Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September Secret Agent #11

TITLE: God's Girl Friday
GENRE: Urban Fantasy

Yuri leaned back against the building. The chill of the gas station's stucco bit through her Columbia windbreaker and the black tank top beneath. The early-morning May sun peaked over the top of the one and two story buildings lining the street. She pulled her sunglasses from inside pocket of her tan jacket, donning them before her pupils could adjust to the post-dawn light.

She checked the abused but well maintained Chronoswiss on her wrist: oh-six thirty-three. Her contact was scheduled to arrive in less than a minute. Sighing, she shoved her hands in her jacket pockets, grateful she'd dumped the manicured fingernails after her last job and didn't have to worry about breaking them on her MP9's four extra magazines. She wondered how long she would be waiting this time.

They're on time? That's new.

A van approached, the cracks in its navy paint merging with heavy rust. The sun winked off the chipped blue and chrome oval on the hood as the vehicle pulled into the convenience store's lot and came to a gentle halt next to one of the pumps. Through the windshield, she saw the agitated driver struggling with what she assumed was the shifter on the steering column. A series of grinding clunks groaned from beneath the extended-cab van.

A thin man stepped from the driver's side, pausing to remove his blazer. He walked with a long gait to the dumpster on the north side of the lot and gave the refuse a quick once-over.


  1. There's a lof of good stuff here, but I have to say I'm not hooked.

    What I got:
    1. Your MC has a lot of designer "stuff" (lots of brand names).
    2. Your MC does "jobs" for people who aren't very professional.
    3. Your MC wears disguises, but doesn't like long fingernails.

    This just isn't enough to draw me in.

  2. I like how this instantly draws me into the middle of the scene. (I am all about in medias res!) I can instantly feel the tension of what Yuri is waiting for, of what is about to happen. I like the italicized interjection of her internal dialogue.

    I do think that the descriptions are a bit heavy (do I need to know that her jacket is by Columbia, that it's a windbreaker, that it's tan, in separate sentences?) and could be a bit more succinct. Because of my familiarity with Russian language, I was caught off-guard that Yuri was a girl. However, I am intrigued. Good luck!

  3. The big thing that bumped me out was the line "They're on time? That's new" right after she wondered how long she'd be waiting and before we saw the trigger for this thought. It feels out of order.

    I like the line about her fingernails - it tells me about her personality in a nice way.

    I do agree with Lorien that there's too much description, I think, even though some of the description is well done.

    I think if this was streamlined a little, it would be more compelling.

    Good luck!

  4. I'm intrigued! Although discovering Yuri was a girl was a bit of a surprise. But in away, it made it better. You don't often find girls packing big guns and waiting for marks.

    I want to know who she's looking for, and why. I like the description because you've managed in just a few words, to paint a very complete picture.

  5. I,too, am familiar with Russian and so was caught off guard by Yuri being a female. Also, the designer name dropping has to go. Too much, too soon.

    I like the "They were on time ..." line, but it should have been after the "van approached" line. Otherwise, there's no trigger for her thought.

    I'm mildly intrigued.

  6. There are a lot of contrasts in this scene, which ups the tension (fingernails, MP9). Yuri is interesting from the beginning because of her name and her clandestine tactics.

    There's too much description in the beginning - it's not important to the reader now if it's May or what she's wearing. Her thought should be after the van's approach. She seems very calm under the circumstances and emotion is important in the hook.

  7. I would not drop brand names either, seems to ingenuine, as if it's just to impress.

    interested in a GIRL name Yuri and that it sounds like she kick butt.

  8. Overall, this is written well and I'm curious what she's waiting for, but the over-use of adjectives would probably keep me from reading on. There's barely a noun here that doesn't have an adjective attached. Decide which of these details are truly important and cut the rest.

  9. I like this. I'd find a better way to describe her expensive but serviceable taste than dropping brand names. That's a little lazy. I like the mention of the magazines in her pockets. We really get the idea that she's a badass without having to be told. You're descriptions really set the scene and I'm interested to see what happens next.

  10. I'm going to agree with the rest of the comments.

    1. Too many adjectives and needless descriptions. The jacket is especially awkward. Snip. Make your nouns work harder. Keep in mind that, unless the character is a fashion junky, she probably isn't thinking a whole lot about the brand/color/style of her clothes.

    2. The internal dialogue was jarring, especially since the reaction -- the dialogue -- comes before the catalyst -- the van arriving. Make sure the order of events and reactions make sense.

    3. Again, a lot of this is devoted to description. The only things that happen are Yuri leaning and a van arriving with someone who seems interested in a Dumpster. You don't need 250 words for that.

    That said, I did find the premise intriguing. I'd be curious to see what this is all about.

  11. I wasn't hooked. It was just too 'average' for me. Seems to be about spies, but theres no mention of what kind. It's just an average day. There's nothing about the MC that makes her stand out, nothing about the bad guys, or the writing or the voice. It was just too bland. A woman sat in a car and waited. Perhaps rethink this?

  12. Some good writing here. Just needs a little polish. I agree that we don't need so much on the designer names. There seems to be a word missing from the last sentence of your opening paragraph. 'from the inside pocket'. Or 'from inside the pocket'.

    We should see the van before she comments. Otherwise there's a moment of confusion, as you just had her wondering about waiting.

    Do we need all the details about the agitated driver? Or are the van's problems going to be important?

    You set the scene well, and I get a good sense of Yuri. I'm intrigued about what her job is and what's about to go down. Somewhat hooked.

  13. You lost me off the bat with the designer name dropping. Almost won me back with Yuri as a girl's name, and loved the fingernail comment.

    I'm on the fence. I'd probably keep reading, but it would have to pick up soon. You set the scene really well.

  14. Every word should function to help either give us details about your character or move the plot forward.

    I like the title. I like the opening two sentences, but as soon we we hear too many details about how she pulled her sunglasses from the inside pocket of the tan jacket - these just aren't details we need. (Unless there's something important about the fact that it was the inside pocket? etc.)

    The descriptions of the action are well done and I'm interested in what might happen plot-wise, but I don't care about Yuri yet. We need more of her in this scene.