Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March Secret Agent #3

TITLE: The Keeping-Box
GENRE: YA Fantasy

The first thing Bianca noticed about the visitor was the blood caked on his face. The second thing she noticed was that he wasn't human.

"Much apologies," he said as he shut the door of the apothecary shop behind him. His voice, heavily accented, came from somewhere deep in his chest. "Did not want intrude. No other choice."

She stared, transfixed, while the forgotten rag in her hand dripped water onto the floor. Fantastical creatures like this weren't real; they only existed in legend. Yet here one stood, in the flesh, breathing the same air that she breathed. He was no taller than a child; his mouth and nose looked more like a wildcat's than a human's. And the blood on his wrinkled brown skin was as green as tarnished copper.

She gathered enough wits to answer, "It's all right," and clamped back the dozen or so questions she wanted to ask. She tossed aside the rag and dried her hands on her apron. "Sit down," she said, indicating the chair near the counter. "I'll get bandages and salves."

"Salves? What is salves?"

"For your wounds."

He continued to look perplexed, touching his face with an absent gesture as if his injuries were the last thing on his mind. "Much thanks, but not wish that. Wish other thing."

"Other thing?" Bianca repeated. What else could he need with his face like that? Why had he burst into this shop, if not to have his wounds tended?

With a desperate look he said, "Hide."


  1. Ooh, I like this! I'm a fantasy lover and a strange creature needing to hid very much intrigues me.

  2. Great imagery and intriguing setting (apothecary shop). A very strong start. A nitpicky point: I'd perhaps think about deleting the line 'he continued to look perplexed' as him absently touching his face shows this so well that I don't think you need to tell us. Great work though. Keep it up :)

  3. Oooh great first line (paragraph) and opening. I'm hooked and want to read more. I like how you introduced a major conflict and a lot of tension right out the gate, but in such a way as it leaves it room to grow, rather than starting at ten and having no choice but to try and maintain that as long as you can. Well done.

    My only nitpick is I would like to see a LITTLE more shock from her, if this is her first introduction to the realm of the fantastic. I understand with this sort of scene, less is more and it can be way easy to go overboard, but I think maybe just replacing her dialogue tags with a stutter or a nervous laugh or something in character that reinforces that she's completely at a loss for what's going on or how to handle this so she's just on autopilot and focusing on the thing she can do something about - his wounds. Just a thought, feel free to ignore! Great job!

  4. I'd like a little more internal. You tell us she's shocked, but I want to feel it.
    On a happy note, I always love it when people tell me something needs to be added in :)

    You definitely have my interest.

  5. This is so fun! I'd like to read more. Two nit picks... how does she know the green as copper stuff on his face is blood? Has she seen green blood before? And I agree about her reaction--she should be more shocked than she is, maybe? Unless her family has had experience with such beings in the past?

  6. I'm very intrigued by the setup here. Personally, I usually have issues with characters who are confronted with the supernatural for the first time and just go on with life as usual, it just doesn't strike me as a realistic response. To this end, adding some internal thoughts would help. Also, I wasn't snagged by your opening paragraph. I liked what you were going for, but again, the writing was so matter-of-fact that it fell flat for me.

    By the end of the excerpt though, you had me hooked enough that I'd want to read a bit more.

  7. I remember this from a while back. I liked it then and I still do.

    This starts with the MC telling us something. It could be stronger if you showed it. Perhaps start with the creature bursting into the shop, then show what she noticed.

    I also wondered about her noticing the blood first. It seemed, if she's never seen a fantastical creature before, that's what she would notice first, especially since his blood is green and she'd be used to red blood. Would she even realize it was blood right off the bat.

    And the creature is looking for a place to hide, but there is no urgency in anything he says or does. Perhaps create some. It'll help raise the tension.

  8. Awesome setup. I'm hooked. I like how the creature was described, though I wondered how would she know that the green stuff on the creature's face was blood? Otherwise, great job!

  9. I like this a lot, but I think you need one or two sentences that bring some action into this scene. Maybe, the jingling of the bell when he bursts in and the slamming of the door? Also, the description (at least part of it) should be moved to where she states that he is not human. Otherwise, the reader will wonder unnecessarily. well done, I'm hooked.

  10. Like it! He talks like Yoda, but even that's OK... Must know why they need to hide! :D Best~ <3

  11. I like the premise, but I'd like more disbelief from her that she's suddenly seeing fantastical creature, especially if it's the first time ever. I wouldn't expect her to just ask him to sit so she could patch him up. But overall it was intriguing.

  12. If she's never seen one of these creatures before, how did she know the green stuff on his face was blood? That's clear from the legends?

    The first two sentences are all telling; try more simple showing. "There was blood caked on his face, but not human blood. That I knew."

    This seems interesting but I'd like to know more about her expertise right up front so I know how to gauge her reaction. Has she never seen a non-human before but read all about them or is she just a Normal and should be screaming her head off right now?