Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September Secret Agent #20

TITLE: Flame's Veil
GENRE: YA Fantasy

When I saw the boy lying under the clothesline, I thought he was dead.

A scream crawled up my throat, but I muffled it with the corner of my apron. His muddied skin was porcelain tight, and no breath moved through his body; he could’ve been a statue, or a doll. Imagining the feel of his lifeless hands, all dry and papery, I shuddered and backed into the tomato plants. I couldn’t touch him, couldn’t go near him. I had to call for help, even if it meantmaking Kunis angry.

Then my good sense returned. First, I had to make sure he was dead.

I knelt at his side and reached for his wrist, searching for a pulse. Though mud obscured his face, I could make out his features – a proud but unobtrusive nose, a gracefully curving jaw. The corners of the mouth were turned up, like he was dreaming of something wonderful. And then there was the rest of him – endless legs, unruly copper hair, and suddenly, blue eyes, staring up at me.

“Hey,” he said in a low rasp.

I yelped and jumped backward as his frozen limbs animated one by one. As he sat up, I lifted my laundry basket in front of me, the closest I had to a shield. He could be anyone – a wanted man, or a local troublemaker, known for preying on young girls.

“Don’t be scared!” The boy wiped mud from his lips, revealing pink skin. “I won’t hurt you.”


  1. I like this. Your details are very clear and it introduces some immediate questions. Who is the boy? How did he get there?

    While details are your strength, they are also your weakness. There are too many. Tone down the adjectives a little. Who meets a stranger and thinks of their nose as proud and unobtrusive?

  2. Ditto Janice's comments. Liked this, hooked by the first line, but some of the details and description didn't seem as natural as they could be. But I'd read on.

  3. I agree with Janice. The description of his nose and jaw took me out of a it a bit. The other line that felt awkward was the "His muddied skin was porcelain tight" -- for me, porcelain and tight don't associate. I think of porcelain as smooth. Otherwise, I was definitely intrigued and would continue reading. I want to know more about this muddy boy! Best of luck!

  4. I really like this a lot. The voice is amazing. You put us right there with your MC. I really want to read on. Great job!

  5. I really liked this. The first sentence drew me right in. I have a clear image of the scene and the characters and my curiosity is piqued. Good job!!

  6. Intriguing! I would get rid of "A scream crawled up my throat...corner of my apron" in favor of getting to the boy under the clothesline right away, especially since your description at the end of the paragraph already makes it clear that your protag is scared. I also agree that the description of the boy is vivid, but a bit too detailed--is she really going to lean in close enough to make out his facial features through the mud if she's afraid?

    I would read on, for sure!

  7. I really like this! I'd definitely read on :) Well done!

  8. I really liked the first line. It drew me in immediately.

    You can probably keep a lot of your description as long as you paint it in the light of your character's current emotional state. For example, instead of comparing him to a statue or doll, the MC could compare him to roadkill (if they have such a thing in your world). That would be just as still and lifeless, in a way that sets the tone a bit different. You could do this for your description of his skin, hands, nose, jaw, etc. Whatever you find that works.

    Overall, I like this and would keep reading.

  9. I'm afraid I got derailed at the description of muddied skin being porcelain tight--they're not usually associated. And once the mystery guy went from presumed dead to a hunk (endless legs, etc), I realized that this just isn't my kind of story. To me it's a little too much focus on the physical, in a concentrated form. Certainly would work for a romance-y YA...