Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March Secret Agent #43

TITLE: The Stolen Karma Of Nathaniel Valentine
GENRE: Fantasy

The woman straddled him, her dark hair hanging down on either side of her face, tickling his cheeks. She was almost pretty when she smiled, with her full lips and flushed cheeks, but the effect was spoiled by the hunger in her eyes. It reminded him that she was a monster, and that he was about to die.

She leaned forward and kissed him. Nathaniel struggled against her, but the press of her body and lips was too much, like being buried beneath an avalanche, and he gave in. He was flat on his back, cocooned to the floor of his bedroom by spider silk. Her fingers danced above him like a pianist’s as she kissed him, spinning more threads, enshrouding him andcovering his head. He had dreamed about his first kiss thousands of times: this was not how he'd imagined it.

She pulled back suddenly, their lips coming apart with a smack. He gasped in surprise and the sugary flavor of her cherry lip gloss vanished, replaced by the bitter taste of web as she gagged him, smothered his mouth and nose. He was bound head to toe now, tight, claustrophobic, and he fought against the woman, tried to buck her off. She stayed put, looked down at him hungrily, then laughed and ran a delicate finger over the line of his brow. He flinched, tried to scream and couldn’t.

“You look good enough to eat,” she purred. Then she winked.

This was seriously his worst birthday ever.


  1. You have some great things going on here. First I love the humor in the last line. That is fantastic. But I have to wonder if maybe it should be sooner so we aren't being led down a false trail. You've laid out a really dark scene where the protag might be coming to his untimely demise, but it's clear you're going to have a lot of humor, so you might want to make that clear early on.

    I did have a hard time believing that he might have had the thoughts about how she was almost pretty in the first paragraph. I would have thought that someone spun up in webs would be more preoccupied with escape then aesthetics.

    Overall, I think this is good, and you can probably smooth out some of the diction to make it flow a little more. And I have to admit, I'm pretty curious about how the MC is going to get out of this one. I'd definitely read the next page.

  2. Very interesting opening. I felt as if I had been dropped into the middle of a scene and, while I had to bat back my curiosity about the events that led up to it, I thoroughly enjoyed your descriptive prose. You ended with a great hook and I enjoyed your writing style, although it felt a tad rushed in parts.

  3. You do a great job setting the reader up visually. Solid enough, that it piques my interest to want to know how Nathaniel got there, to begin with.

    I also like the added element of humor towards the end - as it stands, this definitely would make me want to turn the page and read on.

    Interesting title - all around, I thought this was a great submit. Best of luck!

  4. I really liked this. Loved the humour. As with the above post not sure why he thinks she is only almost pretty? But overall I liked it.

  5. Love it! Surprising in all ways. I'd keep reading.

  6. Great opening! I'm so hooked I really want to turn the page.

  7. I would definitely read more, it's such a cool opening premise. But that will only take me so far.

    I can buy him thinking about how she looks, under the circumstances, because it's clear this is going to be humorous. But he's talking about his first kiss. It just says fantasy at the top, not YA fantasy, so I'm wondering how old is this guy and why hasn't he ever been kissed. What's wrong with him.

    ALso, since she's spinning webs and doing spider related things, perhaps she should not purr at the end. Perhaps let her do something more spider-ish?

    And the last line, while funny, sounds like it's coming from a 10 year old. Perhaps rephrase a bit if he's a lot older, and maybe somewhere in this opening give us an indiation of his age.

  8. I'm hooked, but are you sure this isn't YA? It reads like YA to me. But I have to disagree with Barbara. I do not think that last line makes him sound 10, it makes him sound like a teenager. And I love that about it.

    Good luck!

  9. Love the last line and the spider imagery. I wasn't sure about the fact that he found her pretty when she's being all spidery on him but I was willing to let that go until the third paragraph where the sentences lost their flow. I'd give it a couple more pages because I did enjoy the humor.

    The fact that she pulls back is fine, but then we get the same thing retold with the vanishing lip gloss. The purring didn't work with the spider image.

  10. Agree with others about the 'purred' not fitting the spider imagery. But I love the fact that she is some kind of spider monster, I'm not personally too into vamps so I really like running across different creatures like this. I assumed the kissing and thoughts of her beauty owed to her having some form of siren-like powers over her victims.
    I thought the writing was well done and I want to read more of this. Good luck!

  11. I love the title and the humor. This really flows well, in my opinion. I would absolutely keep reading.

  12. I felt a little too 'in media res' - perhaps a little more description that helps me visualize place and not just action? Otherwise, loved it.

  13. I thought this was very good writing because you have taken a very difficult scene to present in words but managed to imprint it and convey it in my mind's eye. The fact that it is also presented with a tiny bit of humor (loved the last line) shows a sophistication that would definitely make me want to read on. I am not sure I object to the word "purred" as much as others because that has a seductive connotation that a young man might fall for (I assume she did something alluring to get him in this position in the first place). So, actually, I have no objections to this at all but would like to read on. And, a small thing, but I like the imagination that goes into creating a name like Nathaniel Valentine. I think this is very good and I would like to read more. I also felt he must be young (since he is talking about his first kiss) but I have no objection to the genre choice because many many adult books with young characters are so much better freed from the constraints of YA. Yes, yes, sign me up. I want to go on.

  14. I like the humor here, and you open in the action.

    But I'll admit I had a little trouble with the hypersexualized villain in the opening here. I'd need to see Nathaniel's voice a little more clearly to sympathize with him, because otherwise the way he describes her -- even though he's right that she's a monster! -- turns me off a little bit.

    But this is a good start!