Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March Secret Agent #13

GENRE: YA fantasy

"Let the petty Kings have their way," Merlin said, dragging Arthur back into the council room. "Now is not the time for a tantrum."

Arthur glared at Merlin, attempting to wrench his arm away from the wizard's death grip. He dug his heels into the soft dirt but only managed to kick up a cloud of dust. So this was how it felt to be a condemned man marching to the gallows. Beyond that heavy door sat the Province Kings in their annual council of elders.

"I'm not allowed to argue? I'm supposed to accept whatever those addlepated idiots decide?" Arthur shot back, stomping his foot in protest once Merlin stopped walking.

"Correct," Merlin replied, squeezing Arthur's arm to emphasize his words. "You don't have a choice in the matter. You're the King of England, start acting like it and accept your fate with grace."

Arthur was poised to respond when he was thrust into the council room. He stumbled, though quickly caught his footing, aware that the council had immediately ceased their chattering. No one stood to show Arthur any sort of respect. He hated to admit it, but their continued rejection of his kingship stung. Arthur hated when these meetings didn't take place in Camelot – being so far away made him feel like everyone was against him.

No, wait, they were.

"It is agreed. The wedding preparations shall commence before the next full moon."

A gavel should have struck the well-worn table to punctuate King Philip's statement -- and Arthur's perceived death sentence.


  1. Over descriptive, reminds me i'm reading a story rather than sucking me in. Try taking out every adjective and check out your action. Than rebuild. I bet it will be stronger.

  2. Hmmm, it didn't quite grab me, but it's also not a genre I usually read. I didn't enjoy my introduction to the protagonist being him having a tantrum over having to get married. It just made him sound whiny. I'd rather see him right it, than just say passive stuff like "I'm not allowed to argue?"

    Good luck!

  3. I quite like this. I get the sense we're not supposed to agree with Arthur right away--he's not the typical kingly portrayal you usually see. And why doesn't he want to get married, who are these province kings, and what is Merlin up to? Interesting start!

  4. Form rejection. I'm not on board with this, and I think it's because I don't have a good picture of where Arthur is in his life at the point the book opens. This feels like page 2, or maybe page 5.

  5. Thanks for the feedback! And actually, the next 100 words gives the setting for where Arthur is in his life. But I appreciate the feedback and has given me something to think about.

  6. I always love a good Authurian retelling.

    I didn't quite connect with Authur in this scene. His reaction and the actions here seem sort of... cartoony. It's not very realistic to me.

    In my opinion, you should just start with the idea that he's going to be forced to get married so we know what he's balking at and can empathize better. And have the reveal when he walks in be who he's marrying.

    But as it stands, the opening issue is too vague to compel me to care. Phrases like "So this was how it felt to be a condemned man marching to the gallows" and "A gavel should have struck the well-worn table to punctuate King Philip's statement -- and Arthur's perceived death sentence" don't really make me feel Arthur's dread. I'd rather be shown reactions and feelings that told about comparisons.

  7. Curious to the author: is there a twist to this Arthur/Merlin tale? I'm wondering what angle you're taking on the classic story.

  8. Author speaking! Yes, it is a twist to the standard story. Here's the 35 word pitch: When seventeen-year-old Gwen Masterson opens an enchanted book that whisks her back in time to Camelot, she must fight against Merlin's scheme to marry her to King Arthur while an evil sorceress plots Gwen's death.