Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Secret Agent #26

TITLE: The Peacemaker's War

T-minus 100 (days remaining in the treaty)

The Peacemaker dreamt in color, as all Peacemakers do, but there was one shade that outweighed the others, overshadowing anything good. The Peacemaker’s dreams were filled with blood. It dripped, it pooled, and it flowed into Axum’s lakes, so much so, the soil was drenched with it.

The Peacemaker approached her father’s desk, “Commander, I have a dream to report.”

The Commander looked up, dropping his papers in turn. “Don’t call me that. Not here.” He gestured to the walls of their home, littered with family photos of yesteryear.

“But it’s your role father. We each have a part to play, and you’re the only one who knows mine—so you have to listen to all my dreams.”

He ignored the comment, making his way across the room to where his alcoholic spirits took up residence. More and more, he’d found himself over at the little cart.

“Don’t you want to hear it?” The girl closed the distance between them. “My dream?”

“Not yet.” The Commander poured a measure of gold liquid in his glass and took a swig. He swallowed hard and gave a heavy sigh. “Okay,” he turned to face her, “go ahead.”

“You die.” The girl held still, her mouth unmoved, but as she spoke, her shoulders trembled, “Again. And again. And again.”

The Commander saw the conflict in her wavering posture and reached out to comfort her.


  1. On one hand I'm intrigued by the bloody dreams that the Peacemaker can only share with the Commander and that he, her father, is the only one that knows that she is Peacemaker. But on the other hand, I'm a little put off by the stiffness of the use of third person and the telling in the dialogue. I don't get any sense of emotion until her shoulders tremble. I would like to see a close third person in the Peacemaker's perspective. Show that she's dreading having to tell her father that she saw his death. Don't tell me what the father is thinking or seeing or feeling unless it's filtered through her eyes. What is she thinking about this man and his need for a drink before he can bear to hear it? Does she think it is because he's heard so many awful dreams before? Or because he doesn't want to think about running the country while he's at home in his study? Or is there tension in their relationship that I can't see? Even if you want to keep an omniscient point of view, within each scene you should stick to the perspective of one character. After the Peacemaker leaves the room, you could stay with the Commander and give his perspective but doing both in one scene is called head jumping and it's a little jarring to the reader. I think with this premise if you plug in more emotion this scene would be amazing. Good luck!

  2. Solid intro, but that first paragraph has a lot of repetition-- Peacemaker, "it", etc. Also that "so much so" is incorrectly punctuated and feels out of place.

    That "her mouth unmoved" doesn't go down right. If she is speaking, her mouth has to move, right? Perhaps some other way of saying she's trying not to show her true emotions.

  3. I’m going to piggyback off of Stephanie here…in YA, a close third POV is a much better spin. Readers want to feel like they are a part of the story. Definitely show, don’t tell.

    I instantly felt like I was in a prologue with this piece and the way it’s written, I’d be curious if these characters are the main characters. If so, as the reader I want to meet them. Get to know them. Care about them. That way, when her shoulder tremble…I want to cry too. The way this is written, it’s difficult for me to feel emotional about what’s happening in the story because it’s hard to imagine. There’s not much description. I can’t see where they are, what they look like, what they’re doing, how they came to become these titles—so I can’t feel their pain. Help the reader feel their pain.

    The dynamic of a father-daughter relationship, reliving the death this way, why they’re forced to speak to each other so formally, is an awesome opening, once you delve into it a little bit deeper.

  4. The concept intrigues me. i want to know how peacemakers and their dreams work right off the bat. It's unique and it is a good way to introduce it. That said the PoV shifts are kind of hard to track. Third Person Omnipresent is a hard trick to pull off and I know you probably don't want to hear this, having written the book in that, but go back and explore how to get the narrator focus on the describing scenes instead of lingering with character perspective. Good luck!

  5. I agree that this feels like a prologue, and I liked it. I thought the stiff, impersonal tone reflected a distance between these characters. I would use the girl's name instead of Peacemaker after the first parg. It'll help created more emotion between these two who should be close but are behaving so distant to one another.

    If this isn't a prologue, then I do think telling this from the girl's pov only, (close third) and giving it more depth would work better.

    I'd read more.

  6. I like how the style and words mimic the scene itself--reserved, formal, etc. The first paragraph got a little confusing in there for me. I think it's this part "but there was one shade that outweighed the others." I'm not sure what you're taking about. I don't think of red as a shade. It's a primary color; maroon or burgundy would be a shade of red. So, this took me a moment to circle around to what was meant.

    Adding that I liked the repetition of "it" in "It dripped, it pooled, and it flowed". For me, it served it's purpose.

  7. I definitely like the first line here but I'm concerned that everything here is a bit too vague. I like the concept, but more detail about who the Peacemaker is - what she looks like, what her name is. I wonder if this would come across better if it was written in first-person: "I dream in color as all Peacemakers do."

    Also, lines like "where his alcoholic spirits took up
    residence" is a bit over-written. It would be better to say: "to his alcohol cart"

    I do like the line: "You die," ... "Again. And again. And again." - I think it might be even more powerful coming to us in first person.

    All in all, I'd read on because I'm curious, but consider re-writing to make it stronger.

    Thanks for entering!

  8. I love 99% of this, and I very much want to keep reading. The only place I stumbled was in the opening paragraph a "color" outweighs the others, but then it says blood. For me, I'm missing a color name like crimson and then explain that it's blood. I loved the blood descriptions as well. I'm just missing that color name.

  9. I love 99% of this, and I very much want to keep reading. The only place I stumbled was in the opening paragraph a "color" outweighs the others, but then it says blood. For me, I'm missing a color name like crimson and then explain that it's blood. I loved the blood descriptions as well. I'm just missing that color name.