Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Secret Agent #2

TITLE: Bloodstone
GENRE: Adult Urban Fantasy

The cab turned down a narrow cobblestone street. Large trees with drapes of yellow leaves framed the road in a golden halo. Beautiful, yet my stomach twisted. Everything had happened too fast. I couldn't process what transpired. When I tried, I ended up staring out the window and counting lampposts. That wouldn't happen anymore. A heavy lump settled into the recesses of my stomach as soon as the car stopped.

After paying the fare, I stood on the sidewalk, luggage in hand, and watched the taxi make a u-turn, drive back down the street, and turn the corner. My hand tightened on the suitcase handle while I surveyed the homes on the street. Identical brownstones lined both sides. Each three stories high with skinny black shutters. Wrought iron rails led up sets of stairs to tall, wooden doors. A toy car sat on the steps across the street, a package leaned against a door, a rake stuck out of a pile of leaves the next building over. Signs of daily life and family were everywhere except on the brownstone in front of me. It not only looked different, it felt different, lonely, almost lost.

I double-checked the address before heading toward the stairs. My steps slowed the closer I came to the building. Had my mom played on the steps as a kid? Did she and her sister get along? Did they dress up and have tea and cookies or fight over dolls?


  1. Hi there! Thanks for sharing. A couple things:

    I think you write well, and you’ve firmly entrenched the reader in the setting. My only comment is you could probably cut “…the recesses of…” in the first paragraph and not lose anything.

    What else I noticed is that not much happens here. You have a tragedy that occurs off-camera, and when we’re on-camera, your MC is looking at stuff. The trees, the cab, the house, and then we’re at the end of the page. Can you back up to the tragedy? Or fast forward to what’s going on inside the house? I guess I’m saying is there might be a better place to start.

    I hope some of this helps. Good luck!

  2. Well written, nice descriptions, but you may want to get to something happening a lot sooner. This is your chance to hook the reader. So if you're going to offer some nice descriptions, make them count toward developing the character so we can get a sense of who this person is and why we should care. As is, the character is thinking about something that happened, and it appears to have affected him or her, but we don't know how or why so it's hard to care.

    You have an ordinary city street in what appears to be an ordinary neighborhood. There's nothing compelling here, just a lot of contemplative thinking.

    Maybe try linking the scene elements to the character's emotions. He or she is obviously on a trip, so how does what he or she see affect him emotionally? His impression is that it feels lonely or lost, but that's associated with a building, not the character.

    You have a lot of good stuff to work with here. Good luck!

  3. I don't agree with the first commenter. I liked being led into the story and I could see and feel the character as if I were there. And that, I enjoy. After the first paragraph, I wanted to keep reading to find out why the heavy lump was in the MC stomach.

    The only thing I didn't need, were the last three sentences. They are not bad, at all, but the last three sentences felt different than the rest. Almost like they were added in. But I may be way off.

    Either way, great read. I want to read MORE.

  4. I find the opening paragraph a little disorienting. Why wouldn't the mc be able to count lampposts again? Is there something special about them or will she not be able to do something mundane again? Without context it doesn't mean much. And if the mc can't process what just happened - neither can the reader. I'm with losing "recesses" too.

    The second sentence has a lot crammed into to it. Maybe simplifying the description would make it more powerful. The description says it's a beautiful scene - don't need to tell the reader.

    I like the last paragraph - we have some context.

    Getting started is tough, tough, tough. The story sounds intriguing - worth the work!

  5. Great title! :) Especially in relation to the brownstones. This has a dark, somber feel to it that I really like. I am confused by the "That wouldn't happen anymore," I don't know what you meant by it. But it's beautiful and has a good feel - like its leading up to something really interesting.

  6. The descriptions are well done. You definitely get a feel that something isn't right, a kind of foreboding. But at least for me, I agree with a previous post that something more needs to happen within the first couple of paragraphs that will help us connect with the character. At the first page, we have more connection to the brownstone than the mc. I'm sure that connection arrives in the following pages, but I would find it hard to keep reading if it was only description and feel in the first page. I don't think you have to do much, just a sentence or two with a hint of why the mc might be describing the location with such kind of sadness and fear or give us a clue as to why the mc is there.

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  8. I'm a big fan of urban fantasy in general, but I was missing a first line - a first action scene that would draw me into the narrative. I also felt like your first paragraph gave off mixed messages - on the one hand leaves frame the road in a golden halo - which is a pastoral image, but then we are told things are happening too fast. It should be one or the other. And then, by the third paragraph, I'm still not sure what is happening "so fast" or what's causing the lump in her stomach (I'm assuming it's a her? I'd also love to have some descriptions of the character by now - even just something small). I also found that the language here could use some work - try to work on your descriptions and metaphors. What I did like was your set up - I could really picture the brownstones you describe.

    I would keep reading to find out what happens next, there's something creepy in the tone and I'm intrigued.

    Thanks for entering!

  9. Thank you for taking the time to leave comments and thoughts. I listen to and consider everything. :)

  10. I enjoyed the descriptions. I thought they built the character up to be lonely, stressed, maybe even lost in the eeriness of it all. The only description that bothered me was the "the recesses of my stomach." Other than that, I liked it!