Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April Secret Agent #41

GENRE: Urban Fantasy

"There's no flipping way I'm going in there!" Cassie planted her feet and locked her arms against the doorframe. "Do you hear what I'm saying, Zoey?"

She stiffened as her friend pushed her from behind.

"Why do you have to make this so difficult?" An exasperated Zoey gave her another shove, this time crouching and digging a shoulder into her back.

Gritting her teeth, Cassie bent her knees and sunk her weight further into the floor. She might not have the height or weight advantage, but she knew how to make her petite size count. With a smile she said, "I think all that blond on top your head has finally sunk into your brain." Her hand released the door for a split second to sweep around the room. "Don't you see this place? This is NOT the answer."

Zoey jumped on the opportunity, grabbing Cassie's free hand and dragging her into the cramped room. Crystal skulls, long tapered candles, and navy colored drapes with sequence and stars filled the space. Sickly sweet incense wafted through the air. Two desperate looking elderly women dressed in black waited their turn on a red velvet couch. The sight had Cassie spinning one hundred and eighty degrees, pulling free of Zoey's grip and bee lining to the exit. She'd made it to the hallway, before Zoey tackled her in a bear hug and pleaded with her to stay.


  1. The first line grabbed me, along with Zoey's response. After that I got a little lost. I guess I was expecting more explanation of where they were and why.
    The description of the room is good, although I believe you meant 'sequence' to be 'sequins', but I feel like a lost something or am not as involved as I should be after the first couple bits of dialogue.

  2. Excellent. I would definitely read more.

  3. I'd read more, though I admit to be irritated at the character who gives up her hold on the door to gesture. I also don't think you need "exasperated" and could do it more with showing than using that telling adjective. And rather than stiffened maybe "braced." It has a bit more of the "prepared for assault" in it. :)

    I also wonder how old these girls/womean are. It is urban fantasy, not YA, but they come off as pretty young because of the doorframe clinging, etc. So if they are older, you'll need to explain this behavior at some point (not now, it can stay something for later, it's just my reaction).

    But yeah, I'd read further. I'm interested.

  4. "I think all that blond on top your head.." Is "on top your head" a play at regionalism or a typo?

  5. Oh, yeah, HOOKED.
    At first, I didn’t feel much emotion but the last paragraph reeled me in. I want to know more.
    Some minor edits (and this is more opinion than one of the Ten Commandments):
    If you can avoid loading your MS down with ‘ing’ words, it might help the flow.
    Good luck!

  6. I liked it :) I got a strong sense of both characters' personalities.

  7. I was wondering about the age of the characters, too. Is this supposed to be YA? The characters sound perfectly age appropriate if they are teens, but not quite right if they are supposed to be adults. (This might just be a mistake in the genre listing here.)

    You might want to try a little more showing than telling. For instance, when you describe the room with the candles, skulls and drapes, it feels like you're just listing what's around, rather than showing the flickering light on the walls (from the candles) or the way the crystal skulls catch that light. More of this to set the scene and I'd keep reading.

    This has potential. :-)

  8. I liked it and would read further. It was the last paragraph that hooked me. This is a personal thing - but I didn't like the stereotypical blonde line. I would agree with the genre question. This felt like a YA to me. Their actions screamed teen to me.

  9. I think you're making a mistake in trying to keep back from the reader where they're going (although I'm guessing from the last para it's a magic shop or something.) We already don't know who these girls are apart from that they're friends - I want more info at least about where they're going. Plus I think the 'fight' to get in the door takes too long and isn't that interesting.

    Not hooked, sorry.

  10. Definitely seems YA. Last line a bit awkward - tackling/bear hugging and pleading don't often occur at the same time. This is a lot of words to tell us that Zoey wants to go into this room (seance? fortune teller?) and Cassie doesn't - but so far I don't care about either character and have no idea what the story may be. So it unfortunately doesn't grab me. (The writing isn't bad - just nothing here for me to hang my hat on.)

  11. Description of the shop, age of characters, letting go of the doorframe, sequins on drapes, all noted already. Aside from that, maybe tighten up the wording a bit on passive tense and descriptions. I like it and would read more.

  12. I won't repeat what others have said, I'll just add that 'bee lining' doesn't sound right to me. I know the phrase and I'm sorry I can't be more specific, it just sounds odd. As always though, just my personal opinion.

    I'm not hooked yet but I would read a few more pages to see if things become clearer.

  13. While your writing is fine, these characters seem way too familiar, like I have already read their stories elsewhere.

  14. This seems like fake conflict. If Cassie didn't want to go to this place so badly, why would she let her friend get her pretty much the entire way there? I'd rather see what's in this room they're going to because that's where the story seems to start and have some comment/thought about how Cassie wished her friend didn't drag her there or something like that.

  15. Not hooked. The story seems to be in that room, and you take too long in getting there, and once they're in, they go out again, so we're left in the same situation we started with.

    It's not enough that Carrie doesn't want to go in. Let us know why she doesn't want to go in. What's her motivation? Same with Zoey. Why is she so set on going inside? What do these girls want? What's the point of the scene?

  16. Good clean writing and the story moves you right along with it.

  17. I thought this was amusing, and I like the conflict between these two, but I think it veers toward overkill because it seems to me the story is about where they're going and what they're doing there, and it takes them too long to get it.

    I also don't quite buy the Zoey tackling Cassie. If these two are so close, I want to see some intimate pleading and conversation as opposed to this "no" "yes" "NO" "YES" "TACKLES!" escalation.

    You start to get at it when Cassie says "this is not the answer," but then nothing from Zoey. Isn't she hurt? Why or why not? Why does Cassie refuse? I just want something that feels more genuine going on between them.

  18. Hee hee, this is cute. I'm definitley curious about why they're where they are (not sure what to call it) Very intriguing opening.