Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January Secret Agent #9

TITLE: Purple Shadows
GENRE: NA Suspense

A flash of white slid under her door, sweeping across the dorm room tile before settling near her desk. Megyn wrapped the towel around her dripping hair and froze.

A note.

She closed her bathrobe even tighter before picking up the folded paper. A drop of water from her hair fell onto the initials written on the front, feathering the black ink. The cardstock was crisp with a linen finish, hardly the type of stationary college students used. Besides, anyone she knew would have sent her a text.

Unfolding it, she read the handwritten lines.


Be careful. Watch your back.

-a friend

Goose bumps prickled her skin. She raced to the peephole but no one was there. She cracked the door. Footsteps echoed down the concrete stairwell.

            “Hold on! Who are you?” The rush of the updraft as someone left the dorm was her answer. Three flights below, the metal door slammed. If she hadn’t been barefoot, she would’ve run downstairs.

Hurrying back into her room, she yanked the curtains aside. Growing puddles from the thunderstorm converged on the worn brick walkways below, otherwise the quad was empty. As empty as her dorm. As empty as the university. After locking the deadbolt, she leaned against the door.

She held the note by the edges, careful not to smudge the ink, and reread it.


           This was exactly the kind of prank Kent would pull.


  1. I like your desciptions--they help paint the picture.

    I'm not sure if this works as a first page. We don't know the protagonist, and have no connection to her. All the reader knows is she must've just taken a shower and she's in college. I think we need a little more backstory first, to invest in Megyn so that the mysterious note has more impact to the impending danger that must be lurking.

    Good luck! :)

  2. I agree with K.T. I really like the descriptions and writing - no suggestions there. But I feel like you need a scene before this one, so we can get to know your MC. Best of luck!

  3. I really enjoyed this, too, and agree that this is a great area of your story, but maybe not best for the opening. It doesn't give much into the MC: I have very little idea of who she is, but would like to read more. Maybe just some editing here and there would do the trick. Good luck!

  4. I like how, right off the bat, there is a suggestion of suspense. However, if a note made Megyn freeze, maybe give us a hint why a note is so foreboding. My quick reaction was that she was holed up somewhere in hiding, then I remembered it was a dorm room. Some little things can be omitted to tighten it such as showing us (beautifully by the way) initials outside then using M.Q. inside the note. Maybe one or the other or combine them, assuming both are her initials. A mysterious note, a runaway messenger, skin prickling. Ooooo, nice! I got deflated to soon though, with her assumption that it is perhaps from someone she knew, but unlike the rest of her friends, someone who had access to fine, cardstock paper. Great start and first page though, in my humble opinion. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  5. Saying "a folded piece of paper" might be more intriguing than "a flash of white." No need to be mysterious. Just tell us what she sees. Readers are very interested in anonymous notes and less interested in figuring out what you mean by 'flash of white."

    "Feathering the black ink." Nice detail.

    Good luck with this. I'd be interested to read more!

  6. The opening paragraph is great, but builds up enough for more than me to expect a mere note. My view is that we'd quickly need enough to understand the gravity of what's transpiring to nail down why the initial response was one of such fear. Best of luck.

  7. You’ve incorporated suspense from the first page, which is great. Receiving a note, particularly when quite vulnerable, makes us worry for her. I’m not sure that I believe she would have run downstairs if only she hadn’t been barefoot—so she’d have been okay running down there in a bathrobe so long as she had shoes? I think perhaps lack of shoes AND clothes held her back (or would me!). I was a bit disappointed with the last line though, because it felt like this whole first page was just building false tension.