Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April Secret Agent #20

TITLE: Be Careful What You Wish For
GENRE: Paranormal

Four hundred years ago . . .

Dark waves crashed over Robert as he fought to keep the ship headed into the waves. The storm's ferocity was daunting, but he wasn't worried. The storm couldn't hurt him.

His mind wandered briefly to the silver flask secured in his vest pocket. The genie in the flask - the reason he was captain of this fine ship, the reason for his success - was his guarantee everything would be fine.

When he first found the genie, he wasted a wish to get his useless wife. She was rich and beautiful, and he wanted her the first time he saw her. Robert wanted her to love him as deeply as he thought he loved her. He knew now love wasn't everything. A petite beauty and prize beyond any other as a wife of stature, but worthless in providing an heir. She couldn't give him the son he wanted, and spent all her time with their daughters, The Ladies Society, and giving away his money to some charity or another.

Taking this merchant fleet from the fat, lazy Duke who didn't deserve it was the wish he should have made first. It didn't matter, he had it all now. Almost. He had wealth and power, he just needed to replace his wife.


  1. I wonder if saying "four hundred years ago" means its a prologue and later on the story will begin in the present? I'm torn because I wish the narrative had stayed with the dark and stormy night instead of switching to background info about his wife, but if replacing his wife is something integral to the story then I can maybe understand why you mention it so early. If not, I'd like to read more about what's going on with being on a ship during the storm with a genie in his pocket.

  2. i would consider starting here...

    When he first found the genie, he wasted a wish to get his useless wife. She was rich and beautiful, and he wanted her the first time he saw her

    that is where I became interested-a good hook.

  3. "Four hundred years ago" is just dangling there, and confused me. Is this his thought? Or is this happening four hundred years ago?

    MC is not very likeable. He married his wife because of her beauty and social standing, and he'd angry because she's a good mother and charitable.

  4. I'm fine with the MC not being likable. I like the genie in the bottle thing. I'm not sure I like the "be careful what you wish for" because it is a cliche. The story stops for me, though, when you stop the action to tell me about the past in detail. Backstory can wait. You could cut that whole paragraph and say "Taking the fleet... should have been his first wish..." Then we know he's only got one left, etc.

    I like the action you have, I like the MC even though he seems to be a jerk, this is interesting.

  5. This is all back story. Admittedly, its interesting back story but we dont need it at this moment.

    Your MC could have imparted all this info from his living room sofa, yet you stuck him on a ship out at sea during a storm. Why? Tell us that. If the ship and the storm don't matter, start with him in a place that does matter.

    I'm guessing the four hundred years ago is the result of another wish - either long life or immortality. If the opening is actually 400 years ago, you might be better off placing him in the here and now (wherever that is at the moment) just to settle the reader into his reality, and then go do the flashback later.

  6. I agree with previous posters- a little less backstory.

  7. I would read on. I'd suggest removing everything after 'and he wanted her the first time he saw her' and carrying on from the last paragraph. In fact I'd even suggest making the last paragraph the first. The other stuff can be dropped in later but at the moment it takes the reader away from the focus, which is Robert. You manage to paint a good picture of his character without needing the additional wife stuff.

  8. Too much telling and not enough showing ... this is all background. Start your story with some action or dialogue, and weave this in as back story.

  9. I think this is a case of too much explanation. This reads almost like a summary or a prologue than the start of a story. In the first 250 pages, I know WAY too much, and it's a shame because I think there's some real potential for mystery and curiosity. For example, if Robert were to think about the flask in his vest and feel confident knowing that what was in it would guarantee his success, I'd be asking myself "what's in there!?!?"

  10. Agree with everything everybody else said. This could be an interesting story, but there's too much telling here.