Wednesday, February 10, 2010

27 Secret Agent

TITLE: 7 Days to Redemption
GENRE: Supernatural Suspense

Nathan cringed as he drove down the narrow street littered with large dumpsters and homeless shelters. A group of men huddled close together against the brisk wind, warming their half mitted hands around a smoldering metal can, wisps of smoke billowing out around their shapes, casting their shadows wide against the buildings behind them.

“A GPS with the right directions would be helpful,” Nathan grumbled. The warehouse holding the supplies for his charity should be directly ahead of him. Not the empty lot standing there instead.

Empty stares followed him as he drove past groups huddled against empty buildings, tattered blankets barely sheltering them from the frigid temperatures. He shivered, turning the heat on high.

The warehouse should be just around the corner. The same corner he drove past a few minutes ago. The only corner in the area without a warehouse. He rubbed his tired eyes, wishing he hadn’t left the new suppliers’ business card at home.

Turning down the next street, identical graffiti-covered buildings stretched into the distance. He resisted the urge to pull over and re-configure the gadget his older sister Rachel insisted he take.

“Lifesaver my foot,” he said while making a u-turn.

Back on the street where the men stood huddled, Nathan wished he had something to hand out to them. If only he could find that warehouse, the back of his vehicle would be filled with clothing he could hand out. He hated being left empty-handed.

If God could turn a blind eye to those who need Him, good for Him. Nathan wouldn’t.


  1. This read smoothly and set the scene nicely. I'm wondering about that empty space, what's going ot happen, so you intrigued me. I only have a few picky things to point out.

    "empty lot standing there instead."
    Do empty lots stand? That made me pause, but it may just be me.

    "the back of his vehicle would be"
    vehicle stuck out-it made me pause to wonder what vehicle- can you say "back of truck" or "trunk of his car"

  2. Hmm, I'm intrigued. I thought it was a bit slow but I'd still read on. I'm liking these "darker" ones. :-D

  3. Sorry - I wanted to add - watch your repetition of the word "empty." Used 3 times in just this short blurb.

  4. I like the description here. I can definitely picture the street he is on, and can feel his tension and frustration at being lost. I definitely sympathize with Nathan, and feel he cares about the homeless people. A bit more action here would make we want to turn the page a bit more. Maybe he's paranoid the car behind him is following him, or something like that. Otherwise, maybe the action that I'm expecting is going to happen on the next page could be moved up a bit. But excellent description overall. I think I'd still turn the page to find the action.

  5. A bit of a slow start, but Nathan comes across as an interesting character and I'm intrigued by the missing building so I'd give it another couple pages to grab me.

    Maybe instead of driving around again and then stopping, he could stop the first time so we could get more of an idea where the story is going on the first page.

    I agree with Cassie, 'empty' did jump out at me as being overused here.

  6. To me, it seemed that paragraphs 3&4 are practically repetitions of 1&2. I wanted to get into some action.

  7. I'm torn. I would keep reading, but at the same time I wouldn't say I'm hooked.

    And the comment about God came out of nowhere. That might be just me though.

    I do like it so far though!

  8. Repetitious for me. Nathan is cringing and shivering. There is a lot of emptiness and huddling, and he's driving around talking about his GPS. Not so hooked. And do the homeless always need to be portrayed as having those fingerless gloves and burning garbage cans? I'd like a bit more depth with regards to this population of people.

  9. I think this could be tightened down to about half as many words and then it would be an exciting tension filled scene. The "empty" and "cornor" also stood out to me because they were used quite often.

    Nice setup for an interesting story. Like the voice when he talks about the GPS.

  10. It is a slow opening, but not everything has to be action packed. You do have the the things you need - a sympathetic character, a setting and a problem.

    You could pick it up a bit by making his first run down the street his second or third. As he goes down looking for the warehouse, you could say he was seeing the same people and places he'd seen the first two times, that way you don't have to show the second trip around the block and repeat a lot of the same stuff.

    I did wonder why he never considered stopping and asking one of the homeless people if they knew where the warehouse was, but overall, I thought it worked pretty well.

  11. I thought the scene-setting was nice, but perhaps a little too bogged down with adjectives. A few well-placed modifiers with strong verbs can go a long way. Watch for repetitions; three instances of "empty", three of "huddled". And I do have to echo Courtney's comment above about the almost-cliche portrayal of the homeless.

  12. Careful with tense inconsistencies - it all should be in past tense: "Nathan grumbled. The warehouse holding the supplies for his charity should have been directly ahead of him. Not the empty lots that stood there instead."

    I also found some of the phrasing a tad confusing, and I felt there was a bit too much description relative to what happens. I just wasn't sure what I was supposed to take away from the opening.