Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March Secret Agent #24

TITLE: Virtue Not Valid

“Make your move, Bevin.” The lights are low in the dining room but my skin is hot, hotter than before. The walls are high but they feel close. Caving. Are the walls caving or am I?


I look up from the hardwood floor. “I will,” I say, getting up and heading over to the cabinet on the other side of the table. I grab the lock hiding behind the china and open the bottom drawer. Take out a vial. “Just Promise me you won’t lurk outside the school. This is gonna take some time.”

Aunt Prue gives me a stern look but takes the vial from me anyway. She pours a drop in her coffee. “We have to get to Cole before the election. We can’t do this on our own.”

Yeah, I know. I also need to go to the supermarket and pick up some virtues. Courage. Celerity. My virtues expired again. All except one. That’s how it’s always been for me. The Patience in my veins won’t let me move a second earlier. If I’m going to get Cole on our side, I have to show Declan that I’m fully equipped for the job.

I put the Promise back in its place and take a vial of Responsibility from Aunt Prue as I head out the door.

Declan isn’t in the crowds of the school entrance but he’s here. He’s always here. Declan doesn’t need to buy virtues to get a perfect attendance. He’s Diligent on his own.


  1. Really interesting concept. I'm a little lost in this scene, but that might not be a bad thing. I'd read on. Good luck!

  2. It is an interesting concept, but I agree with Julia--I was a little confused through this. It might have gotten clearer if there were more text to see, but I think you might be rushing the reveal of this concept a little bit. I don't really know what the character's goal is here, or what their aunt is asking them to do, or who Cole is. I think it's worth it to make at least some of these details clearer. An interesting idea though--good luck!

  3. I don't know. I'm kind of hooked. Very interesting concept! I love that I'm left with more questions. I want to know more about everything and I think that's pretty great for the first page!

    Best of luck to you!

  4. I think this is extremely high-concept and I would read on because it has never been done before.

    I am very "meh" about the first couple lines because Aunt Prue says "make your move." I thought they would be playing chess or she had a gun pointed at him or something. Very confusing.

    Good job and much luck!!

  5. I think this is a really interesting concept, and I like the set up with the difference between our narrator and Declan. I agree that the opening statement is a little strange, as it doesn't seem to fit with what Bevin does afterwards. Although perhaps that's a diction thing that we'll come to know later as the book progresses? It's hard to tell from just this little bit of story.
    I don't necessarily think that you drop too much info too quickly, I like the slow-burn of having something referenced and then explained later. But I'm a bit confused that Aunt Prue and Bevin need to get to Cole before the election, and Bevin needs to show Declan he's up to the job. I don't have a problem with this set up, I just can't imagine any conspiracy that involves a bunch of high school kids, an adult, and an election. If it's a school election, why is the aunt so concerned? If it's some larger event, then why are so many high school kids involved? I'm thinking, from the title. . .maybe someone is counterfeiting virtues?
    Of course, you probably answer all of those questions in the book. And I'm not saying to change it, because I really like the conspiracy set up you have. But in this small excerpt, it is a bit perplexing.
    In any event, I think you have something really interesting here, and I'm excited to read more. I want to find out just what Bevin's got himself involved in.

  6. There's clearly an interesting concept here, but I'm at a loss to figure out what it is. There's too much worldbuilding going on this scene, and it just ends up confusing. You don't have to introduce everything on page 1 -- just show me you can write (your prose is fine) and introduce an interesting character or voice, and I'll follow you through a gradual revelation of the concepts.

    I think you can smooth this out -- lingering on the scenes and taking more time to explain the conflicts -- and have something really effective.

  7. A little less physical mechanics (looking up, walking here, opening this, etc) will help clear out space for more essentials for your opening. Who are these people and why should we want to go on a (story) journey with them? Maybe start with just one or two characters in this scene, and then move on to all the other names and what's going on. The first paragraph shows promise, so I think slowing down and showing your MC first will help.