Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September Secret Agent #13

TITLE: Spirit Weaver
GENRE: Fantasy

The most unusual thing about the figure standing alone on Orac’s pass this late in winter wasn’t that she was a woman. It wasn’t even that she carried a curved saber sheathed at her back, mottled bronze hilt engraved with the swan of the king, reflecting the sun with a dull gleam. The most unusual thing about her wasn’t a thing that could be seen at all.

Lora thrust her ski poles into the knee-deep snow, raising a mittened hand to shade the bright sun that failed to warm the air. With ice-blue eyes she stared out past the wolverine ruff of her parka hood, down the snow-laden slopes to the evergreen forests rolling out like the gray-green garb of the king’s Honor Guard.

Now that she was here, she was afraid of what she might find in the valley below—even more afraid of what she almost certainly would not find. Yet she had to know what had become of Gaern. She could feel the empty place at her core where the fastbond had once burned with the steady warmth of a sheltered candle flame. Gaern was the only other person who even knew that place could be filled. But now…

That’s why I’m here, Lora thought.

She looked out, searching for the smoke-haze of Elendir rising up through the crowns of the distant conifers, though she knew all signs of her village would be hidden beyond the bend in the valley.


  1. I'm confused. I was going to say that the person in the opening paragraph was dropped--never mentioned again. But on the third reading I started wondering if there was a POV shift. Is Lora the woman in the first paragraph? If so, consider deleting that opening so the reader can step immediately into her point of view. And then be careful to stay in that POV. This could be an intriguing beginning when the writing and POV are streamlined.

  2. I thought you set up an interesting situation with the fastbond, and I'm wondering how and why that bond is no longer there. I also like the fact that she's in the snow on skis, as opposed to just plodding through the snow. It says something about your world and its technology.

    I thought some of the description was a bit much, even for fantasy. For instance, in just one sentence, you have ice blue eyes, wolverine ruff, parka hood, snow laden slopes, evergreen forests, gray green garb, and king's honor guard. ALl that in one sentence.

    You just told us she was on ski's and the snow was deep, so do we need snow laden slopes? And do forests roll like the garb of an honor guard? (I think you meant to compare the colors, but it's not written that way.) Perhaps cut down on the adjectives.

    And you might cut the entire first parg. If the story is being told in Lora's POV, what's the point of having that short parg in a narrator's POV? It's more confusing, I think, than helpful.

  3. I agree with the comment that the first parag. can be cut. It's a distant POV and then you zoom in to your mc. Both are 3rd person, but the first parag. is too distant. We really don't need to see her standing on the slope. We get that in the second parag.

    Also agree there are too many discriptive words. Yikes. Let the reader use their imagination! I can tell you like pretty words. Think of them as sugar. A little is sweet. Too much makes for obese writing.

    Once you get past all the fat, there is something interesting going on. The fastbond. A mysterious person. Is he dead? I'd read on to see what she finds at the bottom of the hill. But if it continues with all the sugary writing, I'd stop and hunt up some chocolate.

  4. Your writing is smooth and easy to read if a little wordy (cut adjectives), and the idea of a fastbond and the guy connected to her through it, is great. You can delete the first para without loosing anything of the story. A girl alone in the mountains is hook enough.

  5. Like the others, I had to reread the first paragraph before I realized it was talking about Lora. I don't necessarily agree that you need to cut it, though, as you might have meant to write it in a more distant POV. Even in the second paragraph, she wouldn't think "My ice-blue eyes...", so I still saw it as a more omniscient third.

    I do agree that the adjectives could be culled, but I'm not your normal audience, so I can't compare to other books in your genre.

    All that aside, I enjoyed the read and wanted more when I got to the last sentence. Good luck with this!

  6. I agree with cutting the first paragraph, mostly because it doesn't get us into the story as quickly or adroitly as the second paragraph. Maybe include the bits of physical description embedded there in the following paragraphs. The thing that couldn't be seen is the fastbond? If so, then that's mentioned pretty quickly anyway.

    I don't really agree with people that adjectives are your problem. In fact, I think they are one of your strengths. My suggestion would be just to prune a few of the weaker ones, the unnecessary ones. In order to have the reader imagine, you need to give them a scaffolding, but you don't need to build the entire cathedral. Okay, I'm done with annoying, extended metaphors. But, for examples, the last sentence in the second paragraph pairs almost every noun with a description. Cut half of them?

    I'm getting a very Mercedes Lackey feel here. That's not bad (I like her a lot), but that paired with the fastbond makes it perhaps too much so.

    I'd read on for a bit, hoping that the world distinguishes itself into uniqueness.

  7. I would start with a modified version of the third paragraph that shows she's on skis in the mountain. But I found too much useless (because it's not really world building or moving the story forward otherwise) in the second paragraph. The first paragraph is confusing POV-wise because it's definitely omni and then you shift into close third. It seems like you're trying to open like a movie, with a wide pan of the pass down to the woman, and then zoom into her perspective... but that doesn't always work in narrative.

  8. The first paragraph leads me to believe the main character is watching Lora rather than being Lora. The details are great and I could really see this, but the "she was afraid" and "she could feel" didn't allow me to feel the scene. I'd rather see the fear in her.

    I'm not sure I'd keep reading. The POV is confusing

  9. I'm also confused by the first paragraph and you've got some loooong sentences in here, but I'm definitely intrigued by the fastbound concept.

  10. I think this is very strong but too high fantasy for my tastes. I don't feel all that confident about assessing it.

    But I do think you are a very good writer and this character seems promising.