Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September Secret Agent #21

TITLE: The Lokana Chronicles
GENRE: Fantasy

Tears had carved grooves through the layers of grime on the poor farmer’s face as he fought to maintain his dignity. “Please, your Highness, have mercy. I beg you.”

Vegin sympathized with the man. After all, it wasn’t his fault the rains had stopped. But that didn’t nullify his duty to pay his taxes. The prince was silent for a moment; he wanted to choose the right words. He glanced at his father out of the corner of his eye and wondered if his judgment would be allowed to stand.

But as Vegin opened his mouth to pass sentence on the man, Tol sighed loudly, letting his hand drop against the arm of his throne in irritation. “I’ve heard enough – if you can’t pay your taxes, then you’ll simply have to work off your debt. Guards, take him away.”

“But your Majesty, please! My family – without me, they’ll starve!”

“Father, you’re only supposed to observe,” Vegin hissed. “Remember?”

Tol’s mouth fell open an inch or so as he stared at his son, momentarily silenced by the boy’s brazenness. It took only a moment for his shock to be replaced with anger. “I’ll deal with you in a moment,” he said, glaring daggers at Vegin, who rose from his seat and stormed out of the room. “As for you,” he bellowed, returning his attention to the old farmer, “you should have thought of your family before you decided not to pay your taxes. If they die, you’ll have only yourself to blame.”


  1. Is Tol an older Prince Joffrey? Why is Tol allowing Vegin to "play at" ruling?I reallllyyy want to know what happens next.

  2. Your opening sentence really caught my eye! I really have a soft spot for any story involving royalty.I would read on, I need to find out what happens to the Prince.

  3. I like the tone of this bit, but I keep stumbling over the name Vegin. I'd probably get over it if the rest of the writing is like this, but with most people, you only get a few pages and having a name so similar to 'vegan' might hurt your chances unnecessarily.

  4. Sorry if this comes off as harsh with all the redacteds around, but this didn't feel like an Adult entry to me. I'm getting a midteen vibe from the prince, which seems to be the MC (though there is a POV shift in the last paragraph).

    Nothing about this particularly draws me in. I'd love more about the setting in here, rather than a familiar scene of a farmer not paying taxes and an unreasonable king punishing him.

    As I said, I might be wrong, but the personality of Vegin seems to skew younger.

  5. I'm sorry but this reads MG or Ya to me. The setup's also too familiar sounding. Consider starting your story in a different place. Also having a problem with the name Vegin. Farmer, Vegin, vegan. I get it, but maybe it's too obvious.

  6. The opening line might fare better reversed with the dialogue first. Otherwise, the reaction feels over written since there is no context yet. This is a nitpick, but you can nix "in irritation" after the hand drops against the throne; you've shown it, so it's not needed to also tell on top of it.

    I don't read a lot of fantasy, I more so watch TV & movies, and this scene is something I've seen before. I only mention that since it's such a tough market in publishing to begin with, and even more so with high fantasy. You want to make sure the unique aspects of your story are shown to the best of your ability. It's not that this scene is "bad" but it does feel expected--I've seen this played out on Merlin and Game of Thrones.

  7. Wow, tough comments. Maybe I only think so because I REALLY LIKED IT! And I consider myself rather picky. :D

    The young protagonist. Okay. As a reader of fantasy, I think it's perfectly fine and doesn't necessarily get you thrown into the YA genre. Think Brent Weeks and Brandon Sanderson. They have teenaged protags, and if you balance your young protag with a second adult protag (as these authors often do) it's even better. I think it's premature to call your story YA when we don't even know if there are any other main POVs in the manuscript!

    Maybe the scenario is a little generic, but you could fix that by tweaking details. Maybe instead of a farmer who has to pay taxes, you can have something more innovative, like a playwright who mocked the monarchy in his latest play and needs to be punished. That way, you could convey Vegin's merciful inclinations as well as the king's ruthlessness without having the king be so obviously cruel. It would show that the society is unhappy with his rule, for example, if playwrights are mocking him.

    I think you could tighten the dialogue a bit. Sometimes characters say things that are too obvious. And if Vegin is the POV, how can he storm out of the room if the scene is still playing out before us? I was a little confused there.

    Love the opening line! Yes, I'm biased - my novel opens with someone crying, too. But it immediately evokes the question "WHY is this man crying?" and makes me keep reading. The image with the tears cutting through the layers of grime is awesome!

    This genre is hard to write, but keep at it! Remember that a lot is subjective. I think you have serious potential.

  8. I normally don't read fantasy at all, but I found the excerpt intriguing.

  9. It does seem this is a common scene, as is the dialogue, too, and you might consider a different opening or making this unique in some way.

    It also seems like it's Vegin's story, but the last parg shifts to Tol's POV. Is it an omniscient POV or close third?

    This also emphasizes the farmer not paying his taxes. The more important issue seems to be Vegin's relationship with his father, while the farmer is incidental. If this is supposed to be in Vegin's POV, perhaps stay with him as he storms off, since the end of the scene with the farmer is predictable, and we can assume it ends that way, anyway. Or we can learn the outcome later. Vegin is what matters here, not the farmer. Stick with him.

  10. Vegin seems like a fairly sympathetic protagonist, but it would be interesting to see some of his feelings as he’s watching the scene unfold – is he bored by these proceedings, usually? Why does this man's plight in particular cause him to have an outburst?