Wednesday, August 19, 2009

5 Secret Agent

TITLE: Sacrifice
GENRE: Romance-paranormal

The memory exploded from some hidden cache in my mind, triggered by the gentle laugh. I staggered in the crowd of Merlin Scholars and fell to my knees. My mind swirled with the last time I heard that laughter.

In that far away time, I turned to see my other half, my beloved. We were aloft. I was piloting a small prop plane and she was my copilot. Her tailored tight dress and an Ingrid Bergman fedora over a 1940’s hairstyle with a pencil stuck over her ear placed me in a fixed point in time. Maureen, my wife in that time, Maureen. She read aloud from her book, laughing at some passage. Then her expression changed; the laughter broke off. Her concern and compassion flashed in her eyes, reaching out to touch me with her left hand. My love’s own death in her precognition, she worried first about me.

Today rushed back as fellow scholars sought to help me, but time folded revealing both today and then. Sweat beaded on my forehead as I struggled to understand. I wasn’t a pilot; I hated planes—never knowing why until now. In this life, I had no beloved, no other half, but I undoubtedly loved that woman. I heard Maureen’s laughter from the plane again from far down the registration lines, in this world, this time. I scrambled from my knees, clawing at scholars’ helping arms, and then left them behind, seeking out the source of that laughter.


  1. I'm not sure...

    This doesn't really tell me anything about the main character or setting and I feel like I missed something. This is probably a problem of only getting 250 words up front. There isn't enough here to really hook me.

  2. For some reason I thought the narrator was a woman, so I was a bit confused about the wife. Liked the idea of Merlin Scholars, but not sure about the rest.

  3. I'm intrigued, but I agree with the posters before me that it feels confusing, like something's missing. I think the scene needs to be more established before the main character hears the laughter and has the memory. Although, that being said... I would probably ask for more to see where it goes.

  4. I really enjoyed the writing in the 'now' time, but the flashback detracted from the rest of the writing, and seemed overly descriptive. I was especially taken out of the flow by sentence that they were aloft. However, I am hooked--I definitely want to find out who's laughing.

  5. Not hooked. I thought this had the same problem as the last one. You start with something exciting, and then wander off in another direction. Who is this person? Why is he/she staggering into this gathering? What happened that he/she can't even stand up? Those are the things I want to know.

    You have a hooky opening paragraph, and the Merlin Scholars piques my interest. Perhaps build on that a bit more before wandering off into his vision/memory.

  6. Not sure. I was interested enough to click on the post - I think it's too much info, too soon, without knowing anything about the MC.


  7. Agreed with everyone before me.

    I additionally think that the memory should be more concrete -- it should be faster. It jolts me out of the scene entirely.

  8. Not hooked.

    I'm sorry, but, for me, it's a writing thing. The writing isn't there for me.

  9. The writing here is a bit over the top. Too melodramatic for my taste. So I like the idea -- someone possibly being reunited with a lover from a past life -- but overall, I didn't feel grounded into this story so much as skimming across the surface of it. Not hooked.

  10. Pretty well hooked. Only a few minor suggestions:

    In the first paragraph, I'd write it was "triggered by her gentle laugh"; that way we know, right off the bat, that there's a woman the narrator is thinking about.

    In the second paragraph be more precise with the description of Maureen. Don't call it an Ingrid Bergman fedora, give me a color and texture/material--at 30 years old, I'm not old enough to have an immediate frame of reference for Bergman's hat stylings. Does she have a 1940's hairstyle because it's in the 1940's or she's being retro? My guess is the former, but don't make me guess. Describe the hairstyle and have the narrator figure out the timeline to make it less ambiguous. Mention pin curls or something else classic to that time period and then have the narrator say something like (this will be a bad example, but it's quick): "...with a pencil stuck over her ear placed me in a fixed point in time. This woman was Maureen, my wife in the year 1943. She read..."

    The set-up is good (it immediately reminded me of the YA paranormal romance/SciFi series Blue Bloods that involves vampires who keep getting "re-born" with memories of their former lives resurfacing in later lives). I liked it and think there's somewhere interesting that you could definitely take this.

  11. I like it. I think 'exploded' is an overused word; you might think of another one less trite, but I got a clear picture of what went on and would definitely read on.

    Not sure you could call any hat Ingrid Bergman ever wore a fedora, or would want to, since that's normally thought of as a man's hat. The one she wore at the end of Casablanca was similar but not quite. Might want to rethink that.

    Still pretty well done.

  12. I'm interested by the flashbacks but think the initial flashback is a little too long. Perhaps break it up into two flashbacks? I would be more intrigued if the MC didn't know the laughter, only that he had to find the source.

  13. I had trouble picturing exactly where the narrator was and how this scene was unfolding, so I'd have to pass on this one for now. I'm not a fan of flashback so early in a chapter. I also felt there was some unnecessary repetition here and some details I'm not sure we need to know. Does it matter which hand she used to reach out to him...? I'd be careful of overwriting and seek to move the story forward faster.