Wednesday, February 11, 2009

41 Secret Agent

TITLE: Emergence of the Fey
GENRE: Fantasy

Marian knelt by the small stream, watching the puddle jumpers. The blue sparks danced just out of reach as she dipped her hand in. The only sounds were the trickle of the stream and a pair of birds singing courtship.

She stood and wiped her hands on her long tunic. Why were the trees so silent today? The crying in Oak Tears was something that belonged only to her. Since a young age, Marian had heard what no one else could. Now the familiar ache's absence left her feeling strangely alone.

"Marian... Marian." Her sister came into view, cheeks flushed and dark hair loose from its braid.

"Terra, what's wrong?"

Terra stopped to catch her breath. "Mother... needs help... Glenna... baker's wife... having baby."

Marian gasped. "Has it been ten moons already?"

Terra shook her head. "Only eight and a half. Mother is over there now. She needs an ointment made and fresh water."

Marian didn't need to hear more. "You get a bucket from the well. I'll make the ointment and meet you at Glenna's."

Marian knocked on the door as she entered the room. Her mother looked up from her tea preparation at the hearth, sighed in relief, and motioned her daughter over. A ribbon held her dark brown hair out of the way. She handed Marian a ribbon to do the same.

Glenna squatted at the end of a worn bed. Her husband sat directly behind her, ready to brace her during her struggles.


  1. I loved all of this, the only confusion I had was the sentence about the crying in Oak Tears. That was confusing to me and it felt like it could be something that was brought up later on. Great job with the descriptions!

  2. I like this! Marian is very likable, and the set-up is neat and intriguing. I'd read on!

  3. I was a little confused by the second paragraph and the crying in Oak Tears. Is it something she hears or something she feels? You seem to indicate both.

    I find the coupling of the trees' silence with the impending birth to be interesting and would read on to see if they are related.

  4. The world building was very well done. I love being mesmerized by a fantasy world, but many openings are heavy with description up front. Yours flowed very well and the crying of the woods raises a lot of interesting questions.

    I sense Marian's at the edge of a great change and I'm definitely hooked!

  5. I think this is really important to the story: Why were the trees so silent today? The crying in Oak Tears was something that belonged only to her. Since a young age, Marian had heard what no one else could. Now the familiar ache's absence left her feeling strangely alone.

    Unfortunately, it's confusing. You have be as explicit as possible.

    "The crying in Oak Tears" -- Who or what is crying? Are the trees crying? Is there a disembodied sound of weeping and crying?

    Since a young age, Marian had heard what no one else could.-- This is perfectly clear. Good.

    the familiar ache's absence -- This is less clear. "Ache" sounds like something Marian would be feeling herself, not a description of something outside her, like the sound of crying. When she's in the grove of Oak Tears, does she ache too?

  6. I like this. I especially like the gentle voice.

    Keep going.

  7. I was confused by the Oak Tears crying, too. If it weren't for the fact you're trying to establish a fantasy setting, I'd take it out. That said, be more explicit since I don't think you can take it out. Good luck!

  8. I'm getting on the Oak Tears bandwagon. If you omitted that sentence from the paragraph, then combined that sentence with the last one (Now the absence of the Oak's constant misery left her feeling strangely alone. -or something like that).

    I love the world you're creating. And your MC sounds lovely. Good job.

  9. Ten moons = ten month pregnancy?

    Ok. I LOVE your first paragraph, *lovely mental image - and just the setting I'd like to be in, instead of rainy and foggy and soon to be snowy*

    You might want to use a different term besides 'puddle jumpers' only because I watch Star Trek type things and immediately think space ship.

    Everything else looks great. This is a book I'd sit down to read<:

  10. I'm kinda on the fence on this one. I liked the beginning with the fantasy elements and the sudden silence, but then you rip us away from that plot line and throw us into something that seems like an unrelated thread. I'd probably read on to the end of the chapter at least to see what happens.

  11. I liked this one. I loved Marion. I would read on to find out what happens to her. I'm not sure what's going on.

  12. I think I'm hooked. The ten moons part had me confused as well, as did the crying in oak tears. But it was well written.

    Good luck!

  13. I see your intent to establish a sense of fantasy right from the beginning while simultaneously providing an action scene.

    It's a tough balance to find because I get the impression that the fantasy element is a gentle, innate part of the lead rather than a Holy Cow! It's A Fantasy World! book.

    I'm curious about the Lead, and would have to read more. Maybe your hook isn't on the first page, but if it's early enough on, I'd be sure to keep reading.

  14. Good start, good world-building from the very beginning. A few awkward places where, I think, you're trying to explain too much, say too much too soon (I had to read the Oak Tears sentence twice, for instance). I love the childbirth scene, love that she's squatting, which is much more believable in the setting you've created.

    I would read more!

  15. I liked it, a lot. I got the whole ten moons thing, but maybe because it's used a lot in Indian legends and such.
    I also took it that she could hear the sadness and crying of the trees, but it should be more clear, and maybe isn't important to know right away.
    But, I'm hooked.

  16. Also confused by the Oak Tears in the beginning, but overall I liked it. I'd watch "sighed in relief" - a bit POV squeamish. But overall I enjoyed it.

  17. Beautiful descriptions and interesting story. I am intriqued by the Oak Tears and am sure it will be revealed later... I would read on.

  18. The writing is quite solid in this entry but I can't help but feel that this introduction to the story is very ho-hum in terms of the genre of fantasy.

    Over the years, I've read hundreds, maybe even thousands, of fantasy sample pages. This isn't going to stand out.

    Now I like the crying in Oak Tears so that is interesting but not necessarily enough so.

    The key with fantasy is to nail the character in the opening pages and I rarely see that done in unique way. Most writers rely on the worn familiar in the genre.

    So what I'm saying is that this writer probably has possibility but this isn't getting the job done.

  19. Thank you so much to everyone who commented. Now I know what's working and where to clear confusion.