Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September Secret Agent #36

TITLE: My Dragon’s Keeper
GENRE: YA fantasy

Dry, barren and remote, just like his life, Garith Dern thought hell must look like this. The town of Halifire had always seemed to be hiding something, like someone trying to bury their past.

Garith thought if he ran fast enough and never looked back that Halifire would fade like a inconvenient memory. If only it were that simple.

The rain cascading off his head seemed desperate to wash away the desolation in his heart and Garith welcomed it more than even the sunniest days. Rain settled the dust and brought a cleansing touch to Halifire, like light exposing the darkness. But it couldn’t change the anxiety, the unrevealed potential in his life.

Garith’s 17th birthday had come and gone, the eve of the age of release when a boy would be commissioned into manhood, choosing the trade he would pursue the rest of his life. Many of the young men he knew had gained apprenticeships throughout town. He should be bonding further with his father and standing alongside him in his vocation as he contemplated his own.

Just the opposite had occurred. His father grew more distant and appeared less interested in the choices before his son. He didn’t seem to care about his only son’s future.

“I’ll get to it, Garith. I just don’t have the time,” was all Narith Dern ever said. No matter how Garith pleaded, his father appeared unmoved and distracted.

Garith ran faster to match the pace of the downpour. He relished the freedom running provided.


  1. This page has a lot of interesting tidbits. It also contains a lot of info dumping. It would work better if you start him in a scene where one of his friends is going off to a trade and he has an argument with his father. Don't tell us he's having problems. Show us those problems.

  2. I agree with Janice. I also want to point out that your opening line includes a misplaced modifier--as written, Garith Dern is "dry, barren, and remote," not the town. Also, watch out for weak, passive words like "seemed" and "appeared" and awkward, out-of-character phrase choices like "the unrevealed potential in his life."

  3. I am interested in this delayed maturing process that leads to the growing tension between him and his dad. His desire to escape sounds just like most teens at some point during those awkward years when we are trying to find ourselves.

    I also agree with the previous comments concerning showing more than telling--and the idea about a fight with his father could show much of this while also making it clear how tense it has become between them. Also, the first line could be internal dialogue, which would make his reaction to the environment even more immediate for the reader and fix the issue Princess Sara points out.

  4. OK! I like the descriptions here and the cleansing touch and rain settling the dust. Good tension. Interesting start! <3

  5. Janice, Princess Sara, MPH2003 and LTM, I appreciate your input and taking the time to comment. This really helps me. I've been reworking this opening a few times. Thanks for your candid responses.

  6. It's so hard to judge when you're only reading the first 250 words, but from reading the excerpt I might suggest starting the book in a different spot--one where there's more action to hook us in.

  7. The first sentence read clunkily, otherwise the writing was pretty good. I'm not sure I buy into the whole hellish desolation thing going on -- I would think he would be angry, frsutrated, determined, maybe not so tragic.

    There was a lot of info-dumping and setting the darkness of the scene. I would like more action and less reflection on his situation.

  8. I agree with the comment above that the first few sentences didn't immediately hook me into the scene. And the mention of rain right after the dry and barren description didn't feel right.
    I also felt like your MC was 'reacting' to the world around him a little too much for the beginning of a novel.
    That said, the world you've created seems very interesting and I'd want to see where this lead.
    Good luck!

  9. I really liked this. I think if you stareted with "Garith's 17th birthday...." then it would launch right into an interesting situation. What comes before is really not adding to the story. But, the situation that je fnds himself in IS interesting and you could weave so much back story into it as it unfolds. Nicely done.

  10. I agree with the previous comments. This sounds like an interesting story starting in the wrong spot.

    I also found it a little difficult when reading that the boy and his father had rhyming names but perhaps this makes sense further on in the novel.

    I also think the last sentence of hte second paragraph should read "if only it was that simple" but perhaps you are trying to show the voice of the mc?

    also, whenever possible try to be specific not vague. for example, when you say he should be standing alongside his father in his vocation, instead tell us what that is.

    I'm not sure I would continue reading as I did not connect to this main character but that may also be because most YA fiction I read has a female MC. at least that makes yours different - good luck!! :)

  11. I'm afraid I didn't connect with the character (a bit too 'woe is me' for me) or the writing, which I thought employed too many cliches.