Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March Secret Agent #1

TITLE: Daughter of Pele
GENRE: Adult - Mystery

Sweat trickled down Alexandra Drake's chest. Tropical air thick with the promise of rain tasted of the ocean blocks away. Hell, she hated waiting. Three years on Honolulu PD's Narcotics/Vice squad had exercised her modicum of patience, but that trait hadn't improved.

She rested a hip against an unmarked steel barrel behind the warehouse and prayed they'd finish this raid before boredom killed her. The vibrant tempest inside her skull assured her she wasn't the only one ready for things to get moving. Nothing like waiting until some judge could be bothered on a Sunday to sign a search warrant.

For three months the team had hunted the "genius" who was spiking the local coke with crank. They’d followed the trail of dead addicts, and when Panner's confidential informant finally gave up the location of Tosi's supplier, they landed at this storehouse on the edge of the harbor city of Wai'anae. Despite being a workshop for the ugly business of street drugs, there were no cameras, no guards here; the denizens didn't seem concerned about people sneaking up on them. Good for the cops. Bad for the crooks.

Her teammate, Officer Milo Nguyen, wiped his brow on his sleeve, and then checked his watch. "Any time would be good."

Alex glanced at the looming clouds above. Hawai'i's lush mountains were known for flash floods, and this location wasn't immune judging by the spidery channels cut into the foothills fifty feet away. "They wait any longer, we might end up swimming."


  1. Sorry, but I'm not hooked here. Maybe you're starting a little too early in the scene. If the MC is bored...the reader is also bored. There is too much setting and backstory and no action. You give an idea of what the conflict is, but it's not on the page. Maybe enter the scene later when the actual conflict starts? Hope this helps. Good luck.

  2. I agree. She sounds like a character I may want to follow, but this intro is overwritten. Perhaps you can rework with the a lighter hand. Good luck.

  3. I like the character and setting and am intrigued by the situation, but . . .
    look at the second sentence in the second paragraph. It's snappy but it doesn't seem to fit. {To me, "vibrant tempest inside her skull" doesn't equal boredom.}

    Just play with it and up the tension.

    Maggie May

  4. I'm intrigued by the character. I see what the previous comments are getting at, with "waiting" as a bad intro. Why not change it from boredom to tension? Have her really champing at the bit to get in there. I think with a few minor tweaks, and even just deleting the word boredom would make a huge improvement. The character and situation are interesting, but there's just not enough momentum or tension right off the bat. You got this!

  5. It's clear from this opening that you've got writing chops. I'm getting a good sense of your voice, and you've infused a lot of atmosphere and tone into the setting.

    That said, I agree with other commenters that this is overwritten. I don't automatically think that starting with the wait before a raid is a bad call (though this is a common opener), but I do think you've bogged this down so the wait seems to drag. You can cut out a few descriptors to quicken up the pace.

    I also agree with your first commenter: In your opening paragraphs, if your MC is bored, so is the reader. I understand the impulse to convey your main character's emotions--and you're definitely very good at it, based on this sample--but in this case it doesn't make for a compelling opening.

    If you make this scene about the tension of the wait or push it up so they receive the go-ahead in the second paragraph or so, that will help things along.

    Thanks for participating!

  6. I think there's ample room to have being bored read interestingly. That said, I think gleaning more of the MC's attitude (which seems like it's leaning to the snarky, beleaguered, seen-it-all side of the fence) would give it exactly what it needs.

    I think what I'm suggesting is change your narrative POV. Or try it out and see what sticks. Currently, this looks like it's 3rd omniscient. I think a deeper/closer POV to the MC would add some serious barbs to your hook.

  7. Thank you all for your great suggestions! I've got some good ideas to improve this. Cheers!