Wednesday, March 18, 2009

10 Secret Agent

TITLE: Chimera
GENRE: Paranormal Suspense

Deputy U.S. Marshal Rocky Lakewood shifted in the chair across from the District Attorney’s office and crossed her left leg over her right, reassured by the weight of the Sig Sauer P238 strapped to her ankle. The back of her neck tingled and her head whipped around.

A tall slender woman stood next to the elevator, one booted foot braced against the wall, hands stuffed into the pockets of her short leather jacket. Short, almost white hair spiked above brilliant blue eyes that were trained on Rocky.

“Lex. What are you doing here?” Rocky stood, not wanting to hear the answer, knowing she would anyway.

“We need you.” Lex moved away from the elevator with an effortless grace.

“I told you I’m done. No more assignments.”

“And I told you that’s it’s not really your choice.” Lex took a seat next to Rocky. “I see you’ve stopped wearing the contact lenses,” Lex said. “And I like what you’ve done with your hair.”

“The contact lenses were a hassle.” Rocky had one green eye and one blue and a streak of dark hair at the temple of her otherwise blonde head. “The streaks are easier to keep up.”

“It looks good. An indication that you’re more accepting of being special?.”

“Special. Is that what we’re calling freaks now?”

“You aren’t a freak,” Lex said. “You’re a chimera.”

Rocky held her hand out. A small flame danced in the center of her palm.

“Being a chimera isn’t the freaky part.”


  1. I'm glad I stuck with this one, because I was on the fence, leaning towards "no" until the last sentence. Then everything before made sense to me and I wanted to turn the page.
    To nit pick just a little, I think you could skip the "tall slender woman" reference and identify her as Lex, since Rocky already knows her and the piece is written in his/her POV. I like it very much.

  2. *isn't this a scifi premise?

    The back of her neck tingled and her head whipped around. <- This implies she has not control of her head. :]

    Around is iffy too, because it seems impossible to whip a head around, unless you are an owl. :P


    The back of her neck tingled, and she whipped her head up to look towards the elevator.

    And I told you that’s it’s not really your choice.” Lex took a seat next to Rocky. “I see you’ve stopped wearing the contact lenses,” Lex said. “And I like what you’ve done with your hair.”

    This is Lex's paragraph, so you don't need to repeat her name or even the dialogue tag (Lex said).

    I had a slight problem with the chimera discussion towards the end. It seemed to be verging on info-dumping for the reader. These two know all that stuff already, so why would they be discussing it?

    You could have Lex eyeballing the hair streaks and contacts, and have Rocky be self-conscious of the disguise. But other than that, I assumed they would be discussing why Rocky is backing out. Something happened to her (I assume) to make her hate the job.

  3. I would pull the telling stuff out of this--for example you don't have to tell us about the streaks because you say it in the dialogue. I was a little confused too. She doesn't want any more assignments but she still has her gun ready and she's still at work. Does she need a gun if she's just got a desk job now?

  4. This works as an opening scene. A few clean-ups would help along the way here.

    I agree that there are unnecessary descriptions in the first couple of paragraphs that don't quite fit, like she probably has a shorter name she thinks of her gun by, and she certainly would just say "Lex" instead of a tall, slender woman.

    I also agree that the discussion about being a chimera comes across as exposition, but that's very easy to change with simple phrasing... just make it sound more like Lex recognizes that they both already know who/what Rocky is.

    For example:

    "Not a freak," Lex said. "Just a chimera."

    or "Chimera's aren't freaks."

    or something. ;)

  5. I gotta say, I loved this one from the first word. If I had more, I would still be reading. Super job!

  6. That anonymous was me. Sorry, I meant to leave my name.

  7. You've got me. I'm intrigued, and want to know more. I think this is a great opening, and with a little bit of cleaning up it could be the perfect hook. Nice job!

    Good luck!

  8. I didn't think I'd like this until I got to the end. The descriptions in the first two paragraphs bogged it down for me. I'd rather have had it start with the dialouge and weave the rest of that information into what you already have if it's necessary. But it seems like an interesting premis, and I'd definitley read on.

  9. I like paranormals and I like suspense, so of course I had to read this.

    JMO, but two paras of description is daunting right at the beginning.

    Suggestion: After she looked around. Let us get some thoughts/feelings. And also since she obviously knows the other woman...why not id the second woman with a pov cue.

    For ex. Instead of a tall, slender woman stood next to the elevator --how about: What the **** was Lex WHATSHERNAME doing in nowhere land? Or How the **** did Lex W find her? Or something like that.

    I hope I make some sort of sense.

  10. Apart from the chimera part, most of this section is Telling, rather than Showing. You’re throwing all these details at us to make us believe Rocky is who you’re Telling us she is, but not Showing anything in characterization or dialogue. The opening is kinda clichĂ© too—retired detective/officer pulled into “one last case” despite their refusal. Also, you’ve laundry-listed Lex’s attributes, rather than subtlety weaving them into the novel. Sorry, not hooked.

  11. I'd have to say I'm interested, but not quite hooked. It's hard to say why, except perhaps that I have a strong aversion to retiring law folk - there are just so many of them around in fiction. That's a totally personal thing, though, and I know some people love 'em!

  12. I felt that this was same old until I got to the end. The writing's a bit rough, reading the dialogue out loud might help clean it up. I'm curious so I'd give it a few more pages.

  13. This opening is so relaxed and laid back. Nothing new to grab me. But beneath the causal talk we begin to see serious stuff about espionage and an unwilling agent who's a little abnormal. By last line we see she's not a little st.ange, she's totally weird. Hmmm. This might be interesting, I say to myself.

    To make up for the causal start, I'd quick bring in some action though. You don't want the reader to doze off before you hook him/her completely.

  14. This has potential. With some tightening it will be great. You should definitely get rid of the info dump. They both know what they are. The only drawback I have is a very vivid flashback to the X-Men movies and graphic novels. That might be a drawback in finding a publisher.

    Also, I was a little confused by "Rocky" and "she" because I had assumed that Rocky was a male name. But that might just be because I am German. I got used to it fast.

  15. I also thought it needed tightening--I thought it should start with the dialogue, with the info sprinkled in. But the combination of relaxed, almost intimate conversation (were they lovers?) and business worked best of all in this small sample.

    Paranormal isn't really my area, so I'd probably give it to someone else in my office from the get-go, and after I'm revealed you may email me and I'll let you know to whom (after it's cleaned up--it's not ready yet).