Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September Secret Agent #36

TITLE: Haunted Ever After
GENRE: Paranormal Cozy Mystery

I craned my neck to look up into the giant's face. “I'm tired of this. I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna sell.”

The giant had no counter-argument. Neither did the beanstalk nor Jack himself.

I sighed. It was way past time to go home, and the late September sun was already setting in a picturesque manner behind Rapunzel's Castle, with brilliant reds and oranges blazing across the sky. If I'd been in a better mood, I might have stayed to enjoy the show.

On the drive home, I reviewed my circumstances. My fairytale park was ten thousand dollars in the red. If I didn't turn things around, I'd have to file for bankruptcy. The answer seemed clear. I should accept the offer and sell StoryWorld to the ThrillsLand conglomerate. Then I could go home, lock my door, and never come out. An idea had never seemed so appealing. Unfortunately, the repercussions wouldn't be nearly so pleasant.

I wished I were on my way to Freddy's Diner, where Jamie and I had often met for dinner after work. I could spill out my troubles and feel the safety of his reassurances. We'd splurge and order a huge dessert to share. I still couldn't believe we would never do that again.

The crying came easily, the grief as familiar to me as the park I would soon sell. I finally had to pull over when I couldn't see through my tears.

I at last arrived home, too tired to even eat.


  1. I love the first line - it really captures my attention. The dialogue is sparse but important, conveying the MC's mood. I love that the beanstalk does not counter-argue, making me think it might if it had something critical to say. All the little details paint a picture of this world, conveying the mood as well as the setting. The conflict is clear and present, the stakes stated; a familiar world with a new twist. I would absolutely keep reading.

  2. Okay, other than the 'picturesque manner' phrase - which needs to be changed to something that shows why it's picturesque, this is a great beginning. You pulled me in and intrigued me enough to encourage me to read more.

  3. I literally thought I was about to read a mash-up of fairy tales and then I find out its a fairy tale park? LOVED IT! I really want to read more. I'm interested in what happened to Jamie.

  4. This is good. Really good. I can't even come up with a nitpick and I'm the nitpicky sort. Well done!

  5. Ha, this is awesome. What a beginning!

    I think "I reviewed my circumstances" sounds a bit like: "Hello, reader, I'm starting in media res, so here's my situation, just so you can catch up."

    Maybe if you just launched into: "My fairytale park was..." and then "On my way home, I wished I were going to Freddy's..." or something of that nature.

    Either way, I would definitely read more.

  6. What a cute opening! I really liked this. Admittedly, I had to read it a second time because somehow I missed that it was a fairy tale park, but I don't believe that to be a fault with your writing.

  7. I really liked your opening! I agree with one of the previous posters, that the "reviewed my circumstances" line feels unnecessary, especially since this is written in first person.

  8. Great opening. It intrigued me so much I missed all the nit picky stuff other found!

    I like that I'm twisted and turned not knowing what is really going on but given lots of info for my mind to play with!

    And I too love that the beanstalk had nothing to say.

    There is so much going on in that first bit but is flows easily.

  9. I was initially thrown off by the beginning with all the name dropping. Once the drive home began, I started to build into it, started to like the promise of the beginning.

    I even liked the Freddy's Diner intro with Jamie.

    Then I hit the "I still couldn't believe" sentence and it lost me again. That sentence just leaves so much out while hitting us over the head right after with the crying that still explains nothing.

    Not sure how to clear it up, but right now it seems cliche, though, as I said, I did like the intro of Jamie, whereas most times a new name and relationship drop makes me roll my eyes.

  10. I started reading this yesterday and the first line didn't work for me, i read it a few times and quit (sorry!). But I'm so glad I came back and read the rest because I love it! Something about that craning neck up with no context does not work for me at all, though I do get it more after reading the whole first page. Maybe starting with the dialogue would work better; other people liked the line, it could be me.

  11. I liked this, but there's something about the opening. When I first read it, I had no idea what was going on, and because there was no context (was I in a fairy tale?)it wasn't all that appealing.

    It's not until parg 4 that I realized what's happening, and at that point, I appreciated the opening, but does it come too late? I don't know, but you may want to give more thought to it.

    I agree with cutting the - On the drive home-- sentence.

    I would have liked a hint as to why the park was in the red, but it's something I could wait a bit longer for.

    I'd read more.

  12. I liked this. In fact, the only line that didn't work for me was the "I at last arrived home, too tired to even eat." Just switching the "arrived home" and "at last" would greatly improve it.

    Would read more.

  13. I love the tone of this story. More things intrigued than confused me. The last line does not hook me, but the previous elements of the story did, so I would read on.

  14. I had to read the first sentence about talking to the beanstalk and Jack twice. I liked the premise and felt I understood your character.
    That she's only in the "red" ten grand seems like a pittance, I'd make the amount larger, or maybe ten grand for the month. Although that amount of money may be a lot in your world, where it's not in ours.
    I didn't like the last line, but I would definitely read on.


  15. This opening has great energy to it, and is both amusing and emotional. I would like to know a little more about why this character  has been reluctant to sell the park up till this point and why conceding defeat feels so difficult for her.