Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July Secret Agent #20

TITLE: Legacy
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

Danielle screwed her eyes shut as her breakfast threatened to make an unwelcome reappearance. The ground loomed fifteen feet below. Funny, she'd never had vertigo before. Then again, she'd never contemplated jumping out a two-story building before.

Her hand sought the comfort of her mother's bracelet. She twisted it around her wrist. At her touch, the runes etched on the metal lit up, green and familiar. Sparks of warmth shot through her arm. The magic stored inside - her mother's magic - felt different, though. On edge. Like a knife balanced on its point, about to tip over.

Much like the way she was teetering on the edge of her room's balcony.

Once the clock struck midnight, she'd be eighteen. Her body would have reached magical maturity. She'd be ordinary.

No one over the age of eighteen had ever received their powers. She doubted she'd be the exception.

Her mother's bracelet would be the only spark of magic left to her. And what use was a shield against sorcerers, who could make the elements do their bidding?

Who would avenge her mother's memory then?

No, this was the only way. Her last chance to awaken her magic before the dreaded deadline.

Danielle blew out her breath and held the image of a shield in her mind. The metal slowly warmed against her skin - reluctant, a warning. The shield obediently appeared around her, encasing her in a bubble of green-tinted energy.

Danielle took a deep breath, and let her hold on the handrail slacken.


  1. She has to jump to her death to keep her powers?

  2. I'm assuming (since she's using the shield of the bracelet) that juuust as she's about to hit the pavement, a portal is opened, or something else paranormal, that will force her powers to continue?

    I think you've done a good job creating the uncertainty that this jump would undoubtedly create, and wanting to avenge her mother's memory is enough motivation to do it. I'm unclear about the timing: you mention midnight--is she doing this moments before midnight? Does the timing need to be right on to keep her powers? How will this shield aid in what she's about to do?

    I can say (from personal experience), though, I know that answers can illuminate RIGHT after the 250 word mark, so my questions may be addressed right in your first page, and I'd read more to find out! Good luck!

  3. What an intriguing beginning!

    The hook at the end of the first paragraph is REALLY interesting and grabbed me into the story right away. But shortening the distance from the first sentence to that hook at the end might have a better effect (this is all just my opinion). Maybe taking out even as little as just the "As her breakfast threatened to make an unwelcome reappearance." and just make it "Danielle screwed her eyes shut. The ground loomed . . ." Besides, the short sentences make it feel a little bit more urgent.

    With the sentence "Much like the way she was teetering . . .", you can also make that more immediate: "Much like the way she teetered. . ." Again, just my personal suggestions, but it makes the sentence less passive.

    But anyways, I would definitely read on. I really like the feel of this beginning, and the whole concept of "magical maturity" is SO intriguing. If she doesn't already have it, she won't ever (that's what I'm understanding from it, is that correct?). Now I want to read on, because I want to find out what happens and if she does actually awaken any magical powers.

  4. I've got to agree with the above comments. Other than my issue of letting the reader know when this is happening, this opening has a great pace and hook. I don't know if "magical powers inheritance" is unique in the genre, but it's new to me and I'd like to find out what happens.

    Good luck!

    PS: Just for fun, I'm going to guess that the shield fails, but the fall doesn't kill her!

  5. Very interesting! I had a few confusing moments but, but overall, I think it works.

    In the parg. where you say she'll be ordinary, I was thinking she had magical powers, but when she turned 18, they'd vanish. So when you said no one over 18 ever received their powers, I was confused. It might be just me, but maybe make it clearer that she has no powers, and if you don't get them before 18 you never will? I did get it when you mentioned her awakening the magic.

    two small things - is she avenging her mother's memory or her mother's death?

    And in the last sentence you might say - and let go of the handrail. Saying she let her grasp slacken makes her seem wishy washy and unsure, and hints that somebody may save her at the last moment. It disappointed me to read slacken. In my mind, she's going to be saved.

    If she's not going to be saved, have her let go and jump with conviction. And even if she is saved at the last moment, letting go won't telegraph that, and it will show she is serious about what she intends to do.

    Nicely done!

  6. It's a good and I honestly liked it: only, I would love to know more about the MC before been thrown into the action so early, but it's just my personal taste as a reader

  7. I had the same problem as Barbara with the turning 18 / recieving powers etc confusion. I also thought she would lose her magic at 18. But once I figured that out, I really liked this!

  8. I really like this one. I like that it almost has a fairytale feel to me, but will be dark.

    I do hope that immediately after this we understand what she hopes to accomplish by jumping.

    I also hope that the tone is true. It sounds like you will be touching on dark subject matter (mother's death, revenge) and it's OK to have the narrator deal with all of that with a light tone, but make sure we never lose the gravity of the situation she's in.

  9. good writing. it is a little reminiscent of the Pretties series, but different enough to make you want to keep reading.