Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Secret Agent #42

TITLE: The Ship of the Damned
GENRE: YA Historical Magical Realism

April 1719

I was one of the few without a weapon in the tavern. Some of the men wore cutlasses at their sides while others had pistols tucked into a belt or a waistband. Several possessed both weapons. But that was to be expected from pirates. They refused to settle differences with their fists. They had to make it lethal.

I strode past multiple groups sitting at long wooden tables and made my way to the bar. The bartender waved at me once I arrived.

“Anne,” the bearded man said. “The usual?”

I smiled and nodded. It paid to be a frequent visitor. They always knew what I wanted. Both in terms of drinks and men or women. Luckily, this port was always crawling with pirates. I had plenty to choose from.

The bartender handed me a small glass. The dark wine inside the glass shone a deep red as it reflected the lantern light above me. Its sweetness was a treat I allowed myself to enjoy almost daily. Most others settled for ale or rum. It was cheaper, but I wasn’t fond of the taste.

I glanced across the tavern as its dark wood door swung open. The man who walked was tall with dark hair and tanned skin. It was the way he surveyed the room before him that drew me in. His glance dripped with arrogance. The man was like a king surveying his kingdom. He didn’t just belong in this tavern. It was his to do with what he liked.


  1. I would have liked to learn more about the MC rather than who was in the bar. Is she a pirate, too? If so, why doesn't she carry a weapon? If not, how did she get to this port? Why is she there? How can she be a regular if she just arrived? If she hasn't just arrived, how does a teen end up as a regular in a bar who sleeps with pirates? She is far more interesting to me than the pirates we never see (she tells us they are there. We don't see any of them, nor does she show any interest in them, even though they're her 'type.')

    The man who walks in may be a secondary character, but again, he didn't interest me as much as Anne did. Maybe get more of her on the page before telling us about the others? Maybe start with her doing something rather than telling us about her? For me, she''s the person I want to read about.

  2. I have two suggestions for your entry. How about your first paragraph on as strong a line as possible? For instance: "Some of the men wore cutlasses etc." Then after describing the tavern, introduce that your character is arriving in it.

    Second suggestions is for the last paragraph. You don't need to say that his glance dripped with arrogance. The following line, "a king surveying his kingdom," already says as much, and it is a much cooler description - and also a tad more ambiguous.

    Best of luck, and happy writing!

  3. I love everything about this. Girl. Pirate. The first line is incredible, because she distinguishes herself by being the only one without a weapon, yet remarkably calm about it (this tells me she herself is comfortable with weapons, yet chooses not to use one--which is badass and makes me love her in the FIRST line).
    You do an excellent job of setting the scene and establishing her as a regular there, and when the mysterious man enters and looks at it like he owns the place, I feel your MC's confusion because I can tell she feels like it's *her* place. And all that in 250 words! Bravo!
    My only tiny nitpicky feedback is that those descriptive sentences of the pirates in the first paragraph are all short/punchy and it gets a bit repetitive/doesn't flow as well while I'm reading.
    But otherwise, fantastic start! I loved reading it and want to read more. Good luck!

  4. A trope I dream of! Girl pirates, yay! I love the MC is accepted by the bartender. She knows what she wants and what men or women she needs, so I'm assuming she's looking for crew, or perhaps something much more sordid? All kinds of tomfoolery could happen from here. Great job at making the reader want more!

  5. I like the concept of a girl pirate, but I wouldn't be the right reader for this one unless she turns out to be Zerena from Tinker Belle. The use of "I" in this stands out to me, too. Is there a way to work it into the writing more? I love the visual of pirate ships and settings in the 1700s, but are we perhaps too removed from the character herself? We're learning her usual and what she likes to drink and who she might be interested in and that she's not offended by violence (but prefers nonlethal), and that all seems consistent with the girl pirate theme, but I'd like to get to know her more specifically. What are her motivations? What makes her unique? If I'm going to pick up a girl pirate book, what about this one makes *her* the right one to read about? If I picked up this snippet and placed it at the beginning of another book about a girl pirate what clue would I have that this was "our" girl pirate and not the girl pirate in another story?

    The theme is a strong one, but don't rest on it. I still want a unique character arc to relate/connect to. :)