Tuesday, May 7, 2013

First Kiss #32

GENRE: YA Fantasy (High/Epic)

Arika seeks her crush, Mikal, and is attacked by assassins just after meeting Syd and his pet wolf. Syd’s compatriots are interrogating the assassins nearby.

“You really seem to be in this for the common good,” she marveled.

He stepped back. “Arika, he murdered my mother,” he said acerbically. “Don’t you get it?”

She felt the words like stones thrown. Of all things, she could understand the loss of a parent. If that dragon had lived, she would be filled with vengefulness. Syd had nothing to lose and perhaps peace to gain.

She touched his hand; it was hot. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I meant no offense.”

“You should think before you speak,” he growled. Then he pulled her close and wrapped his arms around her, looking intently into her face. “But I forgive you.” And then he kissed her… and she let him.

It was a closed-lipped kiss, chaste and virtuous, but Arika felt deliciously wicked. She had never kissed anyone before. It was more than she’d ever imagined. She let him hold her, and she breathed in his smell. He was redolent of spring, and soap, and wholesome maleness.

The wolf growled. Startled, she remembered who she was, where she was, and what she had to do. She remembered Mikal. Oh, Lanai, Mikal, what have I done? She pulled away. “I, er, I should be getting back to the inn,” she stuttered. What was she thinking? She was here because of Mikal. She grasped guiltily for an image of Mikal’s chestnut eyes to hold in her mind.

“No, wait,” he said. “Look, I don’t know what’s got into me, I—”

“Master Syd, sir!”

They both looked back toward the temple, where one of the Fighters had emerged. “You’d better come see this!”


  1. The balance between dialogue and narrative is working really well in this scene.

    Your dialogue is good enough that I don't think you need "acerbically" to describe how Mikal talks about the murder of his mother. Saying "don't you get it?" covers it.

    I also like how you interrupted them at the end - the characters don't get much time to process the kiss, which is a great way to make it a source of tension in future pages!

  2. I like the kiss a lot! I like how it's closed lipped and yet she still feels wicked. Very nice detail.

    I'm a little pulled out, though, by the modern/informal dialogue vs the formal expostion. Words like chaste and virtuous and phrases like deliciously wicked and filled with vengefulness don't seem to match dialogue like "I, er, should be getting back to the inn" or "don't you get it?" There's a disconnect for me there that pulls me out of the narrative.

    Great kiss though. Good luck!

  3. I agree with the other commenters that the kiss is very well done. I really liked the description, "spring, and soap, and wholesome maleness." It looks like this is the start of an interesting conflict, too, with Arika falling for the wrong guy.

    I just had a couple of nits:
    - The first two dialogue tags ("marveled" and "said acerbically") made me groan. In both cases, a simple "said" would do the job.
    - The first sentence in the third para would be stronger if you reworded it to get rid of "she felt."
    - The kiss is "more than she'd ever imagined." How? I'd like to see something a little more specific there.

    Good job!

  4. I like the tension between the characters, and how it builds up after the kiss. The dialogue is good, but could be a little more formal to match the narration. Not too much, or it will feel clunky. The only metaphor I didn't get was:
    >>She felt the words like stones thrown.
    At her?

  5. I'm of the agreement of those above, about the informality of the dialogue being at odds with the narration. Also, be wary of the decorative dialogue tags; in this small excerpt you have: marveled, said acerbically, growled, and stuttered.

    With regards to the actual kiss, I liked it. It felt like it grew organically from the confrontation, and I do like that the explanation was interrupted, leaving the kiss hanging over them like the Sword of Damocles.

  6. The verbiage was lovely- the idea of words hitting painfully like thrown stones- but the delivery was a little clunky, and therefore, off putting for me. However, your excerpt smoothed out fantastically once he kissed her and I would most certainly read on.

  7. I also like the tension between Arika’s loyalty to Mikal and her attraction to Syd. I agree, too, about the dialogue disconnect. Ex: “Don’t you get it?” could be “Do you not understand?”

    OTOH, "...she would be filled with vengefulness” seems clunky. Maybe: ...she’d be seeking revenge, too.”

    Why was his hand hot?

    To me, the kiss seemed too abrupt. Maybe a little description about how she feels before the kiss? Draw out the tension? The actual kiss was great!

  8. Great scene! I'm in agreement with the others on the marveled and acerbically. You don't need them. As well, you don't need the "guiltily" when she grasps for an image of Mikal; we already feel her guilt.

    "It was more than she ever imagined," is on the vague side; I would love to see another line after it that further describes what that means/how the kiss is different than what she expected.

    Good stuff! I really like Arika!

  9. I agree with the folks above about sticking to the more simple dialogue tags.
    One little detail that took me out of the fantasy feel was that he smelled like soap. That makes me think of body wash or a Dove bar, of something modern. Maybe a different word there (because I like the overall description of his smell).
    I love that she felt wicked :)