Here are the first 243 words. Let me know what you think
The streets were wet, and the air carried the damp reminder of rain Eddie Nezevitch felt in his lungs and nostrils. The barrier in front of him shimmered like a slice of the Caribbean turned on its side, and Eddie couldn’t resist running his hand over the surface. It felt like glass but rippled like water. Petty scenes got tape, but the department had an officer whose power could make important locations hermetic. Even though he’d seen these seals enough to make them mundane, they remained beautiful.
He touched his badge to the barrier and a hole opened to allow entry. The seal closed behind him, leaving the avenue on the other side of the crime scene wavering and distorted.
The door of the home lay open, a sinister invitation into the quiet darkness. Thick curtains meant Eddie had to find a light switch before he could shut the front door behind him. The room past the foyer was well furnished, the upholstery soft, though overly stylized, with complex patterns to hide minor blemishes. The wall paper was excessive, a deep burgundy with gold lines and shading to make it appear as if the walls too were upholstered, perhaps intending to recall eighteenth century France. It only made Eddie think of lunacy and padded cells.
He closed his eyes and mouth, drew a slow deep breath, kept his mind and lungs still, and used his own unique gift—his sense of smell.
Last Edit: May 13, 2017 13:58:07 GMT -5 by cesarm3
1) Comma needed between two complete clauses. Ex. the streets were wet (comma) and the air... There are a a few more like that
2) You intro the fantasy part right away. Which is good. But at this point, I have no idea what the barrier is. For ex. A glass wall blocked his way, solid but not solid. He ran his hand over it. it rippled.
Instead of hermetic, you should probably use a simpler word, like 'sealed' or 'impervious.' Otherwise, it pulls the reader out of the story. Also, it's in page #1, which might make him/her conclude there are more words like this along the way.
The other issue is Eddie is contradicting himself in para #1. Is it beautiful, or is it mundane? I think you're trying to say it should have been mundane by now, but it was not, not to Eddie.
3) Para 3, sentence 2. Why would a homicide detective conclude the owners were private types? The blinds could have been drawn by the initial officers at the crime scene.
4) 'upholster' or variations thereof, repeated 3 times in para 3. Also, not sure you need that detailed a description. But that might just be me.
5) Para 4 is where you tell us what the MC can do. It can be cleaned up. AT this point, his actions read a bit list-like.
Banish "could" from your vocabulary. It's nearly always redundant. could feel = felt could see = saw could hear = heard
There are some other unnecessary words that could be cut. Also avoid using too many long sentences in a row. Your second sentence is 35 words, the third is 32, and I see others below. Varying the sentence structure helps with flow. A bunch of long sentences in a row can make your reader's eyes wander further down the page, and you don't want that when querying.
You've got some lovely imagery here, though. Just be careful of using too much description. For example, I don't feel like the sentence about private types adds much - you can just have Eddie fumble for a light switch in many fewer words. I'd like to get to the action a little sooner.
The introduction to the fantasy elements is good, as mentioned. I'd just recommend cleaning the whole thing up a bit. (And I have no problem with hermetic.)
ETA: Also, this feels more like fantasy than magical realism. Contemporary fantasy, possibly light fantasy, but still fantasy.
Thanks Laura. It's what I originally thought, but I let myself get muddled by "the characters are in our world, and treat magic like it's normal, so it's magical realism." A comment I got in one sort or another from multiple readers.
Just spent an hour reading a few articles to confirm. Thanks for setting my head on straight.
In the first sentence, "Eddie Nezevitch felt in his lungs and nostrils" didn't seem necessary--the sentence stands on its own and "felt" is a filter word.
You describe the barrier in detail, but there's no more description until he gets into the house. What does the exterior look like? Also, what's going on in Eddie's head? More of his thoughts would help ground me in the story.
Your descriptions and language are lovely. Overall, this felt strong and polished.
I would begin the story with Eddie's gift, hook us with that. The other imagery can build layers on top of the smell but I think the sooner the hook, the better the chances are for the reader to continue.
I'm not sure of the crime, but here's my take. And it's only 50+ words.....
The door of the home lay open, a sinister invitation into the quiet darkness. Detective Eddie Nezevitch stepped in. He closed his eyes and exhaled, pushing all the air from his lungs, and held. He stepped to the center of the room and greedily, deeply inhaled. Murder. The lovely, musty, tangy smell of murder staggered him.