Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March Secret Agent #17

TITLE: Kala, The Dragonkeeper
GENRE: Middle Grade Fantasy

Tap, tap. A ripple of excitement ran through the crowd at the sound, and Marrak, the sorcerer, hurried over to where Kala stood.

Kala had dressed with care that morning, knowing this was the most important day of her life so far, and that many eyes would be on her. She was pleased with her white woolen tunic and cloak. They were the finest clothes she had ever owned. She’d twisted her dark hair into a single thick braid and let it hang down to her waist.

Marrak pulled something out of his robes and handed it to her. It was a heavy silver clip with runes enameled in violet and red on its surface. It felt slimy when Kala touched it.

“Pin it on,” Marrak said, bending over her and blotting out the weak winter sunshine.

Kala fastened it to the shoulder of her tunic then wiped her fingers on her cloak.

“Now tell me, Kala, what is your first duty?” he said.

“As soon as he comes out, I am to say, ‘I name you, Varson, for you are adopted as the son of the king.’”

“And how will you know when the time is right?”

“My eyes will be shut, because I fear the power of his beauty, so I shall speak when I hear you say, ‘Now, Kala.’”

“Good, good. Don’t make a mistake.” Marrak’s voice was menacing.

Kala shivered and pulled the cloak tightly round her.

Marrak smiled a nasty little smile. “I see you understand the consequences of failure.”


  1. Tight writing, except for Marrak. You could take out some of his voice tags and facial expressions. Youre on your way

  2. You write well. I can tell that from just these few lines. The problem is, so far, I'm not sure if this reads as MG yet. Of course, I don't know the age of the main characters, but this just reads more YA to me for some reason. The tone is darker, but certainly dragons always appeal to middle grade readers.

    Overall, I'd say you have great potential here. I'd be interested to see where you're going here, so I'd read more.

  3. The description of Kala is effective. You work in the mention of her clothing and hair in a natural way -- not an easy thing to do. Also, "blotting out the weak winter sunshine" is very nice, both in terms of the language and the visual it creates.

    The tone seems middle grade to me, in the way Marrak addresses Kala. The dialogue doesn't grip me, though. I feel like I'm being told that he's menacing, but I don't really feel it. Get under Kala's skin more. How does Marrak make her feel? I get the impression that perhaps she should be cowering, but I'm not getting that vibe from her.

    The plot is interesting, but it seems that Kala's been given a lot of responsibility for a child. Can you provide some internal monologue that shows her worrying about this burden being placed on her? Deepening the characterization will give the reader more of a reason to care about this girl and will create more of a hook.

  4. Good worldbuilding, high stakes and use of description, but I feel like this is page two. I would definitely continue to read this to see how quickly you bring us to the important event.

  5. Good start. I assume this is upper MG due to the voice. I'd read more to find out what the sorcerer is planning. I'm sure he's a crook...

  6. I'm so curious to know why her eyes have to be shut. There are a lot of questions already running through my mind so I'd definitely want to read on to get those answers.

    I would like to know more about her internal thoughts to know how she's feeling during this scene. Otherwise, great job.

  7. I liked it. The underlying danger in a momentous time of her life is a good hook. I'm very curious to find out what/who Varson is.

    But I was also struck with why this child is being included in such a dangerous thing. I can't decide whether Marrack is a mentor who is guiding her through a rite of passage or a villain forcing her to do something. Is this a good moment or a bad moment?