Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August Secret Agent #8

TITLE: The White Phoenix
GENRE: Dark Fantasy

Silas Wolfe was used to women staring at him. He supposed they had a reason to, though. His reputation as the town heartthrob no doubt warranted such behavior.

Except, he didn't think that was any excuse for a woman who was blind.

He stared back. He *never* stared back, but it was just such an odd prospect that he couldn't help himself.

She stood on the other side of one of the bazaar's few crowded avenues. There were merchants selling goods from every corner of the land. Mysterious wanderers came and went without so much as a sound. And then there were the everyday townspeople who, as soon as they left, would return to their quiet village lives.

This woman didn't fall into any of those categories.

Could it be that she wasn't blind? That the sun, as it was awfully bright today, made it seem so, or that her eyes were the lightest shade of blue? Who's to say it was even him she was looking at? With so many people, so many sights, surely this woman was looking at something behind him.

He threw a glance over his shoulder. All he found was an old, rickety wagon and the bare wall of the side of the tavern. Nothing of any interest.

He turned to her again.

If she was indeed blind, perhaps it was just coincidental that she was looking in his direction. But Silas knew when someone was staring at him.

And she was definitely staring.


  1. The writing here was really well done, but I'm not sure it makes sense. How would he know she's blind? And if she's blind, how would he know she's staring? It's implied that he just knows, but that's not really enough, especially since this is where the story is starting. But that's just my opinion, and a humble one at that. :)
    The writing was really well done though, and I'm hooked even if I don't know exactly what's going on.

  2. Nicely done here. I'm intrigued by this man, and even more intrigued that a blind woman has intrigued him. =)

    A few more descriptive details about the woman being blind would certainly help. It would also be great to show your character as the heartthrob he is – perhaps through the dialogue of women passing by, etc.

    The other suggestion I have is cutting as much passive voice as possible. I love how the story moves forward inside the character's head, but too much passive voice can rob that voice of its power.

    Again, great job. I want to know where this story goes.

  3. The concept here is intriguing, but I found myself a bit lost. He's doing so much thinking, but I think the story could benefit from a little more action here at the beginning.

  4. I liked this but I think the line..."She stood on the other side of one of the bazaar's few crowded avenues." makes it seem like she's too far away for him to tell that she's blind. Is he right beside her or across the avenue? Maybe some action where he walks past and she turns in his direction as he walks by or just more info as to his proximity in relation to her. Other than that I'm intrigued to read more. Good luck!!

  5. I agree with the previous comments. The image of a blind woman staring at MC is powerful, but you seem ambivalent about her blindness; i.e., "if she was indeed blind." How about describing her as the woman with no eyes? Or as the blindfolded woman?

    Also, I don't think you can "throw" a glance.


  6. The writing here is too wordy for my tastes. For example, the first three paragraphs could be condensed to something like: “Silas Wolfe was used to women staring at him. He was, after all, the town heartthrob. Except, he’d never seen a blind woman stare at him before.” And I don’t think you’d lose anything. It was irritating that the woman was labeled as blind, only to have her blindness called into question. If Silas isn’t sure, maybe it would be more impacting to have him discover her blindness at the end of the scene, from some passerby. As is you spend a lot of time establishing that a woman, who may or may not be blind, is staring at your protagonist, and that’s not enough.

  7. This disappointed me because I thought the premise you started with was so good, but it didn't come up to my expectations. The problem, I think, is that it's so passive.

    In the first parg. you say he is the town heart throb. This makes me think contemporary. Then we learn he's in a bazaar, which makes me think middle east and magic. Perhaps heartthrob is too modern a word for your story?

    I also thought the description of the bazaar could be so much more. Build it up so we feel like we're there. Show us the colorful costumes, let us see a fat merchant with a gold tooth, his wares piled up or hanging from the ceiling. Doing so would help place us in your world and make it more genuine.

    And then instead of talking about the blind woman, have her and Silas act. Instead of saying things like - who's to say she was even looking at him, perhaps show him walking around to see if her eyes follow him. Show us her eyes so we can understand why he thinks she's blind. Show the sun glinting off a gold chain around her neck instead of saying it was bright. Does she she squint in the sunlight? Does she blink? Get some movement and action in here. The potential is definitely here. Perhaps dig in a bit deeper than you have. Give us more details and less thinking. Focus a bit more on what they're all 'doing.'

  8. I like the setup and the premise and the MC Silas, and pretty much agree with the previous comments.

    I liked the "town heartthrob" line, but it may be too modern.

  9. I thought the narrative had a few bumps (others have already mentioned) but I was totally hooked. Loved the idea, would absolutely read more.

  10. I think that you cover the same point a little too many times here. Within the first three paragraphs, we know he's being stared at by a blind woman. I like that he checks, and that he questions that she may not be blind, but I'd like to see a little more action. Maybe interweaving a description of the bazaar while he tries to see if she really is looking at him (as Barbara suggested).

    I think you've got a good writing style that just needs a little paring down. I'm hooked.

  11. I like the concept that a 'blind' woman staring at him unnerved him to the point that he questioned her blindness. It made me question who she is - someone from his past, perhaps? She's blind, but obviously senses him somehow - is this through other highly developed senses or is it magic?

    A bit more description of the bazaar would be nice - just a few details and colors to help us visualize the scene.

    And I agree - heartthrob is too modern of a word for what feels to be a pre-modern society.

  12. Premise is just great, but it's too long for me, I think all this could be cut to a couple of paragraphs. I wasn't interested in his thought processes - at least not how they went on here - I don't care enough about the MC yet.

  13. i like an intrigue that a blind woman is staring at a man, makes me wonder if she has a sixth sense or something, but i don't need paragraph after paragraph of telling me.
    show us.

  14. fyi, word verification:

    undsm...the opposite of Des Moines.

    Chicago bustled with with culture, intrigue, gourmet five-star restaurants. It was so undsm.

  15. Author here.

    I just wanted to thank everyone for their input. I've rewritten my opening with your suggestions and concerns in mind, and I find myself much happier with the outcome.

    Thanks again. :)