Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September Secret Agent #41

Genre: YA Fantasy

I peek from behind the tattered velvet curtains at the chattering audience, their mouths full of candied pineapple and kettle corn, their pale faces flushed from anticipation and the heat. They look as gullible as dandelions, same as the visitors in the past five cities. The Gomorrah Festival hasn’t been permitted to travel this far north in the Up-Mountains in over six years, and these people look like they’re attending the opera or theatre rather than our traveling carnival of debauchery.

The women wear frilly dresses in burnt golds and oranges, buckled to the point of suffocation, billowing out into the seats of those beside them with their many tiers of tafetta. They sigh and wave their paper fans to combat the nighttime August heat, some with children bouncing on their laps. The men have shoulder pads to seem broader, stilted loafers to seem taller, and painted silver pocket watches to seem richer.

If buckles, stilts, and paint are enough to hoodwink them, then they won’t notice that the eight "freaks" of my freak show are, in fact, only one.

Tonight’s target, Count Pomp-di-pomp, smokes an expensive pipe in the second row, leftover saffron honey from the pastry he had earlier gleaming on his mustache. He’s sitting too close to the front, which won’t make it easy for Iosef to steal the Count’s ring. But that’s where I come in.


  1. I found this to be really intriguing! That third paragraph definitely hooked me. I'm interested to know more about this freak show and how the MC runs it and why.

    You have fantastic descriptions here. My only caution is that maybe it's too many? The first two paragraphs I felt almost a little bogged down, because there was a lot of setting the scene but not a ton of voice worked in. I think it would help the pace move a little faster at first and get your reader to that hook of a third paragraph if you tightened up the first two paragraphs a bit.

    Loved the 'gullible as dandelions' line by the way. Overall, I thought this was fantastic. You set up some great intrigue and now I have questions...would definitely keep reading!

  2. This grabs me with lively descriptions and the promise of a good show! I especially love "traveling carnival of debauchery." You may not need "billowing out into the seats of those beside them with their many tiers of tafetta" since "buckled to the point of suffocation" would be a powerful punch ending for that sentence.

    Heat is already mentioned in the first paragraph, so maybe change " the nighttime August heat" in the second paragraph to just "the August night."

    Maybe change "The men have shoulder.." to "The men wear..."

    Great job!

  3. Hello!

    You have an incredibly ability to set the scene. I could really picture this, which immediately drew me in. I'm intrigued by how the eight freaks 'are, in fact, one' and would look forward to finding the answer to that.

    I do think that the description is a little thick -- this isn't a problem at the moment, but I would want to pick up into more action fairly quickly or else the pace might be too slow for me.

    I also like the character detail in the description of the mark as 'Count Pomp-di-Pomp'.

    Lovely. Great work and good luck!

  4. Although beautiful, some of the descriptors of the audience could definitely be condensed so we could get to the character's story a little faster. Consider which ones express what you need the most and cut the others. Still a fantastic start, and such an easy thing to fix.

  5. I loved it. Your fresh voice shines through the description. You hooked me and I want to read the whole book. The concept is good and you've done an excellent job setting it up. The cliffhanger ending sealed it for me. A story that promises a unique MC, conflict, suspense and crime. What's not to love.

  6. Thank you, everyone, so much for these kind words and suggestions! I've slightly condensed the description so that I can add at least another sentence to these 250 words, giving more information on the narrator and the plot.

  7. Please tell me the protag's name is SORINA GOMORRAH. That's awesome. I gather that the Count's name is her in-joke version of his name, but this early it's hard to know, so something to consider in terms of wording to make it clear.

  8. Nicely written. Lots of great imagery. I was hooked on the last paragraph. You stopped the description and got to the point. Is losef a name? (and should be Losef?) I would read more.

  9. With a title of Sorina Gommorrah, I’m assuming this is a play off Sodom and Gomorrah? If so, massive win there.

    I really am liking the feel of this one. I see that you’ve condensed the audience descriptions a bit from one of your comments and that’s a wise choice. You have a great voice and I don’t want to see it bogged down by getting so involved with the audience. Set the scene and the stage, let us see the kind of people who are attending this and then launch into the next thing. A bit of repetition with the heat, though that may already be taken care of when you condensed the first couple of paragraphs.

    I want to know how they hoodwink and how the eight freaks are really one. This sounds great… traveling carnivals are awesome and I’d love to see more of them. I’d keep reading!

  10. I liked this. I liked the Gomorrah Festival of debauchery, the candied pineapples, the descriptions of the audience, but I’d suggest cutting the last two pargs. You’re telling us what will happen before it happens. Let us learn she’s actually all eight freaks when we see her on stage and quickchanging back stage. Let us know the count is being robbed when it actually happens. After parg two, get on with the show.