Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May Secret Agent #ALT-3

TITLE: Daughters of Brigit
GENRE: Young Adult Fantasy

The town square was empty when Owen returned for his mother’s body. She was still hanging from the gallows, a black mass against the dark night. He’d heard people describe loss as a hollowed out feeling but all he felt was waves of white-hot anger ever since she was taken away three days ago. He clenched his fists and pushed the feelings into a corner of his heart so that he could focus on cutting her down. Pulling a knife from his belt, he ascended the wooden stepstool. He held his mother’s body close to release the tension on the rope, and then he sawed through until she fell into his arms.

Unprepared for the momentum of their two bodies, he stumbled from the stool. Owen had thought of his mother as petite; he hadn’t realized how heavy she would be in death. He struggled to regain his footing finally laying her down with care. With the burlap sack covering her head and dressed in the simple muslin shift of prisoners, she could be any townswoman. Not his mother, wife to a Clansman. The thought of his father filled Owen with rage and as he cut the twine closing the burlap sack against his mother’s neck, it felt like a rebuke to his father. Proof of what Father had allowed. Owen pulled off the sack and his mother’s dark hair tumbled out over his hands. It was the same hair, unchanged by death, and it allowed Owen a moment’s denial.

30 comments:

  1. I'm pulled into the moment right away, and I'm curious as to what happened, so I would read on.

    Just one thing: I think it's "all he felt WERE waves" ... not WAS. I think.

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  2. I'm intrigued. Would love to read more.

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  3. That's a hook, all right. I'd keep going. But you might break up the paragraphs a little, unless your email reformatted your entry, in which case I have no notes.

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  4. There's a lot to like. The first two sentences were great. I thought the third was too long or it could have used some punctuation. There were a few other spots where it slowed a little, but all in all it's good. I'd keep reading.

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  5. Great start.
    It needs a really good edit, but the set up is dramatic and immediately gripping.

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  6. Holy cow. I LOVE THIS.

    Yes, it needs a good edit/tightening. But it's already on my wish list.

    I know, I know. I don't usually crit. But my eyeballs wouldn't stop reading this one. :)

    Well done!

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  7. You've done a great job making me feel as if I'm right there in the moment...with the MC.

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  8. I love this as well! Your first sentence immediately hooked me, and I'd love to read more.

    I agree with Middle Grade Ninja that the paragraphs could have been broken up a bit more.

    Good luck!

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  9. This was good -- great opening line and description. Some editing would improve this but certainly works to pull the reader in.

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  10. This is a really intriguing beginning to a novel, even though being thrown directly into such a sad and kind of grotesque scene makes me squeemish- I think i would read on just to see what had happened.

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  11. I agree with this needing an edit. I loved the opening sentences but then all the sentences got very long. I'd like some sorter sentences in there to add tension. It would better reflect the MC's mood.

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  12. Intriguing, and I would keep reading. There's a missing hyphen and comma or two that throw me off, but my brain automatically copyedits as I read.

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  13. Hooked. There are a few snags and writing in spots that could be modified for a smoother read, but I was yanked in with the first 2 sentences, and I'd keep reading to find out what happened.

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  14. I'm also a fan of this, just wondering if you considered first person instead of third? I found myself wanting to be in Owen's head. Definitely gripping, though. Great advice above.

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  15. I really was sucked into this world you've created. I've got lots of questions to pull me to read more but I was grounded enough to be okay with that. Nice!

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  16. I definitely like this story. One place that I question is when he cuts his mother free - I expected him to fall over because you have told us that she was heavier than Owen had expected - of course part of it too might be that I read the MG right before and just thought Owen was younger than he might be. Another question is some of the words used don't have a highland feel to them like townwoman, burlap sack...Just my opinion.

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  17. I really like the content and set-up in this one; I think it needs to be trimmer, sleeker, and more streamlined, but it's an excellent start and I would read on.

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  18. definitely hooked, I can feel the emotion, that's how effectively pulled in I was. Thumbs up!

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  19. I'd read on, and I don't read fantasy! Nicely done. Best of luck.

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  20. Totally hooked from the first sentence. Good luck!

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  21. I agree with the rest, the first two sentences caught my eye. Also this is definitely on my wish list. Good luck!

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  22. Hooked. Loved the first two sentences. I felt his sadness in the last sentence. Great job

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  23. This one definitely hooked me, and it's an example of a great first page. For one thing, the MS opens with action, and we get some details about the MC and his relationship with his parents. The author doesn't put all of his/her cards on the table, but lays out just enough to leave you wanting more.

    Good luck with SA!

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  24. Ooooh, I loved this one too. I agree with the tightening, but I'm definitely hooked.

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  25. Loved the story line! Lots of intrigue an suspense here.

    Perhaps work on revising, with an eye to word choices and sentence structure. It could be really powerful with some work.

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  26. Um....so I'm going to sit here and refresh until it's in my inbox, ok?

    Seriously, though, this is a FABULOUS opening. You've hooked me by painting a fantastic scene of what's happened/what's going on, I have an emotional attachment to the character and feel his pain, and I want to keep reading to see what else is happening.

    There are a few words that could be chopped and sentences that could be tightened but the overall voice is overpowering the minor writing issues that are easily fixed. Would definitely keep reading.

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  27. Loved this! I was emotionally hooked from the first sentence. Fantastic hook. Good luck!

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  28. Hooked! I love your opening line.

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