Wednesday, March 10, 2010

45 Secret Agent

TITLE: Untold

Winter had long since passed the reigns of control on to Spring. Nerves laced with fear drew Alphas’ attention away from the vibrancy and blossoming warmth. Trembling, he attempted to manipulate a way around a repercussion, much bigger than missing a floral reawakening.

This is crazy? he thought, flitting between obeying what the Council had ordered and doing what he felt was right. Unsure, he shifted around the small area bordered with oleander trees, landing right back in front of the waiting audience. His nerves gave out. Sweat surfaced.

The three females and one male bowed waited. Their father’s power was of great importance to them: they had witnessed on countless occasions, how he had achieved things no-one else could; watched and worshipped when things, broken and irreparable were fixed; and felt pride when others in the Community bowed down to his magnificence. Today, his demeanor was unsettling; they looked away.

Meaning to compose himself, Alphas took in a succession of deep breaths. His throat rejected it the air, spraying spittle everywhere.

The offspring shifted, but remained silent.

Sighing, Alphas closed his eyes allowing the freshness of the morning to wash over him. A respectable calm returned within a short time. Still disenchanted about following his heart, and too frightened to disobey an order that would result in extreme punishment, he proceeded.

Widening his eyes, he looked to his assembled offspring; the sight of their deflated bodies triggered something unexpected.


  1. This reads like it needs more polish. "The reigns of control" should be the reins of control, and I have no idea how you would "manipulate a way around a repercussion, much bigger than missing a floral reawakening."

    You might work with a critique group, and hopefully they'll catch phrases like "one male bowed waited," and "His throat rejected it the air."

  2. I agree with John that more polishing is needed. But the basic kernel of the story is interesting.
    I found myself wondering just what kind of creatures these were.

    Have you read any of the basic manuals for writers? Like "Self-Editing For Fiction Writers" by Browne and King? Or "Stein On Writing" by Sol Stein. There are lots of sites online that can help you develop your craft.

    Keep working at it!

  3. Good start! But I feel your writing is getting in the way of telling the story. A little too poetic for me — if this is the start of the story I want things to be simpler. Make it easy for me to understand. Don't try to overpower the reader with language. You are obviously a good writer! Polish this and concentrate on your storytelling skills. ㋡

  4. There's some good writing in spots. Your prose is often beautiful, but mostly ambiguous. The whole first paragraph reads like a metaphor. I was struggling to figure out what you meant by manipulating around a repercussion and what a floral reawakening is.

    Then the MC (who still is unclear in para. 2) is wondering if he should obey the council or do what he thinks is right. Give specific examples. It's like there is a secret world that only the characters and writer are privvy too, but the reader is left out. Come in closer to your MC's POV. Be on his shoulder not so far removed.

    Para.3: What exactly are the father's powers? Show don't tell. We want the key into the world. Be more clear.

    I'd cut back on the flowery language in favor of moving the plot forward. You obviously have the skill to spin a good tale. There is a hook at the end. It just needs a bit of refining. But as of now, I'm afraid I'm not hooked.

  5. I think JohnO has some good advice. At the moment there's some unpolished phrases that pulled me out of the story. It's also a bit confusing as to what is going on. You can have beautiful language while still making the scene clear for the reader. I admire what you're working towards here, I just don't think it's quite there yet.

  6. I agree with the others, and Courtney has good advice. I feel like we're looking at the story through a snow globe, and we're not privvy to the story.

    Paragraph 2--"This is crazy?" either should end with a period, or say "Is this crazy?" As it is it's awkward.

    That said, I am intrigued by the story and the creatures.

  7. I agree with what has been said so far, and want to add something else.

    The Last Paragraph: it talks about how he is looking at his assembled offspring. I like the idea here, but you listed your story as YA. If he has offspring, I'm doubting he's hitting the YA age mark.
    (This beginning is a bit ambiguous, so I'm not sure I got this right).

  8. I was confused. The overwriting clouded the story for me. You have a desire to evoke feelings in the the point of forcing them to feel it. Try clear and simple, well-composed sentences and let the reader come to it himself.

    Vagueness doesn't make me want to keep reading.

  9. Your first sentence is good. I liked it personally as a good word picture. I'm not sure I'd call it an enthusiasm starter. I think the impression is it badly needs a more deserving hook. IF I was a busy editor with a fat slush pile, I'd be putting it in my B pile.
    A is potential
    B is like making the last 24 competitors on American Idol
    C pile is rejection.

  10. I agree with the others. This needs a bit of polish.
    I'm a little confused about where this is going or what your hook is. My advice would be to cut back a bit on the flowery description and make your hook stand out more. If it's the orders the council has given Alphas, then maybe give us a small hint about them and why he's torn.
    A little polish and some reworking and this will be great!

  11. Not hooked. This needs a lot of work. I'd suggest letting us in on what the council's orders were, as well as what it is that Alphas thinks is the right thing to do.

    Also stick to one POV. Don't go into the thoughts of his offspring. And say what you mean. Don't try to be literary or poetic. Keep it plain and simple, at least until you have a story that works, then if you want to be poetic or literary, add it in later. Keep at it and it will end up where you want it to be.

  12. This one is very, very overwritten, with lots of flowery, overdeveloped descriptions. I stopped reading after the first paragraph. I'm sorry!