Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January Secret Agent #20

TITLE: Dragoneer
GENRE: Upper MG Fantasy

In the kingdom of Medina the Hatching Festival was in full swing as Princess Reyna and her mother were gently handed up the three steps to their viewing box in front of the dragons’ nest. Bright fabrics and fresh flowers adorned the square. Lively music was playing in the distance while the area near the eggs was kept quiet. Chirping could be heard from inside the large rocklike eggs as the babies were impatient to emerge.

“How are you enjoying the festival?” asked King Leon, Reyna's father, as she took her seat beside him.

Reyna took in the noisy crowd, the tempting smell of festival foods, and the feeling of frivolity in the air. She loved any chance to escape the castle walls but this was special.

"It’s wonderful," she said excitedly. “I always love seeing the new dragons and I truly hope a girl is chosen. It’s been so long since..."

"The dragons always surprise us," her father interrupted. “But it’s not like the girls can become the warriors that the boys do. They will farm or guard the eggs or some such thing.”

Reyna ignored the comment. She knew her father thought talk of dragons and fighting was not right for a gently reared princess. Proper ladies should focus on music or embroidery or some other appropriate hobby. He didn’t even approve of her riding horses. She wasn’t going to let his social standards ruin this. It was only the third hatching she’d ever been allowed to attend.


  1. I really like the concept so far, but I think you have some places you could tighten things up a bit.

    The first paragraph is a bit bulky, especially the first sentence. And I'm not sure what you meant by "gently handed up"

    I also see a lot of 'to be' verbs and some passive voice (the last sentence in first paragraph). By replacing some of the was/were's you can make this a bit stronger especially the first paragraph.

    An example: In the kingdom of Medina the Hatching Festival was in full swing. Princess Reyna and her mother glided up the three steps to their viewing box in front of the dragons’ nest.

    I think with a few changes your first 250 words will really stand out.

  2. This has a ton of potential. Already I'm wondering if Reyna will be chosen by a dragon. If so, I would LOVE to read more.

    It can be tightened up, watch the word 'was', it tends to pull me out of the writing sometimes and as a writer it forces us to tighten up the writing.

    Otherwise, yes, I'd totally read on, in fact, I'd buy this on the premise alone.

  3. I like this. Great character building with Reyna. This conjures a Game of Thrones setting for me. Your writing is fluid, but I'd look for ways to cut unnecessary words. Also, you provide good sensory detail, but I'd try to be more specific -- what color fabric? what kind of flowers? what kind of food smells (I'm picturing one of those giant turkey legs :) ).

    Good luck!

  4. You definitely have me intrigued by the setting, the dragons hatching, and the hope that she will be chosen by the dragons - plus the mystery of what that will mean exactly. I like her conflict with her father and how it's not an overt battle. Regarding the use of 'was,' I agree with reviewers above who suggest you watch it. For instance, you could say 'lively music played in the distance' rather than 'was playing.' I, too, would like more specific sensory details, such as more about the music, food, etc. I 'got' having Reyna and her mother being 'gently handed up' and think it fit with the role females are obviously supposed to play in this culture.I'd love to read more.

  5. I agree with everyone else. Get rid of the passive writing, use stronger verbs and more specific nouns and you'll see how much stronger this will be.

  6. I thought this was an intriguing concept. I like the idea of the Hatching Festival and the MC wondering if she'll be chosen. I'd definitely read on.

  7. This is a nice concept and setting for a middle-grade fantasy, although it does feel familiar. What can you do to make it stand out? I agree with all the comments about the mechanics of your writing. Watch your comma usage (and non-usage) as well. “In the kingdom of Medina [comma] . . .” The dialogue between Reyna and the king is stilted. Overall, a nice middle-grade voice, and I might keep reading to see if it stands out from other middle-grade dragon fantasies.