Thursday, November 13, 2008

12 SECRET AGENT: Are You Hooked?

TITLE: Goose Feathers
GENRE: YA Fantasy

The world began with a wish and a flame.

The flame sank until it was nestled into the heart of the wish. There it grew, until long tendrils of fire became feathers, and molten gold became a beak. Rubies trapped in living flame peered out into the darkness.

Light and dark existed together in a complicated dance. Here advancing, now retreating--two partners that never touched. Brilliant reds, golds, and oranges of liquid fire cast long shadows against the rocky walls that held it captive.

The heart of the world watched the play of light and shadow, impatient at its emptiness. “There must be more.” the voice spoke for the first time, a raspy whisper that became a symphony of sound.

It looked below, but saw only the lake of fire--the place of its birth. It looked around, but saw only the hard lines of stone. It looked above, but all was blackness.

The known and the unknown.

It bowed its head, savoring the breath of flame. And then, with its eyes burning upwards, it stretched up and flew into the shadows. It beat its wings, fire licking the air and melting rock, diminishing as it ate its way through night and stone until it emerged into a world of blue and green.

“I’ve always thought Evauld a bit too poetic to make a reliable historian,” Mara said as she closed the book. “Is it true you were greater and more powerful before you emerged from your hole in the ground?”


sraasch said...

You hooked me when the first words ever spoken were "There must be more." There's so much poetry in that I can hardly stand it. I'm hooked, hooked, hooked.

Sponge said...

“I’ve always thought Evauld a bit too poetic to make a reliable historian,” Mara said as she closed the book. “Is it true you were greater and more powerful before you emerged from your hole in the ground?”


The above was the hook for me. You nearly lost me with the tendrils of fire stuff. :P

Sarah Erber said...

Hooked! Love it. ;)

Ella said...

I loved it. Very nice!

Melinda said...

Lovely writing. I'd keep reading.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I have to disagree with the others. This did not hook me. For YA this is awfully artsy and difficult to understand.

I have no idea where we are or what we are really looking at:
"... The world began with a wish and a flame. The flame settled until it was nestled into the heart of a wish..."

It's all form and no function. First, what does a wish and flame even mean? Second, who among us can conjure up what a wish and a flame is supposed to LOOK like?

I think you are trying way too hard, and you don't have to. CLEARLY, you have talent. But in all this fuzzy arsty imagery I still have no idea who the main character is or what the heck is going on.

Anonymous said...

That's okay. :)

In the ms, all but the dialogue is in italics because it's something one of the characters is reading. I knew that wouldn't really be as clear as I'd like without them.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Glad the dialogue made it into the 250 word count, otherwise this would have been a 'no'. But the beginning part hooked me once I realized it was part of a story. Would be interested to see where it goes. We have no sense of the story problem or conflict, but I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt that it will be presented shortly.

Lori said...

Totally hooked. This is epic fantasy as it should be written. It reminded me a bit of Tolkien's Silmarilion, with how the world was born in song. But really, great descriptions. I'd absolutely read on.

Siobhan said...

I'm a little bit confused with this one. I got lost in the abstract prose in the beginning and don't really feel like it added anything...maybe put in later when there's more context?

sally apokedak said...

MMMM this is a hard one. Great writing.

But I had no one to connect to until Mara came on the scene so...with back cover copy telling there was a character to attach to, yes. Without it I was wondering what on earth all this birth of the world business was about and why should I care.

Anonymous said...

You do good work.

Secret Agent said...

This is beautifully written - reminds me of Catherynne Valente - but I think formatting changes would help a lot here. It's obvious when we get to the last paragraph that this is being read from a book. Either put the whole thing in italics or in quotation marks so as to indicate that to the reader. Otherwise the contrast between the last paragraph and all the ones that come before is quite jarring.

But otherwise, very much hooked. I want to read the rest!

Scribess said...

Lovely prose--I was a bit confused when at first there didn't seem to be any characters. But as the Secret Agent wrote, putting that section in italics would help the reader realize this is a "special" section.

I also liked Mara's line a lot. Hooked. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone for reading!

The first part is in italics in the MS.

The flame spoken of is the fire bird Mara is speaking to. Alas, it would have required 350 words to show that. :P