Wednesday, February 10, 2010

21 Secret Agent

TITLE: Mythic
GENRE: Contemporary Fantasy

The guy still tailed me. My lungs blazed as I fought for the next breath. I hurried past ancient sculptures along the museum’s ramp, too freaked to stop and snatch my inhaler from my purse.

Don’t get me wrong, having any kind of guy, let alone a Greek one, follow me around added bonus points to my constantly dipping Richter scale of self-confidence. But this dude wasn’t a teenager, he was a man. Young, but still . . . Probably a perv, and one I’d seen more than once, following me in the Parthenon with my class tour yesterday and the Temple of Delphi the day before. To be here at the Acropolis Museum was way too much of a coincidence. Not to mention, I could have sworn I’d seen him poof into thin air. One minute he was there, and the next? Not so much.

But people can’t just disappear. Being kidnapped and trafficked was another thing all together. I wasn’t about to appear on the back of some milk carton. Last year's school picture was so not flattering. I could imagine it already. “Missing: Jessa Whitley, Age: 16, Eyes: Brown, Hair: Sandy blond. Smart mouth, dry sarcasm, and last seen with her class in Athens , Greece .” No way could that be my fate.

The sun illuminated the glass floor under me. I wished I had the time to revel in the excavations of ancient Greece below. Knowing Mr. Beckett, though, he was probably five kinds of pissed at my disappearance from the class tour.


  1. I think you can drop the first line. The reader will want to know why she's too freaked and then you tell us in the 2nd paragraph. It would help raise the tension level.

    The voice in this scene is great: fun and smart. I can hear your MC, picture her running away from this mystery guy, muttering to herself. I like it!


  2. Good start with the action. Clearly we have a situation here. I'd like to know how it unfolds. I liked how you introduced your protag with the picturing of a missing person on a milk carton. My only criticism is the word "not" used several times (a small thing, to be sure).

  3. I liked this! The character voice is great and there is definitely enough tension to draw me into the story. Not wild about the first line, but the rest made up for it.

  4. LOVED the milk carton part! It's a clever way to get the description in too. I liked the action, and the inhaler line increases the worries for me.


  5. I really liked the voice in this! I got a good sense of her character and I liked her. I also found the setting really interesting. I would definitely read on.

  6. I like this! The first paragraph didn't seem quite right...I'm sure you can hit upon something better...but the rest is pretty smoothly written.

    It's interesting, too. Especially the mention of him poofing into thin air. That's different.

    I'd keep reading.

  7. Good voice, but this is one of the freshest character self-descriptions I've ever read! Kudos. I love the setting and the set-up already, too, and would love to read more!

  8. I love Greece and would keep on reading for that alone. I also liked the voice of your narrator. She sounds like the kind of person I'd like to meet. I'd read more.

  9. I love the voice! Too bad it doesn't start until paragraph 2! The opening you have here could be the opening to any "OMG they're chasing me" book, and one I feel I've read a hundred times. But the rest is much better. Lead with your voice and unique situation. It's not just a chase. It's Jessa's chase (what makes it unique?), and she's awesome. Good luck!

  10. Agree with Lucy - I loved this, from the *second* paragraph. Can you find a way to get more of that voice into the first?

    The milk carton description is cute - good for introducing both character and situation.

    I'd read on.

  11. I agree about deleting the first sentence. For the rest, it seems odd to have her think about the guy disappearing, and then not elaborate on it. Either add more detail, or delete part of the second paragraph. The milk carton part is a sneaky and successful way of getting in that description of the main character.

    Mark in the Seattle area

  12. I liked this! In 250 words you've introduced a great chatracter with an entertaining voice. I feel like I know who she is already. You've also created some strong tension and introduced an interesting problem, and you left me wondering who the guy is and what he wants, and how/why does he just appear and disappear.

    I didn't have a problem with the first sentence, but I did think the blazing lungs was kinda cliche.

    Great opening!

  13. Another vote for the milk carton description. Good description--it put me in the scene right away. Good voice--I could hear her talking, slightly out of breath, slightly annoyed, slightly scared.

  14. This is great. Good voice. Good set up. Wonderful description with the milk carton. Good job. I'd read more.

  15. Hooked!! Me loves creepy stalker stories :D

  16. This is totally not my genre, but I was definitely caught by the voice.

    Some nice touches as others have noted, and you brought me effectively into the head of your MC. Well done.

  17. Great, attention-grabbing start to a novel.
    Loved the MC's voice. Very clever with the milk carton.
    I'd definitely read more!

  18. Nice place to start the story and subtle dropping in of information. The milk carton description worked really well.

    I did find the juxtaposition between the first and second paragraphs to be somewhat jarring, though. In the first paragraph, she sounds terrified. She's hurrying as though being chased, too frightened to stop and use her inhaler. But then in the second she almost mentally takes a step back and says how flattering it is to have this young Greek man following her. The fact that he's a perv (and just "probably") is almost an aside. The second paragraph doesn't get across the creepiness that I'd expect given the first paragraph.

    Still, the writing is sound and I'd probably read on a few more pages.

  19. I agree with just about everyone here. Your voice is amazing and after the first paragraph, I am instantly connected with Jessa. I love that you threw in the milk carton. That was good. My other favorites:
    "...constantly dipping Richter scale of self-esteem..."
    "...five kinds of pissed..."

    I'd definitely pick up this book and read it! :)

  20. I would agree the first paragraph clunks a bit, but the narrative smooths out after that. I didn't care for the "added bonus points to the constantly dipping Richter scale of self-confidence" -- I feel like there might be another metaphor. It just felt like a lot of work.

    Overall, though, I was hooked.

  21. I think there's a good voice here, but perhaps a little overdone, and I found the way this unfolds somewhat scattered. I had some trouble unpacking the "Richter scale of self-confidence" (Richter scales measure earthquakes, how does that scale go up and down based on confidence) and why is it a coincidence he's at the Acropolis museum? I also didn't understand "Being kidnapped and trafficked was another thing all together." Has she already been kidnapped? Or is she just scared of being kidnapped?

    There are some interesting elements here, but I think it needs some polish.