Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March Secret Agent #30

TITLE: Ironheart
GENRE: YA - Fantasy

           I crouched at the nobleman’s bedside, soaking up his blood with my riding hood. I didn’t look at his face. I couldn’t. It made me think too much about what I’d done. But with my hood drying out, I needed his blood if I wanted to survive the next few weeks. Suffice to say, I didn’t want to die.

           I finished, then wiped my iron daggers on the already dry hood, replaced them at my hip, and tied the hood back around my neck. It settled around my shoulders like a warm embrace, not that I really remembered what that felt like. Blood dripped from the bed, mixing with the orange dust beneath my iron-soled boots. Even in a nobleman’s bedroom, the dust followed.

            My hood hummed, sending energy coursing through my tired muscles as the ever-present knot in my chest tightened. I hated this too – fighting against enjoying the feeling, but loving it anyways. The curse of being a Redcap, the King had told me when he offered me a position as a member of The Pack. At least this way I could use it for something good, for protecting my kingdom, even if it did hate me.

            I have to do this. I have no choice. I’d told myself the same thing so many times I’d lost count.

            You should just let yourself die, countered another voice. The one I tried and failed to keep sealed in the pits of my mind. Let the hood dry out. Let yourself die.


  1. This is an interesting opening, although I'm confused as to the part of the hood soaking up the blood. It seems like it provides life to the person wearing it, but it's a bit vague as to what is going on. I think if it were a bit more clear, the stakes would also be more clear. Hope that helps. Good luck!

  2. I think you've done an excellent job getting us into the mind of the MC. Parts of this confused me, like - 'At least this way I could use it for something good, for protecting my kingdom, even if it did hate me.' I feel like I should know what 'it' means. Keeping the first 250 vague or confusing could lose the reader.

  3. Oh, wow. I honestly want more. The hood is incredibly interesting and innovative, I must say. I think there needs to be a bit more clarity in your opening, though. Although you leave me wanting more, I am left confused at what is occurring. I have questions, but I suppose those questions are what will keep me flipping. :-) What's with the hood? Why did she kill the nobleman? Why does her kingdom despise her? Is this voice just an indifferent part of her or something psychologically sinister and dark?

    Like I said, I want more.

  4. Really like the premise here but I'm a little confused. First not sure if the MC is male or female. Second you're coming in after the action and there's no action on the page. I'm fairly certain that he/she needs to keep the hood or cloak (not sure what it looks like) wet with blood or he/she will die, but I'm not sure why he killed the nobleman. Was he a random guy or is this part of the MC's job. I think starting the scene sooner would help answer a lot of questions and give you room to add in more details to help flesh out the setting.

    The second paragraph starts with "I finished..." Finished what? Then is says he wiped the daggers on his already dry hood, but I thought he'd die if the hood dried out.

    "...if I wanted to survive the next few weeks..." Not sure if that's specific to killing the nobleman or not. Is that how often he kills people?

    "...even if it did hate me." What is "it"? and "I have to do this..." What is this?

    While I am confused, the premise hooked me and I'd read on a little farther to see what's going on.

    Good luck.

  5. This is interesting and I'd read on, but I'd like to be more grounded in what is happening from the outset, and have some of the description of the MC's movements with the hood pushed further down. Little things. For example, putting "He was innocent" (or not??) right before the sentence "With my hood drying out" would already give us more of an idea what kind of act the MC has committed, and help us sympathize with him -- or not. The second para says the hood is already dry, which confused me because the MC had just been soaking the blood up, right? A little more detail about how a bloody hood can save a life would be nice, since it's a very unusual (and intriguing) concept.

  6. I like this. I agree, though, about wanting to be more grounded. I'm intrigued by the idea of this red hood thing. I'm also wondering why the MC targeted this nobleman in particular. I'd definitely read on if I had more. I do feel like you may be trying to cram too much in, though. Do we really need to know about the curse of the redcap in the first 250 words? Or that the king offered him a position? Without context, this info is confusing and doesn't draw me in as well as the rest of the entry. This seems like a unique twist, and I wish you well with it!

  7. This is a *very* compelling premise. You definitely have me intrigued, though I agree that you need to add some clarity here. Particularly where the hood is concerned. I don't feel the need to know any specifics about the hood, the blood, or the redcaps yet--you're teasing information, and that's working for me--but I need you to at least be consistent. You state several times that if the hood dries, your character dies, but the hood is then described as "already dry" (and after mopping up blood!). If that's what you intended to write, you need to add a little explanation of the lore so it makes sense. Otherwise just fix the discrepancy.

    That aside, I'm completely drawn in. I would absolutely read more if I came across this in my inbox.

    Thanks for your entry!