Saturday, December 4, 2010

#12 Urban Fantasy: Hidden in Shadows (BAKER'S DOZEN AGENT AUCTION)

TITLE: Hidden in Shadows
GENRE: Urban Fantasy

As a paranorm with the ability to create and hide in shadows, assassin Lorna has been searching in vain to find her father's murderer when the Paranormal Intelligence Agency tries to recruit her and her power. If Lorna will kill an innocent person, they'll tell her where her father's murderer is, but when she meets the man of her dreams and he despises her profession, Lorna has to decide if her thirst for revenge outweighs the love she never expected to need.

The man I stalked panted heavily as he looked around with quick darting movements. I handled the mountain trail with ease, but my prey muttered a curse every time he slid a few feet down the gravel. Guess drugs'll do that to you.

I'd waited four days for this: my opportunity to hunt and kill him at my leisure. Rocks tumbled down the worn path, and I ducked behind an oak tree. The slowly setting sun blinded me when I peeked around to watch my prey.

He stood, hunched over, his hands on his knees. His labored breathing shook his large frame, his face bright red. If he continued at this pace, I might not have to do anything. His heart could give out.

But I couldn't rely on the possibility of a heart attack. He had to die by my hand. I removed the large knife from its sheath inside my right boot and risked another peek.

The man now sat on the edge of the path, idly picking up pebbles and dropping them into a pile. The orange-red clay soil of Driskill Mountain, Louisiana dyed his trembling, pudgy fingers. Even from this distance, I could see the telltale shoot-up marks on his arms and the cold sweat on his face.

Why is he climbing the mountain? Didn't think druggies cared for exercise.

A loud groan came from the man. My prey left behind a large mound of rocks and resumed climbing.

As did I.


  1. I'm not sure about the logline. If she is an assasin, why is killing someone such a big deal? And is her goal to FIND her father's murderer or KILL him?

    As for the excerpt, I think you do a great job at creating this scene but you might need to create a tiny bit of empathy for the main character. Maybe mention the dead father or spend a few more words on the fact that the prey is a horrible criminal. You almost get it when you say he's a druggie but I feel like I need just a little more.

  2. Logline:
    I got a little lost--what does killing an innocent have to do with the man of her dreams?

    Line comments:
    -The first paragraph implies drug use, but I'm not sure which part of the drug use you're referring to. Drugs make you slide of gravel? Pant heavily?

    Because the main character starts off hunting a human--a druggie, but still a human--I'm immediately unsympathetic to her. If I knew her background--or at least her motivation--I'd be more inclined to read on.

  3. If your MC is an assassin I think it either needs to be a humorous novel or you need to find a way to make sure the reader sympathises with her, which you don't in the logline. In the excerpt, you repeat the word prey too many times, but it's quite atmospheric.

  4. The thing about this excerpt is... I feel like I've seen dozens of predator-stalking-prey openings like this, and to be honest, they all run together in my mind. There's gotta be a more interesting place to start.

    Very nice description though.

  5. The log line isn't very clear. There's one idea too many in that first sentence, so it doesn't read well. And it sounds like the PIA wants her to go kill just anybody, so you might want to be more specific as to who this person is ( a supposed murderer who later turns out to be innocent as opposed to some unlucky guy who just happens to be passing by?)

    Excerpt - in parg 2 she's blinded by the sun, then immediately tells us (in parg 3) what she's sees. If she's blinded, she can't see it.

    I wondered why a man running for his life, or at least in a hurry, (he's huffing, puffing and panting) suddenly sits down and makes a pebble mountain. If he was just hiking, wouldn't he have been traveling at a more leisurely pace? The fact is, I don't know if he's hiking or running and I should.

    And if she's waited four days for this (which sounds like she's been looking forward to it) why doesn't she kill him when he's sitting there playing with the pebbles? It makes me question her skills as an assassin, as well as the writer's knowledge of assassins.
    In the end, I'm not believing the situation. It doesn't come off as real.

    Perhaps add more details to help make things clearer?

  6. Logline - There's a lot of information here and it's easy to get a little lost in it all. I think some condensing would be to your advantage because in this case less might be more.

    Excerpt - You set the scene for the chase well here, but I think we need to know a little more about the main character's motivation for needing to kill this man. We don't know if she's been ordered to do it or if she's a sociopath and it's a thrill kill. Also, at first the prey seems to know that he's being followed, but then he sits down to rest? So the whole situation is not very clear. I think a few lines could easily clarify all of that.

    Good luck!

  7. I liked this. The logline's long, but I get it, no problem. And I like the excerpt, especially the sarcastic/snarky remarks about druggies exercising, etc. (I know many think only teeenagers are allowed to be sarcastic, but I think adult women invented it, or at least perfected it. You can't go through PMS/menopause without sarcasm.) But the sarcastic remarks breaks up what could be another fight scene and makes it different, and is what would keep me reading.

    I do agree about the sun blinding- make it "the setting sun momentarily blinded me" and you'll be fine!

  8. I'm really torn about this one. I feel like you did a great job setting the scene, get us into the action, etc. And it's a really intriguing premise.

    But I'm just not sure I can get past the fact that she intends to commit murder in order to avenge a murder. I can deal with a character who would consider this... But if she actually does it, I just can't like her.

  9. Thanks for your comments, everyone!

    I didn't think it would be realistic to have Lorna overly reflect on the target as she's stalking him. At the end of the scene, she does. I guess the tidbits I added about him being a druggie aren't quite strong enough to make Lorna sympathetic to the reader. Definitely something I'll have to think on and redo.

    Barbara and DJ - I originally had "momentarily" and then edited it out. Sometimes you edit out the good with the bad! And I should add the word "unsuspecting" before the first time I use prey. At first, the druggie doesn't realize he's being followed.

  10. I'm not really hooked. Sounds pretty hypocritical if she's an assassin who wants to find a murderer, even if it was of her father. I don't really find assassins sympathetic as protagonists, so it would take a character that really stood out to hook me, and this isn't doing it.

    The sample isn't hooking me either. The voice is serviceable, but not outstanding, and it's confusing me why she's following him. Good description of the surroundings. It's unclear what time period this is, though.

    The logline also got confusion following "tell her where her father's murderer is," because meeting the man of her dreams feels like a non-sequitur.