Wednesday, March 10, 2010

30 Secret Agent

GENRE: Paranormal Romance

The sky was a sea of clouds ablaze in fiery gold and carnelian, as if
the world were about to end. Serenity Shaw stood at the window of
Dougie’s office, watching the sun fade across the Hudson River, below
the New Jersey horizon. This used to be her office, but now she only
came on Fridays to do her consultations.

“Everything I’ve heard about you is true.”

Serenity turned to her client, an amiable guy in a Mr. Rogers sort of
way, sans the sweater. Late fifties with a receding hairline, he
didn’t seem the type who’d want a tattoo at this stage in his life,
but she didn’t judge a book by its cover. Her energy stream did the
reading for, telling her all she needed to know about someone.

“It was worth waiting two months for an appointment and five hundred
dollars for this,” he said, holding up the drawing that one of the
other artists would soon etch on his shoulder. He rose from the worn
leather chair. “How are you able to see my soul?”

“A gift I was born with.” The first time she touched someone an image
unfurled in her mind. Translated on to paper the clients felt it
captured their soul, and the customers’ feelings meant the difference
between unrivaled success and pinching pennies.

Dougie emerged in the doorway and folded his brawny arms, adorned with
her ink work, across his chest. One corner of his mouth lifted into a
sidelong grin. “Your next appointment booked under a pseudonym.
You’ll never guess who it is. This could get us international
recognition, hun. Don’t fail me now.”


  1. I'm interested to learn more about your main character; however, there are two items you might want to avoid:

    You shouldn't start your first sentence with a description of the weather.

    "She didn't judge a book by its cover" is a cliche.

  2. I like paranormal romance to start with action or some sort of drama because it draws the reader in. Your beginning is a little different but good, too.
    Sounds like an interesting story. I suggest cutting the first sentence though, since it's not needed.

  3. Very good hook! I'd definitely read more.

    My two nit picks are this... the first line of dialogue, "Everything I've heard..." is confusing because it's hard to know who is talking at that point. A simple tag will fix this.

    Also it looks like there is a word missing in this sentence: "Her energy stream did the
    reading for, telling her all she needed to know about someone."

    Should there be a 'her' after 'for?'

    Otherwise, nicely done. I like the concept.

  4. I had to read the 'energy stream' sentence a couple of times, but when I inserted the 'her' (like the above commenter mentioned) it made sense.
    I really like the concept of her getting an image of the person soul for the tattoos. Very cool concept. I would read on for sure.

  5. Interesting set up. I like her ability to sense people's soul in a drawing. But a couple things - I agree with Amy Jo about starting with a description of the weather. That's not an attention grabber, usually. Also, I think it would be better to describe who is talking, rather than having the dialog floating on it's own there. Maybe she can watch him as he's looking at the drawing, then he looks up and says . . .

    They seem to be tattoo artists, and I was curious as to why they do this sort of work from an office. But maybe they are high-end?

  6. Great comments above. I agree you should leave off first sentence, give first line of dialogue a tag--like the suggestion mentioned earlier. I don't read this genre but I like what you've got and would continue reading. Good job!

  7. I really liked this and would keep reading to find out what happens. Like the other posters, I would drop the first sentence (although I liked the imagery about the world about to end -- it goes with the dark or tragic undertone of the rest of the writing).

  8. I agree with the others - the first sentence doesn't fit and there's a mistake with "for" instead of "her".

    "It was worth" would make a better fit sooner in the story. Before that, I was confused about what was going on. The "Everything..." sentence, I couldn't tell who was speaking.

    There's enough to interest me, but some things just need to be moved around and clarified.

  9. I would definitely read more. The only thing I would change is the client's first line. "It was worth waiting two months for an appointment and five hundred dollars for this" seems awkward somehow.

    I want to know what happens next! :)

  10. Interesting concept. Stronger if we see her reading a soul to get a picture rather than her telling us.

  11. I think it's a great idea, but I have to agree with some of the other comments. The weather thing is out, and the first line Mr. Rogers says is awkward. I also didn't like Dougie's stretch of talk--all those short sentences just didn't flow right to me.

  12. Great premise - reading souls and turning what she sees into tattoos!
    But I agree with Robbin, showing her reading a soul would be far more interesting.

    I agree about cutting the first sentence. The sky was a sea of clouds, but all the description relates to fire instead of the sea. And aside from being a mixed metaphor, it isn't relevant in any way to what you've written. Then she's watching the sun set, but if the sky was a sea of clouds, would the sun even be visible?

    In the - It was worth waiting 2 months - sentence, you might say - It was worth $500 and waiting two months - to make it read clearer.

    And would Dougie talk about this new mystery client in front of the client who's still sitting in the office?

  13. carnelian - pretty posh ...

    I wouldn't stop at 250 words. Nothing jarred me.
    In American Idol you are going to Hollywood.

  14. You already lost me in the first paragraph, full of purple prose about the sky? This has been done so, so many times and since you want to catch the agent/editor from the first line, you want to use something different and stronger.