Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April Secret Agent #30

TITLE: Superteens in Training
GENRE: YA Paranormal Romance

There was no mistaking the darkness on the eastern horizon; they were coming.

Malaysa clutched the balcony railing as she stared out over the arid land bathed in a predawn glow. The sound that had woken her--the tinkling of metal tubes--continued to ring through the air.

Her mother, Innelle, ran to her side, also staring out with a terrified expression. “Those are the alert chimes.”

“The Drab Forces are attacking, aren’t they?” Malaysa asked, a quiver in her voice. She had a feeling something in her life was going to change, but had no idea what.

Innelle didn’t answer, but she didn’t have to.

“How did they find out the Enchanted Goddesses have been born?” Malaysa said.

“Perhaps they have spy drones, like we do.”

“Do you think the Drabs want to steal the infants?”

“Or kill them.”

Malaysa frowned and looked down to where fellow clan members were gathering outside their alloy huts, preparing for battle. Most of them were sorcerers, their long robes billowing in the conjured gales; the same winds that tossed Malaysa’s auburn hair around her face.

“It’s the beginning of the war,” Innelle muttered.

Malaysa took a deep breath at the last word. “Can we win?”

“Maybe, but it will be years before the Goddesses can help fight and I don’t think we can do it without them.” Innelle glanced towards the approaching army, her face troubled. “Our powers won’t help in this battle. Let’s get to the underground shelter.”


  1. I like the writing, the tone, and the images in this opening. I feel like I'm being swept right into a high fantasy and I want to read on.

    However, I can't help wonder about the title. It sounds like a completely different story from what I'm reading on the page. "Superteens in Training" doesn't sound like the title of a high fantasy novel and it also doesn't sound like paranormal romance. I'm confused.

    But titles are easy to change!

    I would be curious to read more. Good luck!

  2. I agree wit the title not feeling right. The stakes are high in these 250 words, but yet we don't know anything about the characters yet.

    Perhaps another opening might work better. I do like the premise and would keep reading.

  3. Agree as above re: title. Interesting premise. I would read on.

  4. Agree - the title does not fit. When you're dealing with Enchanted Goddesses, I don't immediately think of superteens training for anything. But an easy fix :)

    I would keep reading to see where this goes.

  5. I'd have to agree with the title thing, the writing is strong, the voice clear. But when I first started I was expecting some sort of tween X-men deal, this is much more high concept, high fantasy than I'd assumed. Might throw a potential agent, don't know. But the writing is intriguing enough I'd read on!

  6. Definitely agreeing that the title feels off.

    I'm not usually one for high fantasy, but I'm very curious about what's going to happen next.

    The only thing that stood out to me was that she referred to her mother by name, rather than "mother." So their dialogue often felt like it was between two friends of the same age, rather than a mother and daughter. Just something to keep in mind.

    Good luck :)

  7. This beginning feels way too sweeping and epic for a beginning.

    Concepts and things and people are flying by at breakneck pace but where it the story and the action?

    I couldn't connect.

    I'd say focus on one character and try to get inside their head and write from there.

  8. The tone in here is so literary that it sort of sucks away some of the impending terror for me. Maybe if the mom and Malaysa spoke about what was happening as they high tailed it to the shelter, it would add some tension.

    But I liked what I read, and would probably read on:)

  9. I don't read epic fantasy, so this one isn't for me. However, I think you did well with the set up and your writing is strong.

  10. I like this. Sorcerers and Enchanted Goddesses mixed with spy drones. I'm intrigued.

    Some of the dialog didn't feel real. It felt like they were telling me things instead of talking to each other. I also agree withe changing the title and having more action happening instead of just discussing it.

    Despite that, I would keep reading to find out what's going on.

  11. The only thing I don't like is the title (like many of the others) but that is easy to change!

  12. I agree with JC Falor - it did seem like the dialogue was telling instead of showing. But I'm intrigued enough to read on as well :)

  13. Title isn't right - unless this takes a huge leap from this epic-seeming tale. I also agree that the opening scope is wide - almost cinematic with sounds and flurries of people (I like the conjured wind), etc., but it does seem that the mother/dtr and telling the reader rather than speaking w/each other. Would be interested in reading more.

  14. I think the writing is quite strong but that doesn't save the excerpt from problems. The title must go since it makes you expect a wholly different type of story and style. The dialogue falls into the trap of trying to be too expository. I suggest you focus on character instead - let the rest cine naturally throught the development of the plot and characters. But, that is all structure stuff - and choices - but you already have the most important tool which is your obvious talent as a writer. So, onwards!

  15. Best. First. Line. Ever. I do agree with Happy on the dialogue a bit though. I'm not into this type of novel (not that this matters AT ALL), but I would still read on despite the flaws. I think this is an interesting premise.

  16. Not hooked, sorry. Perhaps a bit too much conversation?

  17. Certainly I agree regarding the disconnect on the title. It suggests humor and tongue-in-cheek (and to me at least an urban fantasy), instead it opens with literary writing and drama in a high fantasy or sci-fi setting. Also, while there is some lovely writing here, to me the dialogue reads info-dump-ish (made-up word - sorry!) You can move of the facts into her thoughts or save them for later. Also, the line "She had a feeling something in her life...[etc.]" isn't needed - very much a telling not showing moment in an otherwise well-written page.
    Good luck!
    Dana (#41)

  18. Drab Forces is a very cool concept and the idea that the Enchanted Goddesses were born, which is why the attack is happening, I also like.

    But the conversation between the two just fell flat. The tension began to seep off and I wanted to grab them both and shake them. "Why are you having a conversation like this right now?"

    If an alarm went off in your home, what would you do? I think a typical human reaction needs to be on this front page, but with more drastic actions. The alarm does not mean anything good, and we can be told later what it means, for now, get those character in action, show us what they grab in alarm mode: the dog? A couple of cases of wine? (I sure would.)

    If you follow up your first very ominous line with typical human reaction, you will have sucked the reader in far better and you can fill us in later, once we care if these two characters make it to safety.