Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Drop the Needle #16

TITLE: Kitsune
GENRE: Romantic Science Fiction

Cho kicked Natsuke out before he was able to give her the birthday present he had for her. Now that she's on his planet, he's hoping to make amends.

He smiled right back at me, his eyes darkening a bit. "I have something for you." He handed me a black gift bag.

Buried in the red tissue paper was a small black box with a gold lid. Inside was a pair of white porcelain fox statues. They were almost mirrors of each other with their heads turned towards me. The stocky male was on the left with his right foot held over a flaming bowl. While the slender female was on the right. They were beautiful, in a demonic sort of way, with the gold streaks on their foreheads giving their eyes a wicked glint.

I looked up at Natsuke, not sure what to say.

He shrugged. "They reminded me of you, that's all." Then he looked away. "I'll understand if you don't like them."

"No, they're beautiful," I said, trying to reaffirm him. "It's just . . . What are they?"

"They're called Inari-Kitsune. As the myth goes, they were messengers for the god Inari. Though, some were evil tricksters who did more harm than good."

I couldn't help but stare at their mocking faces. One more thing to show he was a Prince and I was a nobody. "Where did you get them?"

"At my last dig. We found quite a collection of them, but these two looked the best." Natsuke focused on his teacup. "If you don't like them, I can always turn them over to Libraria Leonis."

I couldn't help but smile at the thought of having something the Leo Library didn't.

"I knew you'd like them."

"Thank you."


  1. The scene is vivid here and the voice resonates, but I felt like the dialogue was a little sporadic. In particular, it struck me as a little odd that Natsuke spends the majority of the passage appearing nervous that she doesn't like the gift, to the point that he seems sure she won't. But his last line relays that he "knew she'd like them." This is probably a minor point, but it seemed inconsistent to me. Other than that I enjoyed this excerpt!

  2. I wasn't sure until I read Michelle's comment, above, that Natsuke actually was the character who said "I know you'd like them." I think a dialogue tag would help there.

    I'm not terribly bothered by the disconnect between what Natsuke claims to have been sure of and what his behavior suggests. In fact, since there's clearly still unfinished business between these characters, it makes sense for him to adopt some emotional facade. It's a subtle move in the direction of tone- and character-building, and I liked it.

  3. This is sweet, and the tension works well. I like the details about the statues and the hints we get about their situation.

    I do see a couple of nitpicky comma issues -- the first is that the sentence that begins with 'While' in the paragraph about the statues isn't a sentence, but a clause that needs to come after a comma. Also, when Natsuke explains about the Inari-Kitsune being tricksters there shouldn't be a comma after 'Though'.

  4. I like the description of the statues, though there was a grammar issue with these two sentences: "The stocky male was on the left with his right foot held over a flaming bowl. While the slender female was on the right." The second sentence is written as if there was a comma at the end of the previous, rather than a period - it's an incomplete sentence.

    Overall, though, good scene.

  5. I enjoy this type of story and you did a good job here. The information about Natsuke finding the statues at the dig is especially interesting.

    I had the same issues with the commas. Also, see what you can do about eliminating the clichéd "I couldn't help but..." You use it twice. Maybe find a more original way to express what you mean.

    Good luck!

  6. I thought you showed some nice emotion on the part of Natsuke, and it's easy to empathize with him. Cho, however, is practically unemotional and without feeling.

    Perhaps show us her reactions to receiving this gift. When he first gives her the bag, is she excited? Wary? Does she wonder what's in it? Perhaps show her opening the box, and show us how she handles it, if it's weighty or light. And when she opens it and has no idea what the statues are, show that in her reaction.

    In order for the gift to have importance to the reader, it has to come off as important in the excerpt, and by making more of it, by going into more detail, you make it more important. ANd by showing us Cho's thoughts and emotions, you allow the reader to feel what Cho is feeling.