Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April Secret Agent #23

TITLE: A Beastly Beauty
GENRE: YA Fantasy

My night of freedom had arrived, and I wasn’t wasting a moment. The gate clicked behind me. At last I was on the right side of our estate walls again—the side where the rest of the world awaited. I nudged my horse’s flanks, and he snorted.

“All right, Domino,” I whispered. “Let it out.” My heart leaped as he broke into a gallop. We were going to town.

If I could kiss the full moon with gratitude, I would. Once each month, the curse was contained. Between moonrise this morning and moonset tonight, I looked like a human instead of a nightmare.
The wind whistled through my hair as I urged Domino on. He was likely as sick as I was of trotting in sedate circles around the courtyard like a tethered pony.

He leapt over a log, bouncing me in the saddle. My stomach flipped at the feeling, but this wasn’t a night for nerves. It was a night for dancing and billiards and… Maybe this night would be the night. The night I had grown up dreaming of.

The night I’d find a way to break the curse.

Once Domino and I made it off the crest of the hill, I glanced back at our estate. Inside the stone wall, the castle's upper windows were dark. In a few minutes my father, the frosty Marquis of Molinas, would settle into his bed for the night. But his secret cursed daughter, the invisible Isabella? I was already gone.

13 comments:

  1. Ah, I would love to read this book, I know that already! A great hook, and a good sense of your main character in the first page. My only suggestion: the second line could give us a much stronger lead-up to the third. If you put, "I let the gate slam behind me," or something that conveys how badly she wants to get away and resents being confined, it would make a stronger statement about Isabella.

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    1. Thank you, Audrey! I like the idea of making those sentences a little choppier. And thanks for taking the time to comment!

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  2. I suggest putting a period after "My night of freedom had arrived." I think it would be a stronger first sentence.

    This is an interesting story you've done a good job of setting up in just the first page. It would have me curious to read on.

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    1. Thanks for your feedback, Katherine!

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  3. The title hooked me right away, because I'm really hoping this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Even if it's not, the title got my attention, so it's doing its job. The one thing that made my brain falter was the "let it out" dialogue. I think something like "let loose" might flow better. Beautiful opening! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. *self-five* That's exactly where it's going! Except that Cinderella shows up (... as the villain). Thank you so much for the feedback!

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  4. This is a great opening. I want to read more to find out why she was cursed and by whom. The only change, and it's a minor one, would be to start the last paragraph off by changing the wording to: 'Once Domino and I crested the hill..." I think it says the same as what you have, only in fewer words.

    Otherwise, great opening!

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    1. Thank you for the feedback, Susan! I've been looking for a less awkward way to describe that. :)

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  5. I don't read this genre because I find so much that's regurgitated and same old-same old. You got me, anyway. Not much of this feels like it's been done before. I do understand that an author needs some elements that are familiar to a reader, and you have a few. You almost wrote an outstanding short story here, in that your MC might already have found what she wanted... except there's some kind of problem she's left behind that we all know is going to cause her problems we don't yet know of. She just may find a solution to what I see is a common metaphor in Life that we all can relate to: we're escaping some kind of personal prison, but not entirely... for now.

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  6. I don't read this genre because I find so much that's regurgitated and same old-same old. You got me, anyway. Not much of this feels like it's been done before. I do understand that an author needs some elements that are familiar to a reader, and you have a few. You almost wrote an outstanding short story here, in that your MC might already have found what she wanted... except there's some kind of problem she's left behind that we all know is going to cause her problems we don't yet know of. She just may find a solution to what I see is a common metaphor in Life that we all can relate to: we're escaping some kind of personal prison, but not entirely... for now.

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  7. Love the title. OK, sucker for this type of stuff and pulled in effortlessly. I love you put her on a horse who needs to run wild as much as her. When you have her stop on the hill and look back, I am in that moment. And that last line? Wow! Like I said, this is what I love to read. You have me heart and soul.

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  8. Another fan of the genre, here, so maybe an easy target, but I really like the pieces here so far.

    I might suggest starting with the kissing the full moon paragraph (a great image, BTW) and then incorporate not wasting the night of freedom.

    A little picky thing, but I was caught by 'At last' and 'again' being in the same line here: 'At last I was on the right side of our estate walls again ...'

    Otherwise, nice job!

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  9. I liked the title! And wow, was this good. I got Beauty and the Beast vibes, which is one of my favorite movies ever.

    On the second paragraph, when she’s talking to Domino, I’d change out the “Let it out”. I didn’t understand what that meant until the next sentence. Maybe you could do “Let’s fly” to show that he’s about to move.

    The third paragraph was wonderful. The phrases “kiss the full moon with gratitude”, “I looked like a human instead of a nightmare” provided excellent depictions of her happiness at her temporary freedom and her views of herself.
    On the last paragraph and last sentence, I would remove the “I” since we already know it’s talking about her because she calls him her father in the sentence before that. I’d suggest changing it to something like “But his secret cursed daughter, the invisible Isabella was already gone”.

    Thanks for entering!

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