Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May Secret Agent #43

TITLE: The Mountain and the Fountain
GENRE: MG Fantasy

The sky changed, then everything changed.

Crimson above her…. Josephine felt cold. So…..cold. Goose bumps covered her arms…her legs…shivered. She closed her eyes, then opened them again. She cried out…but no sound came. Josephine in an icy veil…high above the village of Halliwell. People were running …fighting…screaming in a blur of chaos. Flames roared and leapt from buildings…sword crashed against sword… arrows flew…panic. The water from the Fountain…..stopped. Smoke rose like a wicked hand…reaching for Josephine…rising closer…closer…burning her eyes….filling her nostrils with the pungent smell of death….Must…get….away.

Josephine crushed her eyelids together and shook her head as hard as she could. She opened her eyes - and the moment had passed. Sitting in the window seat beside Tuckster, her dog, she loosened fingers which were clutched tightly into the ribbons on her Float Day costume. A breeze through the open window replaced the bitter smell of smoke with scented layers of mown grass and garden flowers.

“What was that?” a shaken Josephine asked the dog as he did that sideways head turn thing that dogs do. She looked out to see bright blue summer in the sky, broken only by the Light which rose from the Mountain, as it always had. Josephine tried to calm her mind and still her pounding heart.

“See you later, kid,” Tobbs, Josephine’s older brother, called from the path as he started to the village. Josephine raised a shaky hand to wave at him. Standing was tricky, as her legs still shook.


  1. That whole first segment of phrases and elipses - I think that would turn off a lot of readers.

    The idea of "float day" makes me want to read on to see what it is.

  2. The description in full sentences without all the ... would be more powerful and easier to read. Also, to me the voice sounds older than MG.

  3. I'm not sure you need the first segment at all. I think you can just start with Josephine crushing her eyelids together until the moment passes and work the details of the moment into the later sentences.

  4. I'm not big on starting anything with a dream, daydream, vision quest thing. It was jarring and you had a lovely description of the breeze blowing through the window. We don't need drama to begin. We need the MC.

  5. You might try this without the vision and then slowly work in details. Instead of the vision, you could add something about Josephine's emotional state. Is this the first time she's experiencing this kind of vision?

    1. Dear Secret Agent, I appreciate the suggestions. This is Josephine's first vision. The women in her family usually have them as very young children. When she did not, she made up stories to compensate for her lack of the family gift. At thirteen, her first vision is not taken seriously by those with whom she shared false visions in the past. This makes it difficult for her until, much later in the story, she is proven correct in what she tells. At that point, her visions become a guidepost for the village.
      Again, I want to thank you for taking the time to offer advice on The Mountain and the Fountain. I'll work on it.

  6. To each of you - Thank you for taking the time to add your ideas to this story. I am reading and absorbing each thought and suggestion.

  7. I think this might work well towards the end of the chapter. Let us get to know her before she has the vision. Not sure I'd ask my dog about something going on in my head. Best wishes!

  8. The vision turned me off because I didn't know the setting or main character yet. I wasn't even sure if it was a vision or fragmented emotions during a crisis.