her even two weeks ago to make a list of ‘places to start your life over’, Bryony would not have put Scotland in the top ten. And yet, her she was, coming off a plane in Glasgow airport at some horrendously early time in the morning, four thousand miles from home. She wouldn’t change the past if she could, but it was hard to remember that as she hauled her bags into the arrivals hall and prayed she’d find someone waiting for her. Even in an airport that was tiny compared to JFK, it was a little overwhelming to a girl who’d never left the US before. She scanned the row of people holding up placards, then common sense caught up with her and she looked for the smell of shifter instead. There it was - the scent of cat something familiar, at least. She walked over to the woman, tall and slim and dressed to blend in. Bryony didn’t know for certain, but she’d be willing to bet this woman worked in the security side of the pack.

As she approached, the redhead met her eyes.

“You must be Bryony.” It was said with a smile, but Bryony had faked enough of her own to see the lie.

“That’s me.”

Eyes flicked over her, and she was forced not to fidget under the power emanating from this woman.

“I must say, considering all the fuss and arguments you’ve caused, I was expecting someone a little bigger.”


  1. I really enjoyed this. I'd read on.

    I think the only tiny thing that threw me was "left the US before". From the way she was talking I thought she maybe never left her hometown before. Saying the US makes it sound like she has traveled through the states.

  2. A couple nitpicky grammar things:

    ‘places to start your life over’, -- periods and commas always go inside quotation marks

    her she was -- HERE she was

    the scent of cat something familiar, at least -- need some punctuation after 'cat'

  3. This seems like a good start - a little backstory and jump on in. I'm really interested to see where this goes. Is she a shifter? Or just coming to work for them? What's the fuss she caused?

    Good start.

  4. I find your intro very readable and the vulnerability of your protag relatable without pushing the border into pathetic town. Many young protags come off as whiny and griping (at least to me), so I like the lack of self-pity in Bryony's tone when she says she wouldn't change the past.

    Maybe it was just me, but I was thrown off by the whole shifter/cat thing. Is this the magic coming into play? Is a shifter a person who can transform into animals? If so, consider "she searched for the telltale smell of a Shifter," adding 'a' to clarify that you're talking about a person. Also, I'd suggest capitalizing 'shifter' to show that it's part of your world/magic.

    Good luck!

  5. Feels a bit unpolished, though WNK hit them.

    I am interested in what's going to happen, what sort of pack is there, but the first paragraph is ungainly. Might try breaking it up a little bit. Remember, white space is your friend!

  6. I liked this too. I agree with the comments above about punctuation and grammar. I also think you need to breakup the first paragraph. Consider starting a new paragraph beginning with the line, 'She scanned...'

    With a bit of a cleanup, I'd be hooked.

  7. Maybe it's not fair to nitpick on character names, I usually let it slide, but Bryony is really a mouthful. I looked it up and see it's derived from a flower; Will she have a nickname? It might work to have the "she" whoever that is later at the airport, say the line with her name, and then she says "that's me, I go by..." OR show some internal dialogue on her name. It's a weird one, I think it's worth noting in the story; her mom named her after a flower or ...something. OK, my two cents only.

    I agree, the first paragraph would benefit from chopping up a bit. A good break would be after "four thousand miles from home." After that I kind of glazed over; what's essential to share at this point? Maybe cut out the changing the past part and move on to her scanning the placards, looking for familiar settings. We can then sense she is uncomfortable vs. being told it's overwhelming and she'd never left the US. The cat thing also threw me, but UF genre, I can roll with it :)

    Lastly, does Byrony know this woman? It might help for her to share her name in here to get more a sense of the scene. Good luck with this :)

  8. I normally would try not to comment when people are giving feedback, and I doubt you will come back and see this, Stephsco, but in case anyone else feels the same: Bryony is a perfectly common name where I live. She's not named for a flower, it's just a name.

    ~Author of #17

  9. This sounds like a lively adventure. The only thing that zapped me like an electric shock was "looking" for a "smell." I get it, but maybe you could get aroudn that by saying something as simple as, "and she inhaled the scents around her instead."

    Good luck. I'd like to read more!

  10. I agree that you could break up the first parg, but rather than dividing what you have into smaller pargs, I'd suggest showing her coming off the plane, picking up her baggage, searching for whoever will pick her up etc. As is, the whole thing is told, and while it works, the showing would make it stronger and more immediate, and less top heavy.


  11. These opening paragraphs deftly handle worldbuilding details – the note about Bryony looking for a shifter instead of at the placards is really well-done. I would read more.