Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September Secret Agent #17

TITLE: Havoc's Knot
GENRE: Upper MG Epic Fantasy

There was nothing more annoying than a blinding sunbeam. Frankly, Jake was not fond of the sun, or anything about the outdoors. And the sweet clean stench of spring air was pounding an irrational thought through his mind. Am I outside? That simply made no sense. And yet, that’s exactly what he knew to be true.

Every muscle and bone within him ached as though he had slammed against the damp ground beneath him. Dark clouds rolled overhead, shrouding the sky in gray as he lay sprawled within a patch of feathery meadow grasses agitated by the wind. Jake lifted himself and took in the scenery.

The dusk lit meadow was sprinkled with flowers and shrubs, surrounded by trees that scraped the clouds. Glancing at the stormy ceiling, he noticed a pink glow shed by the rising moon and another, much smaller moon snuggled close to the horizon. One thing was for sure, this was not Earth. Suddenly, he remembered what happened at the museum.

“Are you lost?” asked a welcoming voice. As his heart slammed against his ribs, Jake twisted around and sprung to his feet. A man in his early thirties stood before him with an outstretched hand and yellow eyes that tore straight through Jake’s quivering body. He kept his defensive position a good five feet from the individual.

“I think so,” he said, touching his neck. The voice that came out of his mouth was not the one Jake was familiar with. It sounded older.


  1. Hmmm, up until the last line, I wasn't hooked. There was so much description of the scenery, and it didn't sound like a kid's viewpoint. However, I don't read much fantasy, so that may be more common in the genre.

    That being said, when it came to the last line, I definitely wanted to read on. He's in an older person's body? I want to know what happens next. Good luck!

  2. I was a bit disoriented reading this and also felt the description bogged things down a bit and didn't add a whole lot.

    Since this is not earth, I think you need to start with the moons. Maybe the MC hit his head and when it clears and there's still double moons, he realizes he's on a different world.

    The line about the museum also confused me.

    I think there's potential here, and a little revision will go along way. Best of luck!

  3. I actually liked the description and felt it well, if maybe a little over done. I especially liked the meadow grasses line, and the opening line I thought was fun. I became disengaged at the first sentence of the museum para. Welcoming voices and hearts slamming against ribs sound a little cliche to me. The end is hooky, though. Good luck!

  4. OK! I'm getting where this is headed. (250 words is so hard!) I would suggest saying "that blinding sunbeam." To get us grounded right off. I like it! Time and space travel. Good stuff. :o)

  5. I also like the description, but you could save some of it for later and move us into the action a little quicker so that we understand more regarding this sudden immersion into a whole new world. Also, the you open with a blinding sunbeam and then mention the "stormy ceiling" and moons. I realize this is another world, and these details make it even more strange. But perhaps clarifying or simplifying in this first page would make it less confusing.

    Definitely an interesting opener.

  6. I love your character already. A super geeky kid used to be indoors? I'm sold. Then I hit the line where he didn't realize he was outside and I realized he was waking up. Then I was disappointed. Start with the museum. I'm guessing you've put the scene in the book via flashback. I think it would be a much stronger opening to start us there instead of hint at it. Don't hide the good stuff! (And power to the geeky characters!)

  7. Opening with too much scenery description is not a great idea. Pick one or two very vivid details and toss them in while your character reflects on the action.

    I was also confused because your opening like mentions a blinding sunbeam then there are dark clouds and a dusk lit meadow. Did the weather change? If it did change this suddenly, that needs to be made clear - perhaps the MC could remark on the sudden change.

    I also like the last line but was confused why Jake touches his neck - is he feeling for broken bones or does he touch his throat when he hears his voice is different?

    I think with some revisions you could have a good hook in the opening. Good luck.

  8. Too many moments of confusion and contradiction in the descriptions in the first three paragraphs. I've never seen "stench" applied to sweet clean spring air. And the mixture of blinding sunbeams, dark clouds, dusk-lit meadows, and moons completely derailed me.