Wednesday, May 16, 2018

May Secret Agent Contest #18

TITLE: The Burnt State
GENRE: Adult Fantasy

The Brothers weaved their way through the crowds pressing in on them, flowing through even the tightest of the festive shopping throngs.

           An observer would have sworn there was no way anyone could pass between the plump old lady, clutching her swollen bags, and the svelte, tall woman in the fur coat packed tightly against her, only to see first Mr Ralby and then Mr Digby emerge from between them.

            The Brothers wore long black overcoats, a staple in the chilly weather. Their staffs were cradled in the crook of their arms—Mr Ralby right and Mr Digby left-handed. Mr Ralby had a long aquiline nose, a full face, was fond of the good things in life as was evident in the modest straining of the overcoat in the middle, and even though one couldn't see it under the black bowler hat he was wearing, had straight black hair with just a few streaks of white. Mr Digby had long, wavy black hair flowing out at the back of his neck from under an identical bowler hat, a pale complexion on a tight, hard face—Mr Ralby appeared tanned in comparison—and he exuded perfection, the exact fit of his coat and the shine of his shoes scorning any who dared suggest otherwise, undoubtedly the elder and wiser of the two brothers.

            The Brothers left the crowds behind, plunging into the maze of streets in the suburban neighborhood with brisk determination. Half an hour of walking brought them to the doorsteps of 29 Levington.


  1. The writing is nice here, but I have several constructive comments: First, I'm not sure why Brothers is capitalized. I want to think it's on purpose, but I'm not sure of the reasoning behind this. Secondly, while the description is nice, there's a little too much of it. We don't need to know exactly what they look like, but we do need to know what's going on. I'm not really getting a feel for what's happening here. Lastly, we need more tension! Did they steal something? Are they on the run? Right now, it just sounds like they're in a crowded area and have arrived at someone's house. Give a hint of the problem here--give us a reason to read on!

  2. I'm going to give the other side of the argument for Brothers being capitalized haha - I think it's great. You make the Brothers seem other worldly and unusual by capitalizing it - like they are a specific unit with a specific goal - so I'd keep it :) One thing for me: the first sentence was a little confusing to read, I think it was "festive shopping throngs" that I had to reread. I think I'd make that beginning line two distinct sentences to portray your point better. I love your writing style and the way the Brothers have a hint of mystery to them - it makes me want to know what exactly they are planning to do at 29 Levington.

  3. I agree with the above comment about the capitalization of Brothers It makes them somehow appear not human. And not really brothers in the familial sense. I found my self skimming over the description of each brother, to get to the action of what the were doing and why they were in the middle of a crowded shopping area. Thank you!

  4. This is an omniscient viewpoint, and I didn't get a sense of which character will be the main character or the conflict he'll face in this story. I did skim the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs, which contained too many pg 1 details about how the Brothers look and move, and not enough information about their mission or their thoughts.

    Omniscient is a hard sell for me, and I find I rarely get sucked in to it.

    If this is a prologue, consider cutting it and weaving the information here more subtly through the narrative of the main character's pov.

    Thank you so much for sharing!