Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October Secret Agent #45

TITLE: Into the Ether
GENRE: YA Dark Fantasy

She killed him with a piece of lace from her wedding gown.

Or, at least, she thought she did.

The truth was, when his soul cleaved from his body and rose with the lightness of a soap bubble toward the ever after, he felt it all. He felt the trembling of her hands as they flew, pink and swollen, to her face. He felt the warmth of her breath as she exhaled: a strange sound somewhere between disbelief and delight.

He felt the tickle of joy he usually got at the sight of her smile when she moved her hands to reveal a grin.

That, more than anything—more than her betrayal, more than his death, more than what it would mean for his family—made him sad. That even though she’d murdered him, he still loved her.
Wind rushed over him as she grew smaller and smaller below, as he gusted away toward the clear starry sky and whatever waited for him there. The moon clung to the horizon, huge and yellow. Perhaps that was where Paradise lie, on the dark side of the moon.

But he headed straight up, away from the moon and into the darkness between the stars. For a moment, it seemed as if the entire universe stretched before him. And then he was sucked somewhere . . . between. A tidal wave of force grabbed what little form he retained and pulled him into a place that was nowhere, and everywhere.


  1. Hi! I write YA and some dark fantasy, so I had to check your entry out. Love the first sentence. LOVE IT! Caught me by the throat and yanked me in. :)

    I got a little confused when the POV came from the guy because from the first two sentences, it seemed it was from the female's POV. That could just be me, though. ;)

    Thanks for sharing and good luck!

  2. Agree with Rachel. The lede still needs to be his POV. His bride had killed him with the lace from her wedding gown.

    I liked the writing here, especially liked the soap bubble metaphor... My concern is that having your protagonist feel a pang of love at the sight of his murderer's gleeful smile that he's dead...that's not just lovestruck, that's full on crazy. Unless you want to set up your protagonist as pathologically obsessed, I think you might want to consider toning it down.

  3. Agree with other commenters. Why would he love someone who killed him? Or thought she did?

    The Or thought she did is confusing, because later he's obviously dead. Maybe fix this.

    Great idea though! Keep revising.

  4. The POV change threw me too. And I have no sympathy for this girl he loves... she sounds nuts... so it's a little hard to relate to him. If you take out his observations about her, or maybe put his love in past tense, this would be a very gripping opening. Good luck!

  5. I'm in agreement with others re: the POV shift, but other than that, loved this opening. The soap bubble metaphor was brilliant, and I was actually okay with the line about still loving her despite her killing him. I mean, I'll need to see some reasons further on in the story--but at this point I'm willing to suspend disbelief long enough to wait for the explanations. I'd definitely keep on reading this. Fascinating opening.

  6. Nothing to add beyond what's been said above. Killer opening line (pun intended!) Best of luck with this.

  7. Great opening line! I have to disagree with the other comments about the line when he realizes he still loves her. I really liked this because it seemed realistic and very human to me. I like it because he realizes love is not something you can turn on and off, even if the person you love turns out not to be the person you thought they were at all. That's where the real heartbreak kicks in. I'd read on.

  8. AHN, even thought she just strangled him to death? And the smile he's finding so endearing is a smile of glee that she succeeded in KILLING him? I guess the beauty of literature is that we all see something different. But fwiw, I'm not getting heartbreak at all; I get madness...

  9. I love the first line, too, but in YA? I don't think I've ever seen a YA book with a protagonist who is married. At the beginning, anyway. I understand Bell got married before the Twilight books were done, but I never made it that far. But she started off single.

    I agree with the changing POV. I prefer books done all from one POV, but I'll read mutiple POV, but not that quickly. You need to get into the main character on the first page it's hard to tell who that is here.

    Good luck.

  10. I agreee with the comments about the POV switch. It really threw me. Also I agree with Anonymous, above, that it's odd to have a married MC in YA. If your MC is out of high school, you're probably looking at Adult Fiction.

    I don't mind that he still loves her, even after she's killed him - especially if the murder was sudden, or in the heat of anger r something. It seems a very human reaction, and probably something he'll have to come to grips with.

  11. The first line is very catchy and the second really hooks the reader. The POV change does mess up the flow a bit. And when we find out he really is dead, it makes that awesome second sentence meaningless.

    I did like how he still loves her even though she is a homicidal maniac but don't think he would feel a tickle of joy at her grin. And how did he feel the tremble of her hands as they flew to her face? They weren't touching him anymore, so he couldn't feel them. Maybe he saw them tremble?

    It didn't even occur to me about the marriage part vs the intended audience until the previous commenter mentioned it, but he/she was does seem a bit mature for the audience. Maybe it could be her Prom dress...if they are teens.

    And I don't know why but that last sentence into a place that was nowhere, and everywhere had me roll my eyes...which isn't great if I'm to turn the page because I might just put this down at that point.

    It sounds intriguing and I'd probably read more because I'm a sucker for stories about the afterlife.

    Thanks for sharing and best of luck!

  12. Basically agree with everyone else - killer first line, confusing apparent POV switch, married seems odd for YA and actually the whole tone seems more adult than YA. But I would definitely read on.

  13. Hey folks,

    This is my entry. I just wanted to clear up the POV thing. It's actually all, this entire first page, from his POV. There is no switch.

    Don't get me wrong, I see the confusion and appreciate your feedback and bringing it to my attention. But it's all his POV.

    As for the rest of the questions, these are all things you'd have to read on to find out. :)

    Thanks for reading!

  14. I thought this was nicely done and I loved the opening sentence, but I did wonder about the next one – at least she thought she did – which implies she didn’t really and that he (the dead guy) knows what she really killed him with. But you don’t go there. So did she kill him with the lace or not? Aside from that, I thought it worked well.

  15. loved the opening line. It definately pulled me in despite the whole POV issue. The emotions expressed of how he feels as he travels to somewhere. . . between is marvelous. Nice

  16. This whole opening screams to me ADULT! The wedding dress, cleaving his soul from his body, the language, and even the tone of the piece are much more adult than any YA I've read in many years.

    Honestly, this is probably more of a crossover book geared toward an adult audience but with an appeal for teen readers. I just think you'll have a harder time pitching this to agents and editors as YA, as the tone definitely skews older.