Thursday, October 16, 2008

31 SECRET AGENT: Are You Hooked?

TITLE: Wizards' Duel
GENRE: Fantasy

Majester Fancu woke with a start and almost fell out of the chair he had been sitting in. His neck was horribly stiff and one of his legs had fallen asleep. Well, what did you expect, he asked himself, falling asleep like that in the king's bedroom? Then he caught his breath. What if the king had died while he had dozed off? No, he could hear the king's ragged breathing.

"Please, your majesty," whispered a strange, rough voice that sent shivers down Fancu's back. Someone else was in the bedroom. But who would be here in the middle of the night? Not anyone who was supposed to be there.

Fancu peeked through the bed curtains and had to bite his lip to keep from gasping. Lord Cepthar knelt by the king's bed, his face dimly visible in the torchlight. A second glance over at the torches confirmed Fancu's suspicions that the royal physicians had dozed off in their chairs. He wondered for a moment if he ought to wake them, but he was too curious about what Lord Cepthar, member of the Council of Twelve, was doing here. The torchlight made Cepthar's clean-shaven face look even younger, although he was about thirty. Fancu always figured he wore no beard to show off how early he had made the council, the youngest member in a century.

But Fancu wasn't impressed, because at nineteen, he was the youngest majester ever.

"I had to see you again, before it was too late."


  1. I'm hooked. The scene is a well set and I'm intrigued to find out what's going on. I like that Fancu fell asleep on the job--it gives him an appealing flaw. A tiny flaw for me--I didn't care for 'caught his breath' and 'gasping' used so close together. Nice job.

  2. I think you have a great set-up here for Fancu hearing something earth-shaking. The reference to the King's physician threw me for a minute; I'd wondered if you'd switched POV and Fancu himself was the physician (as we don't know his role yet)

  3. Interesting. I think you could probably edit just a little, to tighten this and add more atmosphere. But I like it. I'd keep reading.

  4. I like the majority of this very much, except for the very beginning. It's considered a cliche opener to have your character start the story (or chapter) by waking up.

    But I would still read on. Good descriptions, intriguing set up with the dying queen, and I'm a sucker for court politics!

  5. For some reason, the voice made me think of YA -- not regular adult Fantasy. I guess the voice matches Fancu being nineteen, but as an adult reader, I'd expect an older protagonist to start the book. I also think the passive sentences need rewriting. Without knowing more about the plot, I wouldn't keep reading. I'm not big on court politics unless I love the characters.

  6. I was not hooked by this one. I am not generally a fantasy agent, so I tend to read it with one foot out the door. This opener had an inelegant point of view switch, and I couldn't picture someone peering through bed curtains and not being seen by the person they were peering at. Conflict has been established, which is good, but I can't yet tell if I'm interested in it.

  7. I'm very interested! Definitely hooked. I think to cut down on repetition, the second mention of Lord Cepthar's name could be trimmed to: "but he was too curious about what a member of the Council of Twelve was doing here.

    And I've read it multiple times and still don't see the POV problems. *shrug*

  8. I never saw the beginning of this! Love it. :)

    Only thing I could nudge at is the close sound of Majester and Majesty. I'm not sure if that is a problem....

    But yes, hooked.

  9. I liked this a lot, and my only quibble is that Majester Fancu's revelation at the end--that he's only 19--comes as a total shock. Before that, I'd pictured him as quite old. Perhaps from his discomfort on waking? (obviously young people also can get cricks in their necks and have their feet fall asleep, but it feels old when this is the first thing I know about a person)
    Still, I'm leaning on the edge of my chair to hear what Cepthar is about to say.

  10. *sets the wake up on fire* :P

    (Don't worry, Authoress, I know the author very well. ;) We do this all the time.)

    LOL. You know my thoughts on this one... O:)

    I just had to light SOMETHING on fire this round... Luck you, huh, Dreaded One?