Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January Secret Agent #33

TITLE: Cathedral Park
GENRE: Young Adult Fiction Horror

I enter Cathedral Park from Edison Street, pull back my hoodie and let the mist frizz my hair. No one I care about will see it, anyway. Alone, at the top of a hill I watch the Willamette River churn beneath the St. Johns Bridge. It's another gloomy Sunday afternoon and the park is almost deserted, which suits me fine. I need to get out, and a damp, empty park is better than a damp, empty apartment.

The apartment is new, but smells like a storage unit. It’s filled with rented furniture and has the ambiance of a rehab facility. Not that I’ve ever been in one.

I don't mean to sound ungrateful. It’s the only place my mom could afford after the divorce, and I’m just glad we have a place to live. She had never worked before last month and to be honest, when we left Lake Oswego with a leased car and the smallest U-Haul it could drag, I thought there was a fair chance we were going to end up on the street.

Which is ironic, because just three months ago I was pretty pissed off because we spent Christmas at home instead of taking our usual family trip to Cabo. I'm not proud about that.

I wipe the rain off my face and take the sidewalk that runs down the middle of the park like a backbone.


  1. I really like where you're going with this story, but, if I could point out just one little thing that may be helpful, it's from the second paragraph. The character talks about the looks of the apartment, comparing it to a rehab facility, even though she's never been inside one. Personally, I'd recommend comparing to something the character would know first-hand, and not from a comparison of somewhere she only knows from imagination. Just my opinion, though :-)

  2. You don't need to say Young Adult Fiction Horror for your genre. Just YA Horror is enough. I like the set up but agree with above comment about the rehab facility. Your visual imagery is great, I can see the apartment right away. I'd think about adding in a first line to hook the reader that this is horror right away because otherwise this seems like a YA contemporary. Good luck!

  3. I agree, good voice here. I might break up back story by adding in more action between paras.

  4. I think voice and rhythm is what is most important here and the author nails it. I don't see an issue with the metaphor of a rehab facility because we all know what that means from, well, personal experience or movies and TV: drab, plain, mundane.
    I'd read more.

  5. Oh, I love this. I used to live in Eugene OR and miss that damp valley by the river. The voice, the tone, the place, I love it all. Well done and good luck.

  6. I really like the atmosphere and specificity of the location, so I especially enjoyed the first two paragraphs. I think paragraphs 3 and 4 feel a bit like telling backstory to me, and I wonder if that could be sprinkled in later during some action or dialogue maybe? You have a good voice also. Best of luck with this!

  7. For horror, I think the creepy “grab us” factor could be amped up here. You have a good foundation with a Cathedral, mist, and describing the sidewalk like a backbone. It feels a bit like you’re trying to tell us too much on the first page about the MC’s mom, the divorce, the apartment, moving, last Christmas—I’m not sure we quite need that much so soon to get a sense of what’s going on.