Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July Secret Agent #49

TITLE: Sarita

We had been climbing for days now, so far and high it seemed I should be able to reach up and touch the kingdom of the heavens. Why, then, did Inti, God of the Sun, not take pity and warm me? Was I not his chosen one, marked from birth as his future bride? Could he not spare even a smidgen of his almighty warmth for me now, one short day before we were to be wed? Icy wind bit through my clothing and deep into my bones. I shivered and pulled my shawl tighter but as Inti made his way closer to his nightly bed, it grew colder still.

A daughter of the red desert in the distance far below, still baking in the summer's heat, snow was new to me. I had marveled over it and crunched icy crystals, delighting in its purity. That seemed ages ago: snow had long since lost its charm. Instead my eyes lingered on gashes in the earth where fuming water spurted, sullying the air with the stench of rotten eggs and staining the rubble orange and poison green. Could the trail to the heavenly Kingdom be so foul? But white stones marked the edges of the trail: there was no mistaking it. Above, the sky was the bluest I had ever seen--the color of the eyes of Inti. Was he looking down on me now? For just a moment I felt his pull. And so I continued, slowly, ever higher on my journey up Llullaillaco.


  1. Wow--a story about an ancient Incan sacrifice. Dang.

    I love the idea of the historical fiction you have going here, but I think you put your most attention-grabbing lines last. "Could the trail to the heavenly Kingdom be so foul?" already sets up the actual tension of the story--this girl's on her way to be sacrificed, and doesn't get it! Make us suspicious, just a tiny bit, at the beginning, and THEN go on with the beautiful descriptions. Ugly first, tired later.

    That's what I think.

  2. Hmmm. I don't understand why the last three sentences are blanked out. If you highlight the white area with your cursor you can still read them.

  3. Some nice descriptions here, but I think your second paragraph is the strongest of the two. Maybe there are too many questions in the first paragraph? Even though you mention "We" I get the sense she is traveling alone.

  4. I like the girl-on-way-to-sacrifice premise.

    And I see that the MC is slowly becoming disillusioned: why isn't Inti warming his bride; snow has lost its charm; could this foul trail really be it. But I'm wondering if it would be more powerful if you focused on just one area of disillusionment for a stretch.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. What is the genre? Historical or Fantasy?

    This sounds very interesting, I want to understand the culture. But it doesn't read MG in either voice or subject matter. Almost not even YA, but I could see that being shown soon.

    Another thing - and this just might be a "me only" nit - I'm not a big fan of using the words "now" and "here". Unless stated otherwise, pretty much everything is happening here and now. So the past tense (or is it past perfect or someother term I don't remember) combined with "now" really throws me in the first sentence.

    Some of your writing is really lovely and enticing, just not sure about the fit with MG.

  6. I'm intrigued by your premise! It took a moment for me to realize what was going on, but I love the concept. I feel like there are lots of internal questions, which makes it a bit more difficult to sink into (not only am I not sure what was going on, but it sounds like she's unsure as well). Again, some lovely imagery. You might be able to break up these paragraphs to increase readability~ just a thought :)

  7. Good job setting up the story and the concept comes through. There's some skillful writing in there as well. I'd say eliminate the questions and let the MC make statements to reveal her character.
    Also, not sure this feels MG to me.

  8. Distinct world, love the line "snow had long since lost its charm."

  9. I agree with GSMarlene and Sarah. Not sure this says MG to me. The language struck me as a bit too flowery for this little girl, walking up a mountain...because the people in charge told her to[?] It was hard for me to dive into, and I think tweaking the MC's voice to portray her age would help.

    Maybe the adults who told her she was promised to Inti use this kind of language, and she's half-quoting them, or trying to sound like them?

    Also, you started with 'WE had ben climbing.' But the rest of the excerpt sounded like she was alone. If she's climbing with other people, who/what/how many are they?

  10. I really liked this, but it reads a bit old for MG. That's the only issue for me

    I'd still read on:)

  11. It certainly grabbed me - I want to keep reading! Will this earnest young girl meet her death?! I wish I knew more about the genre. If it was fantasy, at least I wouldn't have to worry so much about her fate. Maybe they really could get hitched. :) I do agree with the others that in voice and content it may skew more YA than MG.

  12. You all are wonderful! I've already done one revision based on comments and suspect another is in my near future. The book is historical, not fantasy...although I love Betsy's comment that if it were fantasy, maybe the MC could actually marry the Sun God.

  13. I'm actually going to disagree with what the others are saying about it not being MG. I knew right away that this took place in the Incan culture and girls at 12 or 13 were probably married off or in this case, sacrificed. As a MG I would have been fascinated with this, especially when I figured out she was sent to die. It's harsh but I don't necessarily think it's inappropriate.

    The Incan culture is still somewhat mysterious, they haven't begun to decipher the quipu, so as a writer you still have your freedom.

    I am very curious about this, well done!

  14. This isn't just MG this has got to be MG fantasy or something of the like. Which I have no interest in. But I will say the writing is way too heavy. It's overwhelming. I have no sense of the MC. Or what is really going on. Very confusing.