Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October Secret Agent #8

GENRE: Adult Fantasy

Thaddeus and I stood on the sandy ground outside the five-story, red stone building that housed the precious medallion, the one he couldn't wait to get his greedy hands on. A yellow moon rose over a line of fir trees, so close, I could almost make out the outline of a man's face on its surface.

Breathing fast, as if ready for the beginning of an astounding meal or the end of a tumultuous sexual experience, he told me his theory about the ancient medallion and what it was doing here. "Somebody from the government packed the medallion away with other priceless relics, and put it into a wooden case stamped Top Secret." He chuckled and hid his motorbike in the bushes to the side of the building. "Those fools have no idea what they had."

"Good thing we do. Tell me about this medallion." I listened while thinking how glad I was that I'd worn boots and stretch black pants that day. Something told me I was in for some climbing.

Thaddeus talked with his hands like he always did when he got excited, while the wind blew strands of white hair across his cheeks. "The medallion exhibits many mystical qualities, including finding essences or entities across dimensions. When we get inside, look for a burnished gold medallion with a single crystal stone set near the top of the piece. The whole thing only weighs about 18 ounces, but yields results many times its weight in gold."


  1. There's some very good writing here but it could also use some cleaning up. I'm not sure what breathing hard has to do with getting ready for a meal and the parallel structure isn't quite right in the rest of the sentence. For it to work you have to be able to take the two items in the list and say the beginning part with each ending. "As if ready for the beginning of an astounding meal." "As if ready for the end of a tumultuous sexual experience." The second one doesn't make sense to me. Also, you could cut "tumultuous sexual experience" down to "great sex" and it would sound smoother.

    You might want to change "Tell me about this medallion" to "Tell me more about the medallion" since Thaddeus had already been talking about it. (I liked the Indiana Jones reference there and the fact that you didn't highlight it. It's more fun for the reader to feel like they got the joke without an explanation.)

    I'd like to know more about your main character. I would have guessed he was male but the line about stretch pants sounds more like a girl.

    I'd read a few more pages to see if they actually break in and if they get caught.

    Good luck.

  2. Fast paced, for sure, so that's a plus.

    I'd try to get rid of your expository dialogue-- show, don't tell. Also, I thought the title was a little melodramatic sounding, so I was hoping for some humor or irony in the text.

  3. This sounds like it could be a fun read, but so far the narrator's involvement with this medallion seems like they don't care about it but are only going to find it because of their friend. I think a stronger motivation from the narrator could make me feel more attached to the story.

  4. I'd definitely keep going. For what it's worth, I thought the MC was a female. I thought you did a good job establishing the relationship between the two characters. I got a dotty mentor and student vibe from them.

    I do think you could improve this with jut a few word changes. For some reason, the line about him hiding the motorbike stands out. Instead of "hid," try a different verb and we'd get a better picture - he crams it behind a bush, for example. Instead of telling us Thaddeus talked with his hands, describe what he's doing. Flapping wildly?

    But well done overall. I liked it!

  5. Unfortunately this passage didn't hook me :( I think the reason might be that the story doesn't really start here. For me, it read like backstory and backstory right in the beginning turns me off as a reader because I don't care yet. The first sentence of the second paragraph was also difficult to relate to - the comparison of breathing patterns before a great meal to those after sex just doesn't work for me and so ended up distancing me from your MC since I can't relate.

    I also suggest reading your dialogue aloud to check for authenticity - would the character really say these things or is it for the reader's benefit (data dump).

    I hope this feedback helps! Thank you for sharing your work and best of luck :)

  6. I feel like this is well written, but it didn't feel real to me because I kept asking myself, "why is the MC here with thaddeous in the dark about to break in and yet she knows nothing about what she's about to be doing." I think you either need to hint at why she knows nothing about what she's doing, or start earlier in time. otherwise it feels like you just start off in the thick of the action to get us hooked, and then need to have the MC clueless in order to info dump to the reader what's going on. At least that was my initial reaction for what it's worth.

    the meal thing threw me off a bit too. And what man's face was she seeing in the moon?

    good luck!

  7. This one didn't work for me for several reasons. In the first parg. you introduce the 'precious medallion.' It seems this will be an important item in the story. Perhaps name it. You know, like the Hope Diamond, the Sun of Osiris - something that makes it easy to refer to.

    The last sentence in that parg - it's the line of fir trees that is so close, not the moon. Perhaps rephrase to ... rose SO CLOSE over a line of fir trees I could . . .

    I don't think the breathing is working in parg 2. There's no reason for them to be breathing hard. They just got off a motorbike. The explanation for where the medallion is seems too close to Indiana Jones. Perhaps come up with something more original, and the tense is off in the last sentence.

    3rd parg. Good thing we do. If 'they' do, which includes the MC, why does she need to ask him to tell her about the medallion? 'Good thing we do,' infers she knows all about it. It's just to give Thad a reason to tell the reader. And that's what he does in the last parg, which is an info dump.

    Perhaps instead, show them skulking around, acting like thieves, like two people who aren't supposed to be there, and are up to no good. And give them a reason for having to have that medallion.

  8. There’s a tension to the writing which I like and a good setting of tone without behind heavy-handed. The dialogue, however, is kind of “As you know, Bob;” why would our narrator wait until they’re right about to break in to ask about what they were stealing? And why is Thaddeus’ theory straight from Indiana Jones? It doesn’t seem to have enough of a twist or quirk yet.