Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August Secret Agent #23

TITLE: The Beginning and the End
GENRE: Dark Fantasy

"And now a word from our sponsors," the staccato voice of the announcer clipped out over the spires of buildings that shimmered in the humid heat of afternoon.

Next a soft, sexless voice issued from the speakers strategically placed on rooftops around the city, from tabletop radios across the land.

"Mankind is weak; let us give you strength. Mankind is divided from within; let us mend you. Mankind is devoid of spirit; let us fill you.

"There are those wish to lead you away from the path of righteousness with temptations of pleasure and excess. Do not pay them notice for they will crumble to dust and fade away. Come to the Universal Truth. We will show you the way."

The announcer explained, "The previous announcement was paid for by the Friends of the Church of Universal Truth."

Dead air reigned for a moment before becoming host to a voice once more. This was a feminine voice, the voice of promise, a sultry invitation to awakening.

"Are you lonely, unhappy, terminally ill? Do you pass through life only a spectator to your own automatic actions? Within the walls of Adara Vega you will find serenity. Let us heal you, empower you, nurture you. Let us show you the path of transcendence, of desire, of love. Come to Adara Vega. We will show you the way." As mindless music returned in all cities across the land, within people's minds sprouted the seeds of desire.


  1. Okay, I am laughing myself silly over this submission and, after reading the first sentence, cleaning coffee from my keyboard.

    Hooked. After I got past the deluge of adverbs/adjectives in the first paragraph, I understood your cool intro. BUT be careful to end it there.

    Drop the ‘dulcet’ ‘faithful’. Go on an extended adverb/adjective diet. Swear off them for at least the first page. It makes the first paragraph stand out and gives the reader a break.

    ClichĂ© alert in the last paragraph, might want to make up your own phrase for ‘a fate worse than death’.

    I would trim a little (just a little) of the archaic speech, again to give the reader a break. Example: “…shut the … curtains…” (Next line) “Thus spoke Zelezabeth, rousing her maidservant.”

    Or something like that.

    Good Job! Loved it.

  2. Not hooked.

    Didn't care for the style or the 'V'like brainwashing.

    Sorry, not my taste.

  3. That first comment is for another entry, I think?????

    If I read the jacket cover and knew what was going on I might read on, but just this radio part doesn't interest me.

  4. Not hooked. We know nothing about who anyone is, where this is, etc. And it feels false that after THIS broadcast, seeds were sprouting. Why after this broadcast only? What about previous broadcasts? why is this one working?

    And then the big thing: surely if they have radios all over the land, that everyone MUST listen to, they would have been able to change people's minds earlier? Or even just FORCE them into this Adara Vega? If they have the power to make everyone in the world/land/city listen to these radio broadcasts .... why not just PUT them in Adara Vega already?

    This kind of fake stuff in writing just pisses me off.

  5. Sorry, but there's no MC here for me to connect to, and no problem, (although I can imagine many.) You gave me two commercials. Not hooked.

    Set your MC somewhere in this world and let him hear these radio commercials, then let us know what he thinks about them, how they make him feel, how they affect his life, etc, then you'll have a story, or at least the beginning of one.

  6. I'm confused by the story's location. Is it in a city as the first paragraph implies, or is it supposed to be a global location as the last paragraph implies.

    "placed on rooftops around the city, from tabletop radios across the land" is a confusing image. It conjured farmers sitting at tables in pastures listening to their radios. Could just be me, though.

    The last line fell limp. It's very passive. What types of desires? Lust? Greed? The desire for life never ending?

    Most importantly, who's the protagonist.

    There's too many questions for me to be hooked. I really like the premise, and I see where it could have potential, but that's based more on where I would go from here, not necessarily where the story has led me.

    Of course, maybe a lot of this becomes clear in the next 100 or so words.

  7. Drop the first 2 paragraphs and begin with the ad but make it specific to someone (MC?) who listens (not radios everywhere and shimmering rooftops) and reacts for a reason.

    Nothing about the ad created desire of any kind so the last paragraph did not seem to follow.
    Not hooked.

  8. Where is your main character? I hate to be so “establishment,” but there’s a reason why most novels begin by introducing a main character: readers connect more easily with other people than with commercial breaks. That said, I’d be interested in hearing about novels that successfully begin in this way. Needless to say, I’m not hooked.

  9. this sounded more like the beginning of a movie voice over, the camera panning over a distopian society or something, only to then focus on an MC, which the story is lacking. sorry, not hooked.

  10. I would start with the last paragraph and then get into your MC. Everything before that is unnecessary.