Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September Secret Agent #49

Title: Lyria
Genre: YA Fantasy

There he was again, Catia thought, halting her walk home. Her heart leaped with suppressed joy when she spotted the boy who was always on her mind. She glanced at him from across the bustling town square, hope blooming in her eyes and excitement rushing through her veins. Carriages and townspeople carried on, unaware the world revolved around him as she tried not to stare, and failed miserably. Trebian Ashware, with his sandy brown hair and blue eyes so piercing she knew they would see right to the core of her. That is, if he'd allow himself to come close enough.

Everyday Catia went about her duties, attending her mother at the healing compound and training with her father, but always the irresistible pull to see Trebian was there. She sensed when he was near, as if her heart knew where he was at all times, even when he wasn’t in her line of sight, as he was now. Trebian carried on with a friend and didn’t notice her presence.

Still standing among the throng, Catia pondered that connection. Surely, it couldn’t be one-way. There were rare occasions they locked eyes, as if he was aware of her, too. She clung to the hope he would look up, just a flicker of his eyes to assure her it was real. She almost laughed at herself. She had been playing this game with Trebian for years, but this was as far as it ever went, or ever would go.


  1. Hello!

    I think it's great that you start with something close to the heart of your character. Emotions are my #1 choice of hook. Personally, I wish I'd get to see a bit more of Catia than just her crush, but I'm a total humbug and that doesn't really reflect on your writing.

    I strongly like the suggestion that maybe Catia is obsessing over this boy, thinking they have a special connection, and he is completely unaware of her. Slightly creepy MCs are my fav -- it's good that she's doing this in a passionate way, rather than a stalker-ish way, but I still like it.

    I do feel like the first paragraph is maybe a little heavy -- it feels like you spend every sentence repeating the same thing, that she is REALLY into this guy, which got a little tedious for me. I'd like Catia to be DOING more, or perhaps having more interesting things happening around her that she is ignoring in her obsession, rather than this frozen moment. DISCLAIMER: Again, I am a total humbug.

    Anyway, great job creating a connection with the character. Good luck!

  2. I like the introspection, but I feel this can sound too telly as an opening. My suggestion would be to start with a scene in the healing compound with her mother and show the pull to go look for Trebian in the streets. I think a more active opening scene would help give a sense of Catia's normal life and character in a more grabbing way.

    Good luck!

  3. I think the look into this romance/ possible relationship is nice, but it does seem like the focus is placed in the wrong direction -- away from your main character and to this boy.

    Maybe this is something that needs to be moved down a little, so the reader can get to know Catia more before hearing so much about trebian.

  4. Too much seeing. Add in some other senses and sensations to break it up. She spots him in the first line. The third line she spots him again.

    You could delete the last half of that sentence, since we already know that she saw him. Cut to 'Her heart leaped with suppressed joy.'

    She doesn't need to glance at him again in the fourth line. Cut to 'Hope bloomed in her eyes (maybe even another part of her body) and excitement rushed through her veins.'

    The remaining paragraphs are actually really good at imparting Catia's obsession with the boy. I think it you tighten up the first paragraph, and eliminate all the 'seeing' repetitions, it will flow better. You could do the same with all the 'thinking/pondering' too. Just remove them and test the sentences without the qualifying 'thought'. example: Catia pondered that connection. Surely, it couldn't be one way (becomes) -> Their connection couldn't be one sided. He must feel it too.

    It wasn't enough to make me read more. But with some tightening up, I think you would be able to get a line or two in about whether Catia really believes in the connection or has a doubt. There's a hint that her obsession might be a source of conflict. Another line or two might be enough to grab me more :)

  5. I agree with everything the others have said. Your writing is strong, so you most definitely have that in your favor. Good job!

    I didn't get a sense of this being a fantasy, but a romance. If that's the focus of this story, then great. But even if it is, I don't see much conflict here other than unrequited love, which is quite common for teenage love stories. A higher stakes problem needs to come out quickly, and I'm not sure you have enough at stake for us to care about what happens to this character.

    Also, hearts leaping, hope blooming and excitement rushing are superfluous. I think you can go deeper to enhance what she's experiencing at seeing her heart's desire. As others have said, you have some redundancies in Catia's feelings for this boy. Trim and sharpen and narrow your focus on what will hook your reader.

    Good luck!

  6. Very romantic and intriguing. However, for an opening there is a lot of passive action. Maybe consider changing your wording a little to make sure that everything is in the active tense.

    Or like Patchi wrote: consider changing the opening to an action scene in her mothers healing centre. If that isn't possible, just spend less time reflecting on the past and focus on the present.

  7. This was another one I had a hard time connecting to as well. The opening is very tell-y, for me and we’re focused so much on Trebian that we miss what makes Catia stand out on her own not because of a guy. It feels like we’re being told to root for Catia and Trebian though we haven’t even seen them together or have any real emotional connection to them just yet. For me, it’s just too focused on Catia and her obsession over a guy and I don’t know much about Catia herself.

    Introspection is fine, but without something pushing it forward, we have an opening that feels very still. If, at least, she were moving or some sort of action was happening (are people jostling her?) it would help give the scene some forward motion rather than feeling static like it is now.

  8. I think, perhaps, 250 words of this girl’s infatuation is too much. We get it after one parg. and because it’s all you talk about, we don’t learn anything else. What’s the problem, the issue that drives the story? Cut down on the infatuation and show us a bit of your world, introduce the problem, create some mood. Make this more multifaceted.