Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September Secret Agent #34

GENRE: MG Gothic Fantasy

Inside the police car, Aggie could feel electricity building in the air. Fine strands of her hair rose towards the sky as if they could pull her into the moonless storm. As they turned into the driveway of the little yellow house on Old Possum Hill road, a lightning bolt cracked through the thick clouds and struck the open field behind the house. She jumped.

“Come on, kid. Let’s get you inside.” The cop said as Aggie climbed out of the car. He put one hand on her shoulder, steering her towards the house.

It hit her. This is for real. I’m going to meet my Grandmother. Not just meet her, live with her.

Aggie let out her breath with a whoosh. There was nothing to be nervous about. The old lady wasn’t going to bite—most likely. Why Social Services thought she needed a police escort to begin with was a mystery. She might only be twelve, but they knew full well she’d been living by herself in the city for weeks.

I’m pretty sure I can handle my own Grandma’s doorstep in the middle of east bumble, North Carolina, thank you very much.

Not that her heart listened to simple logic. Her pulse was thumping fast. If anyone bothered to look they would see it jumping under her skin. She lifted one hand to cover her neck.
So what if I’ve never met my Grandma? How hard can it be?

A jagged flash burst out of the clouds, so bright it hurt her eyes.


  1. Intriguing start and I think I already like Grandmother even though we've not met her yet. Also some lovely imagery in this.

  2. You pull us right in with Aggie's voice and the tension leading up to her meeting her Grandmother for the first time. Nice work! Great start. :)

  3. Lots of intrigue in this opening page with the promise of more sinister things to come! I would definitely keep reading. It needs technical clean up such as the period after the cop speaks where the attribution is given its own sentence rather than "dialogue," the cop said as... I think it would be stronger if you took a scan to eliminate 1-2 adjectives and replace one or two passive verbs. Rather than "Her pulse was thumping fast." Consider, "Her pulse thumped fast/er."

  4. Great opening scene. Tension keeps the reader going and information (age, situation, feelings) are touched on without slowing down the action.

  5. The setup is great--meeting her grandmother for the first time. The internal tension is well done, but the external tension created by the storm is a distraction. So, I'd like less storm and more of her thoughts and feelings about meeting her grandmother, and maybe even a hint as to why she's never met her before now.

  6. The atmosphere is so strong in this piece. Aggie's personality shines in the double-threat of meeting her unknown relative under forboding circumstances.

    Not sure about "moonless" storm because it made me trip while I was reading. How about an image of what the storm has instead of what it is missing?

    This passage made me think of the novel _Savvy_ because of the lightning and because of the sense that Aggie is about to come into her own.

  7. I like Aggie and her street-wise strength and independence. I'm betting she can hold her own against Grandma.

    I think the storm is okay, but the second lightning strike at the end did seem a bit too much.

  8. Good writing. I've read (I think) that the "Kid in a car moving to a new town/place" opening has become a bit of a cliche. Maybe secret agent can comment on that. That doesn't mean it can't still be done well.

  9. MG Gothic Fantasy > nice! I definitely see those elements here.

    This read to me like it needs a first line added, or else to either back up or fast forward where this begins. I feel like I missed something when I see "Inside the police car," Which police car? It feels like a continuation of a previous thought.

    I agree, the driving to a new place, kid in a new town is cliche. It doesn't mean you can't start your story here, but push to be as fresh as possible. Maybe they are already at the door and out of the car, or already inside having cookies and tea awkwardly with grandma and cop--whatever.

  10. I really like how seamlessly you get a lot of information into a brief opening scene. We've got the contrast between the rural scene and her city upbringing, the strangeness of being taken to your new home by a cop, while at the same time he's familiar compared to her grandmother...lots of good stuff here, and the promise of magic due to the eerie-ness of the scene.

    I think "Getting Rid of Lucky" is fine as a straight-up fantasy title, but it lacks a Gothic or Southern Gothic vibe, you know? Just a thought.

  11. I like the title. I like the storm. I like the electricity and tension building. It could use some tightening up on the sentence level in a few places, and in a couple of places it was a little info-dumpy. I didn't mind the kid-moving-to-a-new-place trope. That's purely a matter of taste. This is well done.

  12. I remember this entry, and I see you've tweaked the beginning. I think it's better now. I have a clearer picture of where everyone is so I'm more grounded in the action.

    You've done a good job setting an ominous tone that suits the Gothic genre.

    I'm torn a little because nothing actually happens on the page except Aggie getting out of the car. It's mostly her thinking about the situation. But at the same time, I didn't notice that until after I finished reading, so maybe it isn't a problem at all.

    Well done and good luck.

  13. I like your first line, and I also think your voice is fantastic. Although a previous commenter mentioned that nothing happens here, I have to disagree (subjective business ehh?). I think the inner monologue and the setting is perfect for the genre you're writing in and only helps to increase the tension. I wish I had something constructive to give you but I don't because I'd read on with hesitation.

    Good job!