Wednesday, January 23, 2019

January Secret Agent #7

GENRE: YA Fantasy

I finish coughing up a lung, what’s left of it anyway, and wheeze in the grimy air of the pit we call home, number fifty-nine, Fetter Lane—the wrong side of town.

Phlegm marks the sleeve of my nightshirt, but it don’t matter, I rub it in good to match the crusted dirt already there. I lean over the edge of the bed for my Leaden. Unscrewing the tiny lid of the brown bottle, I lift my head a fraction and drink back a sip of… air. All gone. I drop back into my pillow. I’ll survive till Pa gets more from the Markt. I hope. Disease spreads like an infected wound here, in the stinky armpit of Loredom, not helped by the night air breathing its germs in through the broken window.

I squint through the gloom; Pa’s still asleep, his mound pressed against the grubby wall, lit by the glow of the street lamp spilling in through the scraps of curtains. Even in the dark it’s never too dark to see the insects crawling over the beds. The building would sooner collapse on his head before he woke up, unless that is, Ma Smith’s pea were to strike the window from her shooter down on the street. Only thing what lifts his head off the pillow. Don’t ask me, makes no sense, ’cept for the call of glimmer, not that he makes much. Better than nothing, s'pose.

Wedged beside me lies my ten-year-old sister, Clara; her clay-brown face so peaceful, so still—too still.


  1. I usually don't like this kind of opening because nothing happens, but this is a different world, and the descriptions pulled me in and allowed me to see it.

    Perhaps end it though, when he starts describing his sister. Maybe have him get up and do something first, and get her description in when she wakes up. Perhaps work in a hint of the problem instead so we have an idea of what we're getting into, what the story is about. You need a hook and, right now, there isn't one.

    Voice is good. You've created a nice tone/mood. Just get the story started.

    There are a few typos.

  2. Very strong voice and imagery. I definitely get a clear picture in my mind of the MC’s sourroundings, and I LOVE the inclusion of a pea shooter. I would work on the punctuation, though, and perhaps save some of the detailed descriptions for a bit later in the chapter so the opening paragraphs can have more momentum?

  3. There is definitely a lot of atmosphere in this - makes me want to have a shower just reading about that dirt lol. Nearly felt like I was there!

    It's hard to get a sense of what this will all be about, but it does seem interesting.

  4. I think you might be a little heavy-handed, to the point of dipping into cliché, with the depiction of poverty. Insects crawl all over their beds? Protagonist coughs up phlegm and just rubs it in?
    The accent makes me think we’re in 1800s Appalachia, but then you insert Leaden, some unknown drink, and Loredom, and Markt instead of Market, words that make me think we’re in a high fantasy. It all leaves me a bit confused. I would suggest just saying market instead of markt. Deleting vowels unnecessarily to make it seem more “fantasy” is something you see a lot with beginning fantasy writers. Don’t hesitate to write something that is wholly, uniquely yours, unlike anything else you’ve read. It’s fantasy; it can be anything you want.

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  6. Admit I am a bit grossed out by opening with phlegm and crust and armpits, then moving to bugs. :P I guess you are trying to go for that though? Not sure if the narrator is male/female if that matters? It is nice to have some sense of who is talking. And I do not understand the part about "the building would sooner collapse on his head..." Is he drunk or supertired or what? 'Sooner' is awkward here imo.
    It almost has a Western feel to me which is interesting for a Fantasy. I wonder about the glimmer... I certainly get visuals (and squeamish;) and end worried about Clara!

  7. I feel like this introduction was written for shock value because of their characters circumstances, but I don't think it does more for the story other than gross out the reader. It's vivid, so you have that going for you, but it could also be a pass for people who can't stomach it.

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