Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March Secret Agent #19

TITLE: Always Gray in Winter
GENRE: Adult - Urban Fantasy

My spirit is shaken to its very depths.  But you, long?

Mawro stared at the on-screen melee playing over and over before him.  The speed and precision with which the two combatants fought surpassed even the human race's best martial artists and white arms experts.  He stroked the long whiskers on his chin, scrutinizing their every move, his stomach uneasy while he winnowed down the list of possible explanations for this spectacle.  With a sigh he leaned back in his rickety roller chair and laid his boots heel to toe atop his console.  The probable ones no longer seemed so farfetched.

He followed his operative's movements across the screen.  The young woman executed one technique after another, keeping her monolid eyes on her target while her bobbed hair flew across her face.  With neither misstep nor hesitation Hana landed every strike exactly where he expected, just as he had taught her.  Her hands moved with such speed their surveillance equipment could only display an orange-and-white blur.  Now and again the camera would capture a frame for a split second but would lose tracking right away.  The black stripes on her exposed forearms left artifacts behind, reminding Mawro of speed lines following Hong Kong Phooey from the Saturday morning cartoons of his childhood.

Hana's opponent captivated and chilled him at the same time.  In stark contrast to her silver gray facial fur, her uniform's digital camo pattern confirmed assertions by his Revolutionary Guard hosts--she was a US Navy sailor guarding Coalition supply lines through Iran into Afghanistan.


  1. Unfortunately there's not much going on here. We open with a someone watching a fight. Watching someone watch something isn't very fun. Try starting somewhere else. Let us know what's going on before dropping us into a fight.

  2. I agree with S.P. here. (Also I've not seen the word winnowed used that way, do you mean whittled, perhaps?

  3. I have to agree with the other commentators here. I'm not sure who the MC is: Hana or Mawro. There isn't much action, not directly in the scene we're starting in; it's all on TV. I think this isn't where the story starts. Depending on who is the MC, I think a starting point closer to the inciting incident would work better. More action for sure, and it needs to be in-scene, not on TV--that creates distance between the MC and the reader.

  4. I agree with the previous commenters. Given that you start with Mawro watching Hana on the TV, I assume that Mawro is your MC (if I'm wrong and it is Hana, then I would strongly suggest you begin from her perspective), but it's not compelling to have your MC sidelined from the action. I think you should reconsider whether this is the strongest place to open your manuscript.

    It's clear that you've got a lot of strength as a writer. This section is full of beautiful phrases and descriptions, but be careful that you don't overwrite. You give too many details in some places--if the reader is inundated with information, description, or flowery language in every sentence, reading becomes tiring. You have to mix in short sentences to break things up.

    Thank you for submitting your entry!