Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January Secret Agent #5

TITLE: The Incredible Bazza'Jo
GENRE: YA Fantasy

The white-haired girl sat down cross-legged on the dry, cracked clay in front of her home. In her lap she supported a small a glass pot filled with ice, water and a little blue-green sprout. A crowded audience of adolescents shifted and strained to get a better look. Through the warped and uneven glass of the pot they could see a network of crystalline roots wrapping around the ice cubes and forming starburst patterns like frost on a cold window. Above the surface of the ice water the plant grew straight as a plank, green with blue grasses. A few clusters of perfectly clear grains grew off the tip, plump and juicy-looking though they were hard and raw. The girl picked one of these, held it up for the crowd to witness, and then popped it in her mouth whole.

She closed her eyes and the crowd fell silent. Ibli began to pale before them. Her already pale skin grew whiter and whiter, until they could see blue veins at her temples and chin, and across her eyelids. She lifted both hands and wriggled her fingers, showing that her nails had turned a deep blue. When she exhaled, her breath misted in front of her, even though it was a sweltering late-summer day. The crowd could feel cold radiating off of her. Ibli opened her eyes and looked up to her right, where her older sister stood beaming like a proud parent.


  1. Just Another YA AuthorJanuary 16, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    I don't normally like stories that start with so much description, but the otherworldlyness of what is described here kept my attention. I would definitely read more!

    The only thing I would suggest is calling her by her name right away. In the first paragraph she is referred to as "the girl" and then suddenly in paragraph two she has a name. I see no reason to hold back her name. It's also not clear whose viewpoint we're in. Someone in the crowd? Why is this person's point of view important if I don't even know who it is?

  2. I agree that introducing her name from the start would make sense. I like the sense of wonder this invites, and would read on to find out more about this intriguing mc.

  3. A very intriguing opening! This reads more like a prologue to me, so if it is, nice work. If not, I agree that naming the character right off will help close that distance, as this does read distant, and I think it might serve you better to connect with the reader more if this is who we will be following for 200+ pages. However, maybe this girl isn't your main character, and your MC is witnessing this white-haired girl performing for the crowd.

    I'm not sure if my comment was helpful at all. In any case, I would keep reading to see where this goes.

  4. A few too many adjectives for me. Also, how does MC know what the crowd could feel?

    Need a better sense of the MC.

  5. I love fantasy, and I definitely am intrigued by your story, but I think it needs some "tweeking." Like a few of the comments before me, the adjectives should be reduced (there were 7 in just the first two sentences, and over 30 in just two paragraphs.)Someone once gave me advice about this: use stronger verbs and nouns. You might even want to start with sentence three here....

    I also agree about using the characters name right up front, but with the typeface on the blog I had a hard time with it. Is it Lbli? You might want to consider changing this to something that is easier to pronounce.

    I hope this helps. Great start!

  6. I'm fine with the descriptions, which are nice, though grammatically rough. What I do have trouble with is the omniscient viewpoint. I get no sense of what the character is thinking or feeling, only what she's doing. And though what she does is marginally interesting, I'm more interested in knowing her as a person, and I miss that in this.

  7. Always start with your MC's name, so the reader knows who the most important character is. Otherwise the reader expects the MC to be one of the spectators. If you want to mention her white hair (certainly an areesting detail), just say something like 'Ibli brushed her long, white hair out of her face and sat down cross-legged on the dry, cracked clay'. Just using her name means the reader knows where to focus and it immediately draws them in more.

    This is a really interesting scene, but I'm afraid I literally skim-read the first para - the description goes on for too long. Try to cut it down. I wonder whether it'd be better to get to know Ibli and her life a bit more before this happens? Just a very short intro would make this scene more shocking and magical.

    Also the word 'adolescents' sounded off to me for YA. How old is Ibli? The whole thing reads a bit more MG than YA to me, especially with the mention of her elder sister 'beaming like a proud parent'.

    Good luck!

  8. I really like the description of the sprout in the first paragraph. What a beautiful picture! But as a couple others have commented, I'm not sure who the MC is. The last sentence makes me think it's Ibli, but the first paragraph reads from a spectator's point of view. And the voice sounds a bit young to me. Wriggling fingers and an older sister beaming on make me think MG, not YA.

    A good start here, introducing us to something unique to the world. Just let us know right away who we should be getting attached to.

  9. I think beginning a story with two very long paragraphs is a mistake - no matter what is contained in them. Aesthetically on the page, it just looks to a casual reader as too much. I think you need to break that up - and descriptions can be also brought on in dialogue as a way of combatting the above. The omniscient narrator is distancing here and since I am not yet invested in a character or a situation, would likely make me stop reading.

  10. The omniscient narrator and the distant voice make this a difficult read for me. You’ve got some interesting descriptions, but I need to know who’s POV this is. The word “adolescents” jumped out to indicate that this is an adult voice. I also think that you need a better title. I think that this might have hooked me if it weren’t for the POV issue.