Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September Secret Agent #15

TITLE: The Dragon Princess
GENRE: Paranormal Romance

Throughout her life, Peregrine Zoracht, former princess of Kaukos, had found refuge in books and studies, and the dragon’s hoard was a wealth of knowledge unavailable to ordinary humans. But tonight, nothing could distract from the turmoil in her mind.

She slid the ancient scroll back onto its shelf in the dragon’s hoard, ran her fingers along a line of leather bound books. Behind her, the silver dragon jolted awake, his wings brushing against the roof of the cavern. He tilted his head to one side, as if listening to something only he could hear. We are no longer alone, Little One.

The absolute isolation of their ice cave made it impossible for this visitor to have any innocent purpose. “Hunters?”


He said nothing else. Rurik was not particularly talkative at the best of times, so if she wished to know the details...

Peregrine closed her eyes, and surrendered to the now-familiar rush of dragon magic, letting the heat and energy flow through her. A sea of boiling white replaced the darkness under her eyelids, and her body shifted. Changed. Grew.

Her senses stretched far beyond the confines of the lair, focusing on the scent of a man and the sound of footsteps crunching through rock and gravel.

Close. Very close.

The footsteps paused at the entrance, and a deep voice echoed through the caverns. “Hello? Anyone home?”

Definitely not the words of a hunter, and there was something very familiar about that voice.


  1. The first line feels like it is there for my benefit. It might be better cut, or if you showed me Peregrine's struggles instead of telling me about them.
    "Little One" makes me think of a line from Aragon, another dragon story. There needs to be something unique to this dragon tale, a clever twist or angle, because there are already a lot of stories about dragons out there. What are the stakes if they are discovered? What's at risk? You need to show me, otherwise the danger of the stranger finding them is not high enough to keep me reading.

  2. The opening sentence, although giving a lot of information, doesn't really grab my attention. Most of this could be presented later through action or dialogue. The previous commenter hit it dead on when he mentioned the immediate connection to Eragon -- the combination of "Little One" and the human/dragon mental connection is very much reminiscent of that story.

  3. I agree with the previous comments, that the opening sentence isn't as grabbing as it could be. I think if you're opening with a sentence describing the viewpoint character's personality, it needs to be something really interesting about their personality - liking books just isn't a hook.

    You've got the story moving though, and I'm interested to see what kind of relationship the main character has with the dragon.

  4. Feels cluttered to me. Not only is she a former princess, who studies, but has a dragon, who is telepathic, but she can also use dragon magic to change her body?

    Says her body changed, grew, but then all that you mention are her senses. Not sure what is happening there.

  5. I agree on the first line written as instructions to the reader rather than doing the work of showing it (not easy, I admit but hopefully the comments will help). My suggestion is to upend the first paragraph, move the last line up and combine some elements. Something like this:

    "Nothing could distract Peregrine from her turmoil that night, not even her favorite dragon text [name]." Something with a specific detail to show this fantasy, while introducing the character, implying she is struggling with something, and no distractions are helping. The next paragraph is intriguing--a dragon is with her in the cavern? Pretty cool.

    I'm curious, does she communicate with the dragon telepathically? I think if you can explain this in a clever way, that would be cool. She sensed the dragon's words through her mind, or whatever. I see it's explained more clearly later.

    I enjoyed this, and the pacing feels pretty good the rest of the way through. I like that she's got a dragon buddy, I see so much potential there.

  6. The first parg is explaining things to the reader, and any time you're explaining things to the reader, that's a sign that you don't need it.

    The first parg tells us she used to be a princess, she likes books, and she's worried about something. If you show her reading a book, we know she likes books. If you give us her inner thoughts, we not only know she's worried, but we'll even know what she's worried about. And that's another issue with this first parg. You tell us she's in turmoil, but you don't say what that turmoil is. The whole subject is dropped and forgotten, so why mention it? If it's important to the plot, tell us what it is. If it's not, cut it.

    It picks up after that, because, in parg 2, you allow the MC to act, speak, and think. I'd suggest getting rid of the first parg and just start the story. You have a former princess living in an ice cave with a dragon, and a stranger suddenly showing up. It's a good start. It's intriguing and it poses a potential problem. Just remember to stay inside the story, and never explain to the reader. Anything you want the reader to know should come out through dialogue (inner or outer) and action.

    Stick with it!

  7. These opening paragraphs feel a bit disjointed. First, we learn that knowledge is a refuge, but then we hear that her mind is in turmoil –instead of following this train of thought, she is interrupted from this turmoil by the announcement of an unexpected visitor. I would suggest expanding on this turmoil. I would also recommend revising the first sentence, which tells rather than shows, especially in the first part.