Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July Secret Agent #8

TITLE: Other
GENRE: YA Fantasy/Romance

The dream was always the same. He wandered through endless hallways that came alight as if by magic, and everywhere he walked, wonders and marvels met his eyes. They meant nothing to him. He sought one thing, and he would search forever if he had to. After hours had passed, perhaps days or years, he turned a corner, certain he must be close by now, only to face what he dreaded more than anything -

Then he woke, the dream fading so fast he remembered only a glimmer of ineffable longing.

Everything changed after the knock on the door.

Alain answered the knock absently, his mind still occupied with the book he had spent half the morning reading. One look at his father's clerk, and everything else flew out of his mind.

Before today, Alain could not recall seeing a strand of de Montmercy's hair out of place or a single stray thread on his clothing. Only Henri, Alain's older brother, was more meticulous. Now the clerk stood in complete disarray, hair wisping around his head like a cloud, coat hanging askew, breeches marred by wrinkles. He didn't even wait for Alain to greet him, hurrying inside with a breathless, "Where is your father?"

"Oh. Um. He's at the riverport, with Henri." Alain backed away to avoid de Montmercy's frantic pacing and shut the door. "What in the world is the matter?"

"No, no, can't speak of it." A headshake sent the wisps flying. "Must speak to your father first."


  1. There's not much to grab onto here. You start with a cursory dream (which is generally frowned upon)and then immediately tell us it doesn't matter. I would suggest eliminating the dream altogether and simply start with your MC.

    You might then give us a bit of setting. It's fantasy, so we might be on earth or we could be on a totally different world. Adding details here and there could clarify that.

    And without the dream, you have more room to give us something more of Alain. As is, the clerk is more interesting to me. Who is Alain? What does he want? What stands in his way? I feel like that is probably coming up with the arrival of the clerk, but you don't have room for it because of the dream. And while I do know that something is wrong, I don't care, becaue I haven't as yet connected with Alain, nor do I have any clues as to what the problem is. Work those things in and it will help this immensely.

  2. I have to say that this didn't really draw me in right away. I felt like the first paragraph was too generic. What did he see? Explain this more. Beef this up with details. I feel like it would have been stronger had you started with the line "everything changed..."

  3. I agree with Barbara, cut out the dream. It's rare that I like a prologue and in this case it doesn't work.

    I would also watch your word choice. Even in fantasy, I have a hard time imagining a teen saying, "what in the world is the matter."

    I do like the description of Montmercy, though, and if there's more like that throughout, it could be wonderful.

  4. I can't blend the two parts of this together. The dream... the reading. I don't get it. description is tight though.

  5. Agree with the others - don't start us with the dream. If it's really important, let us get to know the characters first and then we'll stick with you through a dream.