Friday, November 29, 2013

(15) Fantasy: A BREATH OF SILVER

TITLE: A Breath of Silver
GENRE: Fantasy

In 2165, Historian Bryn MacBride thrives on uncovering facts about the Outside beyond Cimmeria’s quarantine, but with her mother’s time running out, she must delve into folklore and a forgotten labyrinth called the London Underground for answers. When her hunt lands her in 1692, history in the flesh tests her knowledge — and her loyalty.

I wouldn’t normally choose to spend my birthday in the Ruins. Triss Locke loved exploring, and following her father’s funeral that morning, I figured we could all use the distraction. It was on that last-minute research expedition, amidst our upheaval, I decided on two sure things. One: I would never voluntarily fit into a vase; and two: marriage was complete and utter bollocks.

The debris cascaded between my fingers, leaving in my hands a near-perfect specimen — the sort that makes an entire day’s digging worthwhile. Cracks spiderwebbed the rim but nary a chip. Pleased as I was at this discovery, it was uncanny in its resemblance to the jar that now held Jack Locke in particle form atop his wife’s mantelpiece.

“Guys, check this out,” I called, scribbling location notes.

Triss and Hyde turned from a vibrant glass pile, conspicuous against the Ruins’ melted ashen sea. Triss’s eyes widened.

“Oh, it’s glorious, Bryn!” She took the urn to show Hyde.

I smiled and returned to shoveling, resolution still ablaze. Tonight I’d endure my birthday dinner. Mama would roll out her annual “find a husband” speech, but seeing Mrs. Locke a pasty shell of her former self, I had no better defense. I’d deliver my “I’m happy as a lark without one, thanks all the same” comeback. This time, revamped with Mrs. Locke as Exhibit A.

Just because Cimmerians lived to forty-five, tops, didn’t mean I should procreate. It did, however, denote my twenty years left to research the Meltdown.


  1. I think the dialogue in this flows very naturally and keeps the pace clipping along.

    I was, however, a bit muddled. Especially in the beginning. It seems there's a lot of telling going on. I didn't understand the vase comment at all (unless she was referring to an urn? Because of the funeral? I just don't know). And I actually thought the scene might work better if it started at the second paragraph and the needed info from the first was threaded throughout.

    I hope that helps and good luck!

  2. My one comment is to consider the already very popular heroine, Tris in the Divergent series. Yes, the spelling's different and the category/genre, but still, it's is something to take into account, readers do make associations and you really want your MC to stand on her own. Best wishes!

  3. I really enjoyed this (and I got and loved the urn bit, but you could definitely make that a tad more clear).

    I do wonder about calling this fantasy, because so far it sounds like distant future, post apocalypse with a heavy dose of timetravel (ah well, I guess this is where science fantasy becomes a genre!).

    I love that we get to see what awaits her if she stays. Also, this reminds me of that time travel book by Michael Crichton: Timeline, about a bunch of history students who travel back in time. You might want to mention how your book is really different from that when you query (or maybe you won't have to query because the auction is good to you!!!)

    I really did enjoy this. Good luck!

  4. I like the logline, especially the London Underground part, but this beginning is kind of dull, with such a common problem as the mother wanting marriage for her daughter. The part about living to 45 though, was an interesting glimpse that there might be something different here.

  5. I love the logline! The entire premise sounds great, and I'm glad to hear you've revamped the first 250 words a bit since submitting this. Good luck!

  6. I too loved the logline--double worldbuilding!—and I was very confused by the vase comment. My only other quibble is that this doesn't feel much like the future yet. How would archaeology have changed, 150 years from now? Would people still be cremated, would we still keep ashes? One of the difficulties of this 250-word cutoff is signalling such things, but I personally could have used a little more. Still, I would totally read on for the premise alone. Good luck on Tuesday!!

  7. I was confused by the logline. I didn't see how the things mentioned related to each other. Perhaps add something that shows their relationships?

    The page had some of the same issues. In parg 2, debris is cascading between her fingers. WHat debris? You haven't placed her for the reader. And then there's the specimen. You don't tell us what it is. When you say cracks spidered the rim, I'm wondering - the rim of what? It's not until the end of the parg that we learn it resembles an urn.

    We have a vibrant glass pile - but a vibrant glass pile of what? WHat is a melted ashen sea?

    It just seems like thoughts are unfinished and the piece could use more clarity.

  8. I love the logline and premise for this novel. Original! And I selfishly hope for a deep dive into the year 1692, since my own books are set in 16th century England.

    The MC is strong so far, she's the kind of person who loves digs, who would take her friend's mind off a funeral by taking her to a dig, and who is very much independent of society's expectations.

    My suggestion is to fill in with some connecting devices here to explain. Is Triss her best friend, and who is the other person named with her? Consider describing the overall place they are in so that the debris and finding of the urn makes more sense. Right now it's feeling abrupt.

    I think it's hilarious to read the oldfashioned mother expectatons of marriage for the daughter, followed by the fact that she is a species with a set lifespan. Very playful.

    Nancy Bilyeau

  9. Really like the premise. And any story involving archaeology grabs my attention.

    Having said that, I did have a little trouble getting into the entry itself. I might just be having an off day, but it took me a few tries to make sure I had all the details of the opening paragraph straight.

    Also, while it felt like the twenty years mentioned at the end should be some sort of timer on the story to up the stakes, given that it's such a long span of time, it doesn't really have the impact I think it could (such as, for example, if she only had a year left; looking back I see that it is potentially her mother who is the one with the timer over her, and that at least promises to increase tension, but at this point, since it's as yet unknown, I'm not feeling it).

    Anyway, I think I'm pulled in sufficintly to keep reading. And I do like the voice of this narrator.

    Best of luck with it!

  10. I think the logline for this could be more specific. There's a lot of vague information that doesn't quite give a sense of what the stakes at risk are.

    From the opening, I found myself thinking that you could slow down a little. There's a lot of information given in a brief amount of time. The funeral, the "need" to get married, the dig itself... as we go from one thought to the next, it was jarring to really keep up. I think the you have a very natural voice for the character, but without more insight to the significance of each element/character introduced, it's difficult to feel like we're really getting the significance behind any of them. I think the shortened life span is a fantastic element--it definitely made me want to keep reading. Good luck!