Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July Secret Agent #32


Amara ran her hand along the rose-colored stone until she found the entrance. Pressing her back against the wall, she shoved open the door, revealing a narrow den.

"I've got it," she said, dangling the necklace in front of his nose. "I could have taken whatever you wanted from the safe. You know as well as I do that the necklace works as the key."

Harun's eyes did not acknowledge Amara's presence. Instead, he continued chopping a mango into thick, precise slices.

"I wanted to know that you could be discreet." His fat lips curled into a grin while he powdered the mango with chili pepper. "A quality which you are sorely lacking."

Amara's fists tightened, clutching the necklace. "You say that only because I'm a woman. I'm tired of these petty missions. I can steal from even the most alert vendors with my right hand tied behind my back, I--"

Before she could complete her sentence, Harun leapt from the tattered stool and pushed her back against the wall. His dirty fingernails dug into her shoulders, and she inhaled his sour breath.

"I have a special mission for you. One if completed successfully would earn you your marks. Watch your tongue before I change my mind," he growled, grabbing her chin.

"Is this the girl?" a gravelly voice asked.

Harun's eyes darted to the corner and he dropped to his knees, forcing Amara to grovel beside him. "Sir, forgive me. I was not expecting you this early."


  1. I'm hooked--interesting kickoff... No real comments as far as editing goes. Your writing's tight, and you've established a nice start. Good stuff~

    best of luck!

  2. Wow. I'm reading on. The one thing I want to know is where this takes place. I'm sure that's upcoming, though. "Inhaled his sour breath." Ooo, that's gross!

    Only line I fumbled with was "One if completely successfully"--is that a typo?


  3. This is great. I'd read on for sure. I'm so curious to know what the special mission is.

    The only suggestion I have is for that mission paragraph and possibly putting the sentence that says, "Watch your tongue before I change my mind." first and then have him tell her about the special mission.

    Great job!

  4. My first suggestion is to read your dialogue aloud or have a friend read it to you in the same passionate tone as your characters. See if the conversation rings true, sounds realistic.

    Also, don’t tell the reader what they should feel.

    Example: “Harun's eyes did not acknowledge Amara's presence.” You are ‘telling’ us he didn’t acknowledge her. ‘Show’ us with a scene.

    “Amara's fists tightened, clutching the necklace” This is good. Here we know she is irritated. You give the reader a chance to paint the scene in his or her own mind.

  5. Yep, I like historical fantasy and I would totally keep going. I like her spirited defense (shows some hot-headedness). And then you did the classic villain switch (I love it) - make us dislike Harun and peg him as a bad guy, and then have HIM grovel on the floor - thus making the new character automatically more important and scary.
    The only thing was the "One if completely successful..." sentence was a little awkward. Might be simpler just to say, "If you do it right, you'll be in." But that's just niggling. Great story!

  6. The opening was rough and unclear, but it got interesting toward the end. The first two paragraphs don't really set up the situation. They're too vague. She's pressing up against a wall, but where. A hidden wall in a home? A secert cave in a cliffside? Give us more here.

    Once Harun enters the picture, things get interesting. (Now there's conflict) Be careful of the telling sentences which really weaken the piece. Try to write more lines like 'His fat lips curled . . .'

    I'd read on.

  7. I thought this was ok. I'd be interested to read more.

    The beginning couple paragraph was difficult to get through. I actually think you could get rid of the it and start with the second.

    Good luck!

  8. This is really interesting and I've never read steam punk so I'd definitely read on.

    Love how we think Harun's in charge, then appears this other guy who is really in charge.

    I got tripped up on the logistics fo the 1st paragraph. She opens the door, then she talking to someone and shoving the necklace under his nose. I think it would have helped me if you had a sentence about her going in and approaching her or letting us know where she is as she moves from place to place.

    Good Luck.

  9. The first paragraph was a bit confusing, but I liked the situation. I had a good sense of her personality. Nice details, like the mango with chili pepper, dirty fingernails.

    "Is this the girl?" shows us Amara is in for trouble. She seems eager for it. :)

  10. I agree that the writing is a bit rough in that it feels like there is description missing which is causing a break in the flow. If you decide to keep this openeing, I recommend taking your time with the action and details.

    Although, I think it would be interesting to open with the thieft.

  11. I liked the first paragraph. The second and third paragraphs just didn't work for me--they are awkwardly worded. But I did enjoy the conversation between Harun and Amara, and I was intrigued by the situation you set up. Spatial arrangement of the scene was a little funky--the gravelly voice threw me. If Harun looked to the corner and saw someone, then Amara would be seeing him as well, no? And yet, the last paragraph reads as though Amara isn't seeing the owner of the gravelly voice.

    That's little stuff, really, and it's a pretty easy fix. Bottom line: I would love to read more.

  12. This is an interesting beginning. I like how much we learn about the characters in the first paragraphs. How economical!

    A few concerns...

    In the first paragraph I didn't understand why Amara ran her hand along the stone wall to find the entrance. Is it dark? Is the den lit then? Shouldn't then Amara close the door quickly so that nobody would see the light. They are thieves after all, right?

    Also, when Amara dangles the necklace in front of Harun, I sort of assumed that this was what she stole, and then she says that the necklace was actually the key. Then what did she steal?

    These are of course minor things. I'd love to read more.


  13. I like the main character - she's got a great attitude & personality. You could tighten up, but I would read on (I love steampunk!)