Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September Secret Agent #47

GENRE: YA Fantasy

My blood will entice warlocks to ask for my hand in marriage, so of course Father wants it spilled. The sooner he can have the magic within it measured, the sooner he can be rid of me. Despite knowing this my whole life, I'm still unprepared for the demand. I'm not ready to enter the marriage pool. However many warlocks desire my hand, he won't think them enough to make up for my being the eldest of fourteen girls instead of being a boy.

Is there any way to say that without a fist flying my way? Or a hex? Father hasn't blasted me with one of those in a few days. I hazard a glance at him.

The predawn rays aren't enough to brighten his face as he sits at his desk next to me, just enough to cast a faint glow. I'm not worth using an electric lamp for, nor a candle. It makes it harder for him to read my expressions, at least. Easier to mask my words than my face. Yet it masks him as well. I can't tell if he's in a forgiving mood or not, but I can't stay silent. What if this is my only chance to get out of the marriage pool?

“Not all girls get tested at seventeen,” I say.

“You will enter the marriage pool.” Father stands.


His fist knocks my face so hard I plummet off my chair onto the wooden floor. “You're more stubborn than the Envadi. We are going.”


  1. The premise of this is intriguing. I was confused by "wants it spilled" though. Maybe a rephrasing of this would help.

    The other thing that struck me as a little odd was her father punching her. Is abuse okay in this world? Will it be a central theme of the book? It's hard to just read the first 250 words and not have much context. I guess what struck me as being so odd was that her father punched her and she just stort of glazed over it in one sentence. You might fix it in the next paragraph and I would never know it, but adding at least another sentence to give some sort of clue as to the context of the punch would be good. Is it okay in this world? etc.

    I really like this beginning. Great job!

  2. I, too, am confused about the abuse thing in this story. I can't tell if this is going to be ongoing, or if she's going to get away from the father and that will be the end of that.

    That being said, I like the general premise so far, although I'd spell out a little more specifically what kind of magic her father has. Is he a warlock too, and that's why he's marrying her off to one?

    Also, the thing about fourteen sisters interested me. I wonder if they're going to be characters as well?

    Overall, you did a pretty nice job.

  3. I love the idea of your story, but for some reason, the word "warlocks" right away kind of turns me off --

    Not sure about the line, "I hazard a glance at him."

    But I LOVE the title!!! It makes me want to keep reading -- I agree with what others said -- about the father punching his daughter that is a little strange, but as long as it is explained soon after.

  4. I've read this and the query before. I like the premise and the voice here. The whole 250 thing is so tough if the reader doesn't know where the story is going. Since I do it's easier. Even so, the opening makes me want to read more (even if I didn't know what's to come). Good job and good luck.

  5. I think this is a very strong start. There's nice (well, not nice, not at all) conflict between father and daughter, and with a few words, you show that it's a lifetime's worth. Nicely done!

  6. You have definitely hooked me. There are places where it's a bit wordy, but I skipped right over it. In only a few words I get a since for this character, the world she lives in and two central conflicts (her father's abuse and a forced marriage). Well done.

  7. I like the MC already. But wonder if you could bring up the information in the first paragraph in a less 'telling' way. Right now, it seems a bit info-dumpish. It wouldn't stop me from reading, though. I'm interested to see how she gets out of this

  8. OK! A lot of interesting stuff communicated already. I like the MC and the voice. Great writing. I hope she gets out of that pool~ :)

  9. I really liked the opening and the idea that her magic can be measured in her blood - very cool.

    I was a little thrown by the punch too. I think if you're going to do something like that, do not give us a hint of it earlier in paragraph two.

    An interesting premise. I would keep reading.

  10. The first line turned me off -- it seemed pretty out there and unnecessarily poetic/dramatic -- but the rest pulled me in. I'm definitely interested in this world and in the idea that she'll be married off -- that she's not looking forward to it even though her father is awful.

    I had no belief problems with the father being awful, although I would like more fear from her of him, or more emotions in anticipation of his cruelty.

    One thing that got me was that you kept using 'warlocks'. If we're doing a 'warlocks and witches' kind of thing, the world-building would be tighter if you omitted 'boys and girls' and used the magical equivalents instead. If everyone is a warlock, I don't understand why she's specifically talking about being married off to a warlock.

    I'd like clearer terms and tighter world-building there, but overall I'm into this. Really good work!

  11. The father wants my blood spilled thing did confuse me quite a bit, but once I figured out what was going on I really enjoyed the concept. I think maybe the second line could be reworked - 'rid of me' in combination with blood spilled might be too much. If you took out the 'rid of me' bit I think you'd still get your intent across :)

  12. This definitely caught my attention: I'd read on! You gave the reader a clear sense of the main character's situation quickly while building intrigue simultaneously.

    Good luck!

  13. I wasn't shocked as much by the punch as some. In the little context we have in 250 words, you can understand his frustration at not having a son, which apparently is necessary in this world. The warlock thing threw me off a bit. I'm not sure of their role in this particular world so it would be interesting to watch what happens to the MC. I would definitely read more but I agree that it could be tightened up a bit here and there.

  14. I really liked this and would read on. I do agree with Jessica that the punch will have even more of an impact (so to speak) if you don't mention that she's expecting a fist her way in the second paragraph. You could use a more general term here. Other than that very minor quibble, I think this is good.

  15. "My blood will entice warlocks to ask for my hand in marriage, so of course Father wants it spilled. The sooner he can have the magic within it measured, the sooner he can be rid of me." -- such a strong beginning two sentences! The abuse thing doesn't bother me, because it is clear that wherever this MC lives, her world is very differen from ours. (still, I hope somebody hits him back one of these days! ;) )

    I would definitely read on!

  16. Certainly an interesting bunch of details in this first paragraph, though I'd probbably switch around the 4th sentence the 3rd--otherwise it feels out of place.

    In the third paragraph, the line "I'm not worth using an electric lamp for" felt, to me, heavy-handed: we already have extreme sympathy for the MC thanks to the overall situation, and particularly, the physical abuse.

    I'd read more.