Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Drop the Needle #9

TITLE: Kasmir
GENRE: MG Fantasy

Liz is an 11 year old girl who accidently trapped herself, her brother, and her little sister in her imaginary world. Her sister was kidnapped and now she is on a quest to save her.

He unrolled the crisp parchment to reveal a colorful map. I quickly found the castle on one side, drawn in great detail. The flags shimmered, as if moving in a breeze. There was the main road leading to the village where small figures moved between buildings. Beyond that was the forest. A tiny lamp post glowed on the edge of the trees, and wolves roamed near a great tree. The tree I was now in.

I looked up with a gasp.

The old man laughed. “Yes, it is enchanted. But this map doesn’t just show movement, it shows change.”

As he spoke a large piece of the forest moved, pushing into a meadow. A river formed, snaking its way between the trees.

“This world is still new, still forming, and still very dependent on your imagination.”

“But I can’t control it,” I protested. “I’ve tried.”

“Maybe not consciously,” the old man said, chuckling, “but it still responds to your inner thoughts, fears, and desires. Currently the bandit’s hideout is here,” he pointed to a clearing in the heart of the forest where tiny figures were moving around.

“Then that is where we need to go,” I stated, confidence welling in me for the first time since the start of this crazy adventure.

“Yes,” the old man agreed. He rolled up the map and handed it to me. “The map will lead you there. Once you rescue your sister you must return to where you first arrived. That is where the door was torn between worlds."


  1. Neat idea for the map - I like it, and the premise. Portal stories are an oldie but a goodie, but it being an imagined world of the character herself is interesting.

    The only comment I'd make is kind of nitpicky - the line: “Then that is where we need to go,” I stated, confidence welling in me for the first time since the start of this crazy adventure.-- it's that you call it a crazy adventure - you shouldn't need to say something like that, it feels like you're telling the reader what to think of the story, when that assessment should be something the reader decides on their own. It's just a redundant statement of the obvious. (like I said, it's nitpicky, style thing, take it or leave it.)

  2. It's a nice bit of writing.

    The first paragraph is good, but it could be better--especially the last line.

    I do agree with the first commenter too.

    Other than that, very engaging.

  3. I like this one a lot. There were a few places that I stumbled over.

    o Consider grouping the "great detail" phrase with the next sentence. 'Drawn in great detail, the flags shimmered...' etc.

    o The "I stated" really stands out in a stilted way. It is easy to follow who is talking, so consider starting that sentence with "Confidence welled..." That is enough to clarify the speaker.

    The only other thing that bothered me about the scene was that she doesn't mention the wolves circling the base of the tree again or show any emotion towards them being there. Consider having her glance down at them, or have one jump up and snap at her, or have her say or do something to show a little more reaction to her current plight.

  4. I enjoyed this very much and am bummed not to be able to read more! The description of the map was lovely, and I especially enjoyed the lamp post reference, which made me think of Narnia.

    Very few things stopped me, and most of those would likely be resolved by seeing more of the story. For example, she seems unsurprised the places she is seeing on the map -- castle, main road, etc. -- but I assume that that's because she came that way. I also wondered how she recognized that the tree she was in was the one depicted by the map. Maybe create some identifying characteristic for the tree and have it slowly dawn on her that the one on the map is the same one she's in?

    I'd love to see her react to the wolves, maybe by wishing there was more distance between her and them, and then see the map respond to that -- some kind of real connection between her imagination and the world. Instead, we see the map change (really cool, by the way!) but don't see any reason why it would.

    Also, I did (and this is nitpicky) think the old man seemed too amused by it all -- both chuckling and laughing during the brief dialogue -- but that may be an important part of his character. He doesn't seem to be going with her, but then who is the "we"? (Her brother, maybe? I see a reference to him in the lead in, but then wonder where he is during this discussion. Something I'd know if I had more than 250 words, I guess!)

    I found it intriguing that although it's her imagined world, he's the one with all the answers. It makes me wonder about him, and what he represents to her.

    Great concept and writing! Thanks for sharing it.

  5. I like the premise of this and thought the writing was very smooth.

  6. I thought this was a great premise and I loved the map! My only question was that she's supposed to be in the same tree she sees on the map. So is the old man up in the tree with her? And if he is, why? (Which may very well be explained somewhere else.)