Wednesday, January 23, 2019

January Secret Agent #47

TITLE: The Veil: Whispers from Darkness
GENRE: Adult Historical Fiction

Michael Reid had more than just the underbrush to worry about.

   His breath hung in front of him in perfect white clouds, huffed out from aching lungs that begged for a break. Running had never been the sort of exercise that he sought on a daily basis instead relying on other extracurricular activities that involved a partner of the female persuasion.  The situation that he had found himself in for the last month was, to say the least, not where he had been expecting his life to go. He held a rather high social status for a human, which was rare among his kind. Those not born in the Veil were often considered the dirt under a ladder. The worst that he have ever been accused of was flirting with a married woman. Not something like this. For a brief moment, he allowed himself to remember his warm, comfortable flat where he had all the finer things life had to offer waiting on him such as his designer suits and 1700s dated bottles of Chateau Margaux.

    A thorny branch smacked itself across his right cheek, bringing him back to the reality of the ragged man he had become since going on the run two weeks prior. The cuts stung as the tiny needle-like thorns cut shallowly into his skin. Inwardly he chided himself on allowing his body to become so ragged. However, logical thinking often took the backseat to panic.


  1. I like the idea of starting off with your MC on a run and I am getting historical details out of the paragraphs. However, I'm consistently noticing the word 'that' is used quite a lot. I think you could tighten up the section by deleting most of them. But overall, it's a good start!

  2. I love your descriptions here. I got a great idea of what kind of man we're dealing with here without throwing it in my face!

    One part I did get tripped up on, though, is this sentence: Running had never been the sort of exercise that he sought on a daily basis instead relying on other extracurricular activities that involved a partner of the female persuasion.

    I feel it needs to be broken up into two sentences, or a comma to add pause.

    Nice job:)

  3. I love your opening line-- but then you pull back and give us a lot of back story about your main character. This slows the pace for me as a reader. Maybe if you gave us a little more of running first and then backed up to talk about how his life wasn't where he thought it would be, that would help.

    Also, it might be good if you could work in a stronger hint or clue as to why he's running--what's at stake? is he in fear of his life? Is someone chasing him? And if so, why? I like how we get some historical details, but I kind of want a stronger sense of his danger right now.

    I do like how we get sensory details toward the end of this passage of how the branch feels when it slaps him and so on. This brings it to life for me.

    I also wondered about the reference to folks not born in the Veil. This hints at fantasy-- so is this historical fantasy then?

    Good start though. This is a good moment to plunge us into.

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  5. I agree with the above -- and would add that there's almost too much explanation. Too much telling makes it seems a bit distanced. Maybe focus on the action more --bring the reader into it by getting closer to the POV? I get that the narrative voice might be historical but still, I think there's ways to navigate the two. The "two weeks" prior bit, for instance, doesn't seem like something worth mentioning as such. Is there a way it might be conveyed in connection with the action? Still, this bit about the Veil and what that can mean in connection with the "historical" genre is interesting and I wonder what it might mean for the story :) Hope this is helpful!

  6. You have a strong opening with great descriptions of this man. I do love the title. I do agree with the others. I think you can tighten it more by removing adverbs like inwardly and quietly. You should use them sparingly and try to show it more like how inward or quiet it is. You can remove some "thats" and the just from the opening line. You do have one long line about his flat that could be a bit shorter and tighter. Good effort. Nice start!

  7. I didn't care for the repetition of ragged in the last paragraph, and I didn't care for all the backstory in the 2nd paragraph. I love historicals but I don't have much to latch on to here.

  8. The “I prefer to get my exercise from sex” line is a bit overdone/cliché, however usually not in historical fiction, so I’m willing to ignore it, but something to keep in mind.
    “a rather high social status for a human.” For a human?
    Dirt under a ladder?
    We’re jumping around quite a bit and I’m not sure I’m following.
    Is he running from something or someone? You should probably tell us why he’s running before he daydreams about his designer suits and very-specifically-dated bottles. It certainly doesn’t sound like he’s panicking.

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