Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March Secret Agent #31

TITLE: Wrath for Her Enemies
GENRE: Science Fantasy

After hours of breathing hot, fetid swamp air, Georgia gladly sucked in the rose-and-lemon fragrance of the Magic Center. It flowed into her like a blessing, singing home into her blood and her thoughts. The day's tension evaporated from her muscles, and a warm glow of relief settled in its place.

The glow lasted until she swung the door open and saw that the Mag Center lobby was full of people. Not the spellwrights who belonged there, but Siggers – leaflet-waving members of Science in God’s Service. At Georgia’s entrance, they pivoted and surged toward her. The man closest to her, neatly dressed, his gray hair parted down the middle and combed back behind his ears, waved a cartoon-colored pamphlet at her.

“Do you have a moment, miss? Once you hear our message, you won’t want to keep abusing God’s creations through magic.”

Georgia’s jaw tightened. Her marshy morning examining one spell nexus after another had left her hair sweat-plastered to her forehead, and she smelled bad. Dealing with these idiots would take a level of strength and patience beyond her reach. She swatted the pamphlet away, making sure to hit the pages without touching the man’s fingers. Couldn’t give him an excuse to claim she’d assaulted him.

Lillie, Georgia’s best friend, elbowed her way through the crowd, dodging outstretched hands and soul-saving literature. “Didn’t Dr. Nillsen tell these nutbabies they had to stay outside?” she demanded.

“Guess they forgot.” Georgia laid disbelieving emphasis on the last word.


  1. I like the premise that you have here. I would definitely read on. Part of my concern when I read something that starts in what looks to be the middle of a normal day, is that I'm wondering if I should advise you to cut to the chase and start the story closer to the action, or if it starts here because the proselytizers play a role later on. Either way, I like that you've given us such a great atmosphere. You've set us up for a police story with magic and gadgets, so I'm expecting Lethal Weapon meets Dresdin files.

    I would definitely read on.

  2. I'm also interested by the premise, but this actually starts a little too busily for me. You're bringing in a lot of world-building elements fast, and for me slowing down just a little bit and learning more about the character would be helpful. I would read on though.

  3. Hmmm. I like this premise and I feel drawn in by the description of the man with the pamphlet and the hair plastered to her face, but I think I have to agree it needs to start closer to the action (assuming this isn't the action).
    I also want to know up-front what this book is going to try to make me think about the proselytizers. Is it going to make me hate them? Like and agree with them?
    I might read a few more paragraphs, but if something doesn't show up to make this normal day different than any other day, I might put it down.

  4. There doesn't seem to be a lot happening here to set this day apart from any other for Georgia. The only difference I take from this is that the Siggers are inside rather than outside where they are supposed to be. It sounds like an interesting world but I wonder if this is the right place to start. I'd read a page or two more to see if the story gets going.

  5. I really liked the description in this excerpt. It's very vivid. I love the description of her hair being plastered to her forehead, and this: "Dealing with these idiots would take a level of strength and patience beyond her reach." would definitely keep me reading.

  6. Definitely interesting, and I love the budding faith versus magic conflict. The title makes me wonder whether the Siggers might be planning some type of terrorist attack against the center, which would certainly be interesting.
    One thing I wasn't crazy about was listing Lillie as her best friend. I'd rather have you show me the relationship and figure it out on my own.
    While this didn't fully grab me, I would definitely want to read it, because it mostly grabbed me. It's hard to really grab someone with 250 words of a 100,000 word novel anyway. I would love to know what the plot revolves around.
    Nice work!

  7. I like this premise -- I'm a big fan of science fantasy, especially with religious elements. But I think one of the big challenges of the genre is introducing the reader to a world so far from what they expect (not only speculative, but also outside of genre conventions) in a gentle way.

    I'm afraid I think these pages are introducing too much worldbuilding too fast. I'm getting a little lost, trying to keep track of the magic and the science and the religion, while also being distracted by the weather and figuring out where they are and trying to meet a protagonist. I think you can slow down, lingering more on introducing your character and world and its natural conflicts, before you jump into the action. Take the time for the reader to feel settled, and that will make this opening more compelling.