Wednesday, November 4, 2009

41 Secret Agent

GENRE: YA - Urban Fantasy

Mara let the sunlight filter across her body, its fading heat still warm against her cold skin. The wind kicked up the ocean spray from the rocks below, creating a fine, salty mist. She smiled as she felt it dance against her face. A lone gull swooped and soared along the rocky cliffs scoring the coastline. The cliffs cruelly denied land access to their isolated beaches, pristine but only briefly visible at low tide. It was the inapproachability of the place that appealed most to her.

The sun was setting, transforming the horizon into a riot of golds, ambers, pinks, and reds so vibrant she could almost taste the colors exploding across the sky before fading into the ocean. As they disappeared, salt crystals shimmered in the shadowy twilight, and she felt the sense of peace and serenity that simple vision had created slowly dissolve, leaving instead the unmistakable vibration of danger coming, and coming fast.

Mara abandoned her perch on the rock cliff and leapt into her car. Thrilled at the power she knew it possessed, she threw it into drive, screaming out of the scenic overlook and into the rapidly darkening skyline. She laughed, remembering the salesman’s disbelief when she had walked in and bought the 600 hp CL-65 AMG outright. Why was it that everyone assumed only guys appreciated fast cars? She shook off her memory and refocused on the threat closing in.

Damned if she would make it easy for these two and she knew there were two of them.


  1. Nice. The first two paragraphs are very sensual, very high fantasy-esque. The you suddenly put the "urban" in urban fantasy and it really works for me. I love the juxtaposition of the ambiances--like leather and lace.

    Now I wonder what the two are.

  2. How could she stop the sun?

    suggest deleting weak ing verbs: fading, setting, transforming, leaving exploding and adverbs: slowly,

    shes on a cliff and leaps into a car? something wrong with that picture

    Did she turn on the motor first?

    what memory?

    I stopped reading there because it seemed to be a tease.

  3. Juuust about hooked.
    The last line made me sit up. I would put it first or the action the thought creates first. After reading it, I thought, Who? What?

    And that is what the writer wants, the reader to talk aloud to an inanimate book page expecting an answer.

    I would like less descriptive content in the first paragraphs and more “Who What?” to begin a novel. Certainly, you make the world come alive and I could ‘see’ through your eyes. But make me care more about who this person is first.

    I would be interested in reading more. But if it wasn’t for that last line, “…Damned if she would make it easy for these two and she knew there were two of them..” I might well have stopped reading

    Good luck. You have something here and I would like to see it continue.

  4. I love coastal settings, so you hooked me right away with that. Beacuse of 'leapt into her car' and 'threw it into drive', I thought she was going to drive off the cliff. Maybe put 'ran back to her car' or something similar. I had to read it twice.

    I do want to know what the threat is. Good luck!

  5. i'm not a fan of golden sunsets on the first page, but besides that i thought it was good. i'm torn about whether or not i'd continue reading.

  6. This is a nice start. I was a little taken aback by her leaping off her cliff perch into a car. I thought maybe she was about to fly or something considering it's fantasy. And at first, I thought she was screaming and not the car.

    The description is nicely done, but perhaps a little too heavy for this spot. More action before paragraph three might draw the reader in better.

    I expected a teen protagonist because it's YA and viewed her as such until the line about buying the car on her own. That threw me a bit. Now I think maybe early to mid 20s?

    But yes, a promising start in spite of those things. I am fairly hooked.

  7. I'm not hooked. The discription of her sitting on the rocks was pretty, but I didn't feel like it was a complete scene because it lacked any conflict. To me that scene ends and a new one starts when she gets in the car. At that point the story starts to have some purpose to it.

    If the sitting on the rocks has a reason for being in the story--like she is going to discover she's part mermaid and that's why she feels drawn to look at the ocean--then I suggest you add a bit of forshadowing.

  8. Not hooked, sorry. There's no action or tension with a character just staring off into the distance, narrating the environs and the state of her life--its a passive and way overused opening scenario, IMHO. Maybe start with Mara already in the car.

  9. I could see this as the start of a movie (ha, I said this about one of the other entries too I think) - the camera panning across the serene landscape then the girl jumping in her hot car and speeding off.

    In book form, I thought the scenery descriptions went on too long. I was losing interest rapidly. The last two sentences hooked me though; I would have liked to get there a little faster.

  10. The writing's really pretty, but at the moment not much's happening to hook me. It may be a personal preference, but I prefer opening scenes that get stuck into things. I'd prefer it if you just got rid of the first two paras and worked in the description around what was happening.

    That said, I'd probably read on for at least a few pages to see whether it would cpature my attention like the last line did :)

  11. It seems a little abrupt to go from a gorgeous setting to a super fast car. I would suggest cutting the first two paragraphs all together and go straight into the third. The line, "Why was it that everyone assumed only guys appreciated fast cars?" could make a good opening.

    Good luck,


  12. I was a bit confused. Lots of descriptive narrative in the beginning, which I'm not a fan of. But that is personal preference. '

    I like the word picture you've painted. Great detail

    Careful of passive stuff: "the sun WAS SETTING"

    I agree with Kim. Have their third paragraph be your start. It's a stronger place to start.

  13. Loved the first paragraph. The second was too much. Then the pace suddenly sped up and I was confused.

  14. Looks like my original comment got eaten by blogger so here we go again...I found this one to be a bit jarring. The opening is kind of lyrical and then next minute she is hopping in cars, screaming down the road and laughing. The parts aren't really blending for me and I am not sure what I will get with the rest of the ms: more of the descriptive part or the impulsive fast-moving part?

  15. The description is lovely, but maybe it goes on a little long. I didn't really get a sense of what the story was supposed to be about until the last sentence where you mentioned the two. Two what? I want to know now, so I'd keep reading, but it might be better to get to this sooner.

    How old is the MC? It says YA, but it doesn't feel that way to me, and since she's just bought a car it doesn't seem like she's a teenager.

    **She smiled as she felt it dance against her face.** could be: She smiled as it danced against her face.