Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March Secret Agent #50

TITLE: Almost Like Magic
GENRE: Fantasy

Most people think the worst thing about a poltergeist is that it's evil. And usually trying to kill someone. To me, though, it's the screeching. That delighted, demented half-laugh, half-scream. Not that having something try to kill you is a treat, never mind trying to keep someone else alive while it's trying to kill you. Kill your best friend.

But that's what I do, what all trackers do: we save people. Koh and her team rush in, often uninvited, to take on any number of demons and evil spirits tormenting innocent people. Which is how I ended up in this family's house just outside Green River. She was trying to save them, and now I had to save her. Koh was just lucky I'd been on my way home from work, and literally minutes away. I couldn't always duck away from the family medical practice in Rock Springs to save lives in the field.

Glass shattered over my head, followed by a scream icier than the Wyoming winters I'd grown up in. Above the maniacal sounds and crashing glass, I heard the familiar chant of a Latin exorcism, tinged with a heavy Bostonian accent, something powerful enough to send this entity back to Hell. Shel – formerly Father Sheldon O'Reilly, and Koh's newest partner – came into view, his voice strong as he blessed each corner of the room with a smudge stick of protection herbs.

14 comments:

  1. I advise you to move your first paragraph down below, as it's kind of disjointed for an opener, and the rest of your 250 did a better job of reeling me in than the thoughts on Poltergeists. I think it'd make more sense to have it as the exorcism happens than right at the beginning. Or, you know, start with "Not having something try to kill you," and then give us the Poltergeist context after the exorcism.

    And exorcism: I thought that was pretty cool and what definitely drew me in. Good luck! :D

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  2. I think you do an awesome job with setting the tone, and you manage to cram in a lot of word-building in such a short space. I would suggest moving the third paragraph up. That way you'd get into the action faster, and then introduce the bit about the problems with a poltergeist. All in all though, this is a really strong opening. I'd read more!

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  3. I agree that moving the 3rd paragraph up would help me get into the action faster. I felt there was a lot of telling in the first couple paragraphs as opposed to seeing what was going on, I felt very removed from the story. I love your voice though!

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  4. I agree that moving the 3rd paragraph up would help me get into the action faster. I felt there was a lot of telling in the first couple paragraphs as opposed to seeing what was going on, I felt very removed from the story. I love your voice though!

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  5. I totally agree about moving that third paragraph up to get us into the story faster. But I mainly came here to say that the line about the Latin exorcism being done in a thick Boston accent made me LOL. Definitely put that up front because it would keep me reading for sure. What a great voice.

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  7. I'm wondering if your MC lost, or almost lost her best friend to a poltergeist. Why is the screeching and demented laugh the worst thing about a poltergeist for the MC? How does it affect her physically, mentally, and/or emotionally? I found the second paragraph confusing; who is Koh? Is she the best friend? Was saving her what made MC a tracker? Weave The family medical practice and what she does there later in the book -stay with the tracker/poltergeist info & action here. I'm with the others, that the last paragraph needs to be moved up or make the other paragraphs active instead of telling. I think you have a great concept and the voice sounds YA to me, which I hope it is. All the best!

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  9. I think you do an awesome job with setting the tone, and you manage to cram in a lot of word-building in such a short space. I would suggest moving the third paragraph up. That way you'd get into the action faster, and then introduce the bit about the problems with a poltergeist. All in all though, this is a really strong opening. I'd read more!

    (Sorry for the repeat comment. I couldn't sign in earlier!)

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  10. I'd suggest cutting pargs 1 and 2 entirely and starT with parg 3. Parg 3 is story. Pargs 1 and 2 are your MC chatting with the reader and explaining things. In first person, your MC can only talk to himself and other characters in the story. If you want to chat with the reader, write it as a memoir, or journal entries, or in third person from a narrator's POV.

    Also, never explain. If you want the reader to know something, get it in through action or dialogue.

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  11. This is a very fun and intriguing concept, but it would be stronger, in my mind, if you ramped up the action and cut back on the exposition. A lot of what you're telling the reader could be inferred as a scene unfolds. Trust your readers to put information together on their own. Something that I like here is that you've given your voice a nice level of personality. Combine that with action and characters interacting and I think you'll have something very compelling here!

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