Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April Secret Agent #34

TITLE: Knightspelle
GENRE: Urban Fantasy

Deor emerged from the Underground station and followed the path past the Tower down to the Thames Riverwalk into the breeze. The air, pungent with diesel fuel and rotten fish, tickled her nose. She sneezed hard. Silver sparkles erupted in a cloud around her head, and she waved them away, braced herself for someone to say something, to notice. But beyond a murmured "bless you" from a passing tourist, no one showed any reaction. The sparks, the only sign she'd ever had that her father had been a faerie, went unnoticed here in London as they always had back in Bakersfield.

Tower Bridge loomed, blue and steely, across the river. According to the directions from her Department chair, the ferryman's slip should be in the bridge's western shadow.

She scanned the thin crowd of passersby hoping someone might give some signal that they too had Fae blood, but they all seemed hopelessly mundane. Tourists in ugly shirts snapped pictures of the bridge. A couple of plaid-wearing punks necked on one of the wrought iron benches that lined the river promenade. Business men with cell phones clamped to their ears trudged past her toward the tube station from which she'd come.

The sight jogged Deor's memory, and she took out her own cell phone. She'd already called three times since her plane landed at Heathrow.

"Come on, Mom," she said as the phone rang a few times and went to voice mail again. "You can't be that angry at me."


  1. I would read more of this because I like fae stories, but I think you need to work on your hook. Aside from mentioning your MC's half-fae status, all we have to go on is that her mother is angry with her. However, the writing isn't bad, and (as I said) I would read on to see if the story got juicy.

  2. The sneeze hooked me. What a great detail!

  3. Mostly hooked.

    IMHO, some editing might tighten this. For instance, the first line has five capitalized words. This slows my eye. Why not cut ‘emerged from the Underground station and…’

    The word ‘tickled’ stopped me. I liked the smells you described, but I’m not sure if they would tickle my nose.
    IMHO, I would leave a little mystery to your first page and cut last line in first paragraph. Let the reader work a little…lol. Don’t tell me what the sparkles are yet.

  4. I liked this, I agree with Huntress, but with some tightening up I think this could be really good!

  5. I like it :) (Of course, I am a faerie-story addict, but still) Maybe cut a little bit of description, and add a little more action so we have a sense of conflict?

  6. I really liked this! But, I think some of the description at the beginning was a little "wordy". I stumbled over the order of adjectives and nouns, what modified what, etc. Maybe clean up a bit. You really do have some great descriptions in there, but I feel it gets lost--mostly just that first paragraph. Other than that, I'd read on :)

  7. I like this, but it could do with being tightened up a bit, especially the first paragraph. I'd read on.

  8. I would read on as I'm intrigued to find out more about this girl.

    One thing in particular stood out to me, and this is just personal opinion so feel free to ignore me :) The phrase 'plaid-wearing punks'threw me off a bit. I wasn't sure if you were using the term 'punk' in the american way, which I believe means 'thug' or 'hoodlum', or the British way. If you mean the British way then there are so many punks wearing tartan (which is what I believe plaid is, although I could have that wrong) on postcards of London, that it's become a bit of a cliche. Maybe have them black-clad instead. As I say though, that's purely personal preference, and a very small detail.

    I like this, and would like to read more. :)

  9. I like it. A few tiny tweaks:

    ...toward the tube station from which she'd come. might read more easily as
    the tube station she'd just left.

    And don't think you need The sight jogged Deor's memory - "memory" makes it seem like something long forgotten. I think people know the sight of a cell phone might remind someone to call again - just go straight to She took out her own cell phone.

    According to the directions from her Department chair, the ferryman's slip should be in the bridge's western shadow. : This is introduces a department chair (suggesting she's a college student, okay) and a ferryman's slip (which I'm not 100% sure what is - where a ferry is docked? why would a department chair have to tell her where a ferry is? is she gonna take a ferry? needs to talk to the ferryman?). Not that these questions being raised are bad, but perhaps not the best idea to raise them all in the midst of the opening scene and while introducing the main character. Maybe a tiny bit more info - a hint of WHY she is searching for the ferryman's slip ("where she might find the man she needed to talk to..." or whatever) - or less.

    But you've combined strong writing with an intriguing main character - I'd definitely read on!

  10. Interested but not hooked. I'm not seeing the hook. The sparkles could be, but you've explained them, so they're not, and what I have is a fairy girl who's mother is mad at her.

    If you leave the sparkles dangling, you leave the reader wondering, which could be a hook. Or maybe hint at the reason she's there or what Mom's mad about (if it relates to the paranormal.)

  11. I liked the sparkles and don't mind the explaination. I'd assume fae, at least now I know it's only half and that's what I'm dealing with instead of a witch or another vampire twist or something. The writing could tighten up, extra descriptions got a bit distracting but otherwise I thought it was good.

  12. I like the idea here, but I'm not hooked.

    Too much information has already been revealed. When she sneezes silver, I was curious, but then I'm immediately told she's part fairy.

    I'm still interested in this because I want to know what's going on with the MC's mother, but I'd recommend withholding a little more about her Fae blood.

    I'd also like to say that I think the MC takes a bit of a back seat to the setting and that doesn't quite work for me. In the later paragraphs, I get the sense that the MC is lonely - that she wants to connect with people, but in the first paragraph there's no sense that she's seeking something; fairies, people, answers etc.. What is she searching for? What matters to her? I'd recommend cutting the excess imagery and focusing on building this MC's motivations.