Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April Secret Agent #12

TITLE: Breaking Glamour

Darkness envelops me like a blanket as I run through the halls, breathless and blind. The penetrating cold of dank air ignites chills in my bones, the stuffy scent of dust lingering with moisture in the still air. There are noises in the back of my head; the soft trickle of water drops somewhere in the obscurity. I'm searching for something, a light in this impenetrable black.

Then, I see it; a slight glow emanating from the shadows. Sudden calm brushes my conscious, a newfound purpose emitting from my being, and I'm so sure this will lead to something; that it's not just another false hope. As I make my way toward it, I begin to see the distinct outline of a door. Strange patterns--so intricate that for a moment I find myself lost in them--mark the wall that bears it. The door itself lays unscathed, no touch of abuse etched upon its features but a vibrant energy pouring through it like the stream to an endless ocean of life. Promises of something great yet terrible whisper in my ear, taunting me, beckoning me to see what lies on the other side of the door.

Raising my head, I gaze at the entrance in its full glory. Thick vines, thorns sharp as needle points, crawl around its columns, blood red flowers stemming from its roots. I look down to my hands, so frail and unimportant next to an object of such power.

Carefully, I reach out.


  1. Oh, this is very intriguing and I'd definitely read on.

    There's one line in here that I'd cut "the stuffy scent of dust lingering with moisture in the still air" because right before it you're already describing "the dank air." I think it'll be repetitive if you leave it in.

    Other than that, I loved this.

  2. Love the language and the way you jump headfirst into the action. Interesting!

  3. I thought there was too much description here. SOme of it is excellent and some of it really says nothing at all. Perhaps go through it and keep concrete descriptions while eliminating those that aren't.

    A few issues - would she really be running through the pitch black darkness or moving slowly with her hands outstretched?

    dank is damp, wet, not cold. ANd if it's cold and dank, how can it be stuffy (hot and close)

    There are noises (plural) in the back of her head. You only name one (singular)

    The second parg was really nice and I thought it worked. The descriptions are working here.

    raising my head - you just gave us that wonderful description of the light and door, so her head must have already been raised in order for her to see it and describe it.

    bloodred flowers stemming from its roots - does the door have roots?

    Perhaps take another look and make sure you are actually saying what you mean.

  4. Sorry, not hooked. I think the second paragraph is very well written but I'm afraid nothing catches my interest. She's running and she finds a door. That's just my personal opinion though, and others disagree with me I'm sure!

  5. I also am not hooked because of the description. She's blind, then she's not (yeah, it is because of the darkness, but you don't say where the light is) she doesn't know where she is, so caution seems appropriate, not charging through. The columns come out of nowhere--it's a wall with a door, so I'm not sure what this is. "ignites" is an odd verb choice, since it's usually associated with fire, not chills and cold. You do drop us into the action, and that is interesting, but it almost feels like more of an experiment with language than a story. I admit I'm no YA guru, but the voice sounds older than a young adult, unless this is a very different time than the present. You don't establish time, place , or reality (is this the real world or something else?)--you don't necessarily have to get all three in the first 250 words, but I feel a little lost, and I'd like some kind of anchor.

  6. I like it, but at the same time felt like there was too much description. You are trying to use strong verbs, but some are on overload.

    This line is too much: Sudden calm brushes my conscious, a newfound purpose emitting from my being, and I'm so sure this will lead to something; that it's not just another false hope.

    I would keep reading to see where it goes.

  7. I like how you are unafraid to start off with a bang, but I'm sorry to say that this ventures into silly territory, at times. Some of the descriptions i.e "the river to an ocean of life" and "Sudden calm brushes my conscious, a new-found purpose emitting from my being" are overdone.

    I think, in part, it is because so much of this is too ethereal. With a few exceptions (the door, the hallway, scents and noises) this passage is entirely devoted to consciousness, energy, power, purpose, being, - all intangibles.

    Fantasy IS ethereal and intangible, as are strange whispers, energy, power, and consciousness. But people are earthbound and we all perceive even the most ethereal elements through the lens of reality.

    I feel like this MC has lost that lens. It makes her awfully hard to connect with.

    Descriptions are excellent, but I'd like to see you cull the excess and use imagery to ground your MC and make her more believable.

  8. I felt like this was a dream sequence. I kept expecting the MC to wake up. I had a good, intriguing sense of where she was but not who she was. I don't know why I'm even using "she" because there's nothign to tell me that the mc is female. Knowing the MC a bit better might hook us tighter.

  9. To me this is overwritten, too many adjectives - and not enough happening for a first page.

  10. I liked it :) I like the way you describe the location; it makes it easy to form a clear mental image. I would however suggest incorporating more characterisation, so that we have a clearer idea of the MC's personality.

  11. I'd like to read more of this story. I disagree about it falling in to "silly territory" rather the quality of the language you choose seems to me that it is highly reminiscent of a dream sequence.

  12. Thank you all for the constructive criticism and suggestions. :) Re-reading my writing with your comments in mind has been very helpful in finding ways to strengthen it. These first 250 words are a vision she (the MC) is given from another character's memories. It is therefore very close to a dream sequence, such as many of you mentioned.

  13. Hooked! Reading your post was very illuminating as I, too, thought this was a dream sequence. I really enjoyed this piece, I found your language choices strengthened the atmosphere. I would love to read the completed novel.