Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October Secret Agent #23

GENRE: Futuristic Fantasy

Georgia wrapped both arms around her friend and held the struggling girl tight. “Maisie! Come up! You can do it. Focus.”

Maisie continued thrashing from side to side. Both girls fell and Georgia landed hip first on the wooden floor. Pain shot through her pelvis; she gasped and stifled a growl. She wanted to shout, “Pull yourself together!” But Maisie didn’t need more provocation or another focus for the rage that wasn’t her own, that she hadn’t learned to control.

Getting angry wouldn’t help. This wasn’t Maisie’s fault.


Sure, spellwrights at her level should be able to cope with the effects of a minor spell without trying to kill their friends. And if Maisie toughened up and developed a little confidence, Georgia wouldn’t be risking her life by being in the same room when Maisie practiced.

Stop it, Georgia. She blew out a loud breath and climbed to her feet. Everybody learned at a different rate, she reminded herself. Friends lend each other strength when they need it. And right now, Maisie needed it.

Maisie sprang across the living room and threw herself at the locked kitchen door. She battered it with her fists, screaming words that, under conditions of sanity, she would have blushed to whisper.
Maisie gave the door a final kick and spun back toward Georgia. Georgia braced herself for another attack, but before Maisie had taken two steps, she slowed and then stopped. She dropped her hands and shuddered, and Georgia knew the girl had come back to herself.


  1. I had to read it twice to understand what was happening, but that could just be me. Now that I get it, though, I'm hooked. Sounds like a cool concept. I'd keep reading to see where you go with it.

    One thing--I think the title combined with "Come up!" in the first bit of dialogue is what caused my confusion. I thought the two were related but after reading through they obviously aren't. Maybe considering tweaking the dialogue for clarity? Just a suggestion. :)

  2. I had the same problem as Abby. The concept is cool, the writing is strong and I like the characters, but I was confused.

    I think I felt this way because the story started in the middle of action without context. A couple of paragraphs that set the scene would have helped me.

  3. Interesting idea here. But I would like to know where Maisie is thrashing from side to side...a bit more scene setting woudl do this well. I think.

  4. Because of the title and 'come up' I thought they were trying to fly. I really like that you started with action and gave us Georgia's feelings. The spellwright paragraph explained what was going on but it felt a bit like an info dump. Could it be incorporated into dialog, maybe?

    I'm intrigued by this, though, and would definitely read on.

  5. I like being dropped into the middle of a scene like this. Great stuff. I don't care to know all the answers in the first page. I don't even care where they are at the moment; the point is that something interesting is happening, which is all I really want.

    I'm hooked :)

  6. I liked this, but I did think you could do without the explanation in the middle. It's clearly there for the reader. Once Georgia falls and bangs her hip, the story stops. Both girls are lying on the floor, waiting patiently for Georgia to explain. Four pargs later, Georgia finishes and Maisie springs from the floor and charges the door. This should have happened moments after they crashed to the floor.

    Perhaps rewrite the scene so that the explanation comes after Maisie calms down. As they're sitting there tring to catch their breath, Georgia can think about all the stuff you now have in the middle or better yet, she and Maisie can have a conversation about it. Keep the action scene an action scene from start to finish.

  7. This is intriguing and I'd keep reading: I did have the same problem of confusion (had to read it twice also to make sure I knew what was happening)....and I thought Barbara had an elegant solution, keeping the action going, then reflection after; otherwise the reader gets lost in space.

  8. Thank you all for your kind words and great suggestions. I'm revising like mad. I just wish I'd waited until today to submit for the Baker's Dozen so I could have included what I learned from you. Aargh! The agony of hindsight!

  9. I like the set-up of the scene; helping a friend do “homework” but in a life-threatening way. However, for me this isn’t quite working line-by-line. Some of the phrasing is confusing and gets in the way of the flow of reading.