Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January Secret Agent #20

TITLE: The Sky Throne
GENRE: YA Fantasy

The distance between darkness and light was a nano-moment, my mother once told me. A sliver of space. The breadth of a strand of hair. I hadn’t known what she’d meant until that day. And still wished I hadn’t.

I trudged up the darkened beach, digging my toes in the sand with each step. Visions of pearl-skinned sea nymphs still danced in my head. Their iridescent eyes and seductive charms made me smile.

“C’mon, Zeus,” Anytos called, throwing a stick at my feet.

I held a finger in the air.

"Zeus, seriously!" He clapped his hands once loudly.

"Wait. Hold on." I closed my eyes to enjoy the images of those sea nymphs. Just a bit of time more.

"Zeus!" His words sliced sideways through my memories of them. “Sun’s nearly up. We don’t have much time!” Tos stood at the top of a dune calling down.

I sighed. “I’m coming.”

I hated the pre-dawn runs we took every morning. The birds weren’t even up yet. I couldn’t wait to get back to the goats I tended with my mother. Against her wishes, I’d named each one. That’s why she never let me slaughter them for food. Or rather, why I never participated.

There was nothing too terribly stressful about goat herding. They were a self-sufficient lot. Sometimes watching them was like watching the sun crawl across the sky. In those moments, my mind wandered like a stray goat.

I’d always felt like I could do more. Something inside of me clawed for the extraordinary.


  1. Wow! I'd keep reading, even if I'm not a big fantasy fan. I want to know more about Zeus. At first I thought he was THE Zeus but the goat part told me otherwise.

    Great job with the description, the pacing, the action. What more can I say?

    Good luck!

  2. I like this so far.

    I really enjoyed the description of goat herding!

    The only thing I'd suggest is to remove the "And still wish I hadn't" from the first paragraph.

    Good luck!

  3. There's a sense of an idyllic, pre-industrial world here, even if the narrator seems to find it a little dull.

    But there are times when the language jolts into a modern world, one more like ours ("nano" and "stressful").

    Don't let the feeling of a different world fade! That's where the reader wants to be.

  4. I LOVE this opening line. The descriptions that follow are good, too, though I second the suggestion to drop that last sentence in the first paragraph. I also think you can lose 'loudly' from the clapping description. I, too wondered if this was THE Zeus. Quite a distinctive name if it isn't, and I wonder if that will help or hinder the reader's perception of your character?
    Liked the goat herding descriptions, and I loved that last line. Leaves us knowing that something exraordinary is just around the corner.

  5. I definitely want to know why this guy is named Zeus. Intrigued.

  6. I like this. Good voice and nice description, but I agree with the others about ditching the last sentence of the first paragraph. It seems a little too "And now here's a flashback . . ."

    You've got me intrigued. I want to know more about this boy Zeus!

  7. I really like your opening lines a lot. Just one comment: I recommend using either "A sliver of space." Or "The breadth of a strand of hair." Or else combine them into one ("A sliver of space no wider than a strand of hair" or some such). I'd keep reading to find out about that distance between dark and light.

  8. The opening seemed very modern to me, and then the idea of a goat herder threw me because of the contrast.

    I was also wondering if he was the god Zeus, and was glad to find he wasn't.

    The goats and the names make me think this takes place in Greece, but I don't know really if it is, or what time period it is either.

    For me, this is just too vague. I want to know who they are and why they are there, as well as a hint of a problem or some conflict. Perhaps start closer to the inciting incident?

  9. I had trouble following Zeus's thought process seemed a bit scattered, meandering too much for the opening of a novel (even if it matches the wandering path of a stray goat!) And the obscure meaning of the opening paragraph doesn't help ground the reader, either...there are some memorable images and observations, but I'd focus on making it all feel a bit more linear...