Wednesday, February 10, 2010

34 Secret Agent

TITLE: Demon At My Door

Life lines. Most people think of them as options game show contestants use to help them win a million dollars or some stupid s***. Me? I know different. I know the schoolyard crap about those little squiggly lines on your palm forecasting your life is actually real. They do, in fact, predict how long you’re going to live…or not. Believe me, I’ve done the research. Which brings me to the mess I’m in. Why the hell are mine disappearing?

Maybe it’s because of that sadistic, five-year-old soul-stealing bastard.

This is the fourth shrink I’ve been to this year. No way am I going to spill my guts about my newly discovered countdown clock of death. My chart’s filled with enough crazy.

To get my mind off the creepy issue rolling through my brain, I tear my eyes away from my palm and tuck it tightly under my opposite arm.

I gaze around the room, as I wait for the doctor to come in, and notice Dr. Fletcher’s family photos. They’re all smiling. What a crock! No family is that happy. Ever. Well, at least mine never is.

Maybe the last three quacks were right. Maybe I am a paranoid schizo. That’d explain why I constantly feel that, at any moment, my life can be taken away by the boy I’d promised my soul to eleven years ago.

Sounds stupid, I know, which is why people don’t believe me. Hell, I wish I could forget it, too. Pretend it was just a nightmare. But I can’t, not when it’s seared into my brain on a nightly basis. The little boy was so real. Still is. My palm sometimes tingles from when we shook hands to seal the deal.


  1. You have a very strong voice. I'm intrigued.

  2. This has an intruiging beginning and very strong voice in the MC. My only suggestion would be to make the MC a bit more sympathetic or relatable. I'm curious as to what happened to the narrator but I'm not sure at this point there's enough to make me sympathize with someone so bitter. Otherwise, I definitely feel like I'm in the character's head - so good job!

  3. I like your voice, but find myself confused.

    Is the five-year-old soul-stealing bastard the same person he promised his soul to 11 years ago? or not? the timeline feels strange without a tiny bit more explanation.

    I'd like to know where he is a bit earlier.

    Also, is it a he? The 'voice' sounds male to me.

  4. I would give it a few more pages. I like the setup but I'm still undecided about the voice. Personal taste I guess.

  5. Ahh, I definitely remember this title from a 100 word pitch session over on another website - I can remember your strong premise and wondering what your voice would sound like in the ms.
    Now I know.

    Your character has a strong personality (and I agree with another commenter, I think it's a "he", too). The first person works well, adds a depth and quirkyness to the whole scene.

    I quite liked - "My chart’s filled with enough crazy." The sentence structure caught me (in a good way). Strong, slight overtone of sarcasm, like I could hear his voice in my head.
    One small suggestion - "
    To get my mind off the creepy issue rolling through my brain, I tear my eyes away from my palm and tuck it tightly under my opposite arm."

    Put the action before the reason for the action. It will read much more strongly that way. eg. "I tear my eyes away from my palm and tuck it tightly under my opposite arm, to get my mind off the creepy issue rolling through my brain."

  6. I really like the idea you're setting up here. The 5 year old soul stealing bastard is hilarious and I feel like your narrator has a lot of personality and a good voice.

    The only issue I have with this is that it's a bit confusing the way you place your narrator in time and space. He/She says "Which brings me to the mess I'm in." which I take to mean the life lines disappearing, but then, suddenly they say "THIS is the fourth shrink I've been to this year." - as in right now. Which upon further reading it seems like seeing another doctor is the current mess they're in.

    I'm not sure why exactly, but it's jarring to me to switch from the internal thoughts about the past to the statement about the doctor without mentioning where he/she is and what they're doing. Even if it was something as simple as (and this is bad, but hopefully gives you an idea of what I mean) "I sit in the waiting room of my latest shrink, staring at the line that I know was longer yesterday." Then go into the part about the shrink.

    I hope that made some kind of sense to you! I would keep reading though because I'm curious to see where this is going and the character is likeable.

  7. I like all of this and am interested in knowing what happens next.

    However, the second sentence totally threw me. I have no idea what it means and since it says "most people think" I expected to understand what it meant even if the character may or may not be mental stable.

    Great voice and writing.

  8. I would keep reading - I like your voice. I do think you can tighten up here and there to make it even better. For instance the "Well, at least mine never is." isn't really necessary in my opinion - his earlier statement makes that obvious to me. Hope that helps :)

  9. I loved the voice, especially the second paragraph. The idea of the life lines disappearing also intrigued me. But the last two paragraphs unhooked me a little. There was too much telling in them for me, and the character became a bit too bitter. I also feel they didn't convey much new information. Now that we're in the action, waiting for the doctor, I'd prefer to stay there.

    I liked the earlier paragraphs enough that I'd read on though.

  10. Strong voice and intriguing premise of the life lines disappearing would keep me reading.

  11. An interesting premise that is intriguing, and a great voice, but all the talk and no action killed my interest. I wanted you to get on with the story.

    Perhaps once you mention the five-year old soul stealing bastard (which is a great line! Notice how many of us have repeated it?) perhaps go into letting your story happen? We could learn more as the story unfolds, as opposed to telling us everything before the story starts.

    Not hooked, but could be.

  12. This has a very strong point of view and the writing is good, but I wasn't hooked. I found the MC's voice to be irritating rather than engaging. Also, life lines refers to a line you throw to someone who is drowning or overboard, and that is how it's used in game shows, not the lines on your hand so that didn't work for me. This was 290 words so it came in over the word limit.

  13. I like that this begins with a character saying that life lines are real and there are some really clever lines ("My chart's filled with enough crazy"), but I'm afraid I found that the voice comes off as just a bit too strong for my taste in the opening. Dial back the voice a notch and I think this will be a strong opening.