Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Drop The Needle 5

Title: The Hidden Cities
Genre: Fantasy

"She should be more careful," Tatiana said, from her place at the opposite end of the long table. "What if she had set one of the tapestries on fire?"

"She didn't."

"But she might have. You must be more careful, Helena."

Helena's face fell. The six-year old nibbled her bottom lip. "That's what Kazimir always says," she mumbled.

"Kazimir is right. You should listen to your tutor. Both of you." She included the silent Kristof, seated across from his sister, in her injunction. "Magic is not a toy."

"I don't have any magic," Kristof said, shifting in his seat.

"No, but one day, you will have to make decisions about its use. It should not be used lightly, for the amusement of little girls."

"But mama, there's so much inside, it hurts if I don't use it."

Alexei paused in his meal. He hadn't realised his daughter's abilities were advancing so quickly.

"Then you should store it," Tatiana said, continuing her lecture. Alexei didn't know why she chose to spend every meal with their children sermonising. It must be all the time she spent with their clerics.

"Like I do in Kazimir?"

"Yes." Tatiana nodded. "Just like."

"And what when there's no more space?"

"Then we will find you others to store it in."

"And what when there's no more space in them?"

Tatiana slammed down her cutlery on the table. "Enough questions. Eat your food."


  1. Hi! I'd love to read more.

    I hope I've got this one the secondary character Tatiana? I think the story is about the little girl.

    Tatiana seems quite...bossy. She isn't very patient with her daughter's questions - surely she knows how inquisitive she is by now?

    I think she should realise that having fun with magic now and then is fine, it's good practice as long as it doesn't harm anyone (heehee to nearly setting the tapestry on fire)

    Realistic for me!

  2. I'm not quite sure who the secondary is here, but I do like the characters. Tatiana seems believable in terms of being a kid and always asking questions. I love the bit about Alaxei wondering why she was always "sermonising." Fun reading!

  3. Alexei is the POV character, Tatiana his wife, I think. She's described well through her dialogue, or actually monologue, and the slamming down of cutlery. Some more body language would have enhanced the effect. And although you spoiled the effect of showing a bit by letting Alexei confirm it, I really like his thought about the clerics. Well done!

  4. There are several characters and not enough of a focus on one for me to really get a good feel for them. From their conversation there seems to be a realistic feel of family.

  5. First off, I found the bit very interesting & realistic. Second, it seems as if Helena is going to be your MC (she seems the most interesting), but the POV is Alexei's which is a little confusing. I'm assuming Tatiana is your SC. I thought you did a great job portraying her. She seems to be a stern mother, perhaps her upbringing or she's seen the dangers of being careless with magic. Good job.

  6. Good dialog with the family. Tatiana seems very harsh and not very nice to her daughter, although at first she answers the questions. I assumed Alexei is the MC since we can see inside his head.

  7. I liked the scene overall, but it took some time to figure out who the secondary was. I think it's Tatiana. If it is, I think this was a very good characterization. She seemed real and projected well as very disciplined.

  8. Is Tatiana the SC? I couldn't tell for sure until Alexei comes into the picture. At first I thought Helena was the SC. As for Tatiana, she comes across as serious and longwinded. She also makes a realistic parent, both impatient and concerned with her daughter.

  9. Have to say I was more confused than anything else. There was some POV switching going on (first it was Helena, and then Alexi).

    Secondly, there was a contradiction that confused me. At first, you write:

    "I don't have any magic," Kristof said, shifting in his seat.

    But then two lines later, Kristof says:

    "But mama, there's so much inside, it hurts if I don't use it."

    Does he have magic or not?

  10. Hey. Writer of this one here. Tatiana is the secondary. Alexei is the POV (but he can see Helena biting her lip etc. cos he's on the other end of the table). The conversation started between Alexei and Helena but I wanted to showcase Tatiana so I took the bit from where she gets involved. Hope that clarifies it!

  11. I get that Tatiana is a very fierce mother. Very protective. Very believable. I didn't dislike her until she ignored Helena's very valid question (to which I also wanted an answer). I could picture the dinner conversation easily.

  12. Alexei didn't know why she chose to spend every meal with their children sermonising.

    This tells me who your MC is. The other characters (his family?) all come across as solid and individual. I'm curious what's going on here.

  13. This seems like a very realistic family interaction, but there are so many different people here, I don't think there is time in 250 words to learn enough about any of them.

    The dialog works naturally, and I'd be interested to read more.

  14. Tatiana was very impatient with her daughter. Shouldn't she know by now that she is inquisitive? But maybe Tatiana is just generally bossy.

    I got a good feel for her character, and am interested in more...