Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Are You Hooked? #10

TITLE: Deyou's Heart
GENRE: Adult Fantasy

Before I pass, I wish to give you something of your mother’s. Jeran

Sia An’Terran crumpled the parchment with its crabbed writing in her hand as the ocean breeze tickled hair as it teased across her forehead. The enormous black-stone causeway glittered in the early morning light, its massive surface nearly packed full with people making their way across it to Deyou’s Isle, currently visible to one and all. She’d been atop the cliff at dawn when the Voice brought the shield down, exposing the Isle to the world and marking the beginning of Dragon Day.
This would be the last day she saw the causeway. Either she’d be dead by mid-day for setting foot on the Isle or she’d be on her way back to Capita. She tucked the crumpled note into the pouch hidden in her belt, next to the quite-illegal tools she kept there.

Her jaw firmed as she gritted her teeth and took the last steps down the well-trodden path which led from Verisit atop the cliff to the beach leading to the causeway. Merchants hawked their wares from stalls that lined the walkway, some having wisely decided to remain on the mainland rather than cross to the Isle.

Heavy sand crunched beneath her feet and she wound her way through the crowds. Not in a rush exactly, but she wasn’t going to waste her entire day on this idiocy and if she didn’t make it by the final calling bell, her chance would be gone.


  1. YES, I would definitely read on. We get a mystery from the first sentence, and we want to know why she's going to the Isle. You've crafted an intriguing opener, and with tweaking, this will really shine. Here are my suggested changes: In the second sentence, first let us know the name and where the Isle is:'In the near distance, Deyou's Isle' etc. 2) To keep focus on your MC, delete 'its massive surface' to 'She'd been atop'. 3) For better tension, move 'This would be the last' para below the second one. 4) Really nice scene-setting in merchant para. 5) Spell out exactly what 'on this idiocy' refers to. 6) Readers are lazy, so a word or two what 'her chance' is. If it's explained in the next paragraph, please excuse this.
    7) I'd like at least a hint of what your MC really wants
    All-in-all, this beginning works and is a Fantasy I'd read.

  2. Good opening, the letter/note gives a nice mystery for the reader to think about immediately (I'd put a dash/em-dash in front of "Jeran" though, to show it's a signature. I got stuck on that for a moment).

    The line that starts "The enormous black-stone causeway", while good, took me out of the MC's POV for a moment. You might consider rewriting it more from her perspective.

    My only suggestions would be to remove a few words here and there to tighten up your prose. For example, if you take out "for setting foot on the Isle" it gives a bit more weight and mystery to the line (in my opinion, which has been known to be wrong). And that leads in a bit to the 2nd suggestion, which would be to watch out for very long sentences. Tighten them up or split them into two, but the long ones tend to slow down the reader and deaden the tension. The very last sentence is one example where I'd like short sentences to ramp up the tension, but this one is quite long and it felt like it was slowing things down. Simply splitting it in two might help tremendously.

    Good stuff though, I'd want to keep reading to see what of her mother's the MC is on her way to steal.

  3. Hi, I felt the first sentence about something of your mother's really drew me in from the start, and the action and setting is generally intriguing. However, the length of some of the sentences and the need for tightening up the prose put me off a bit, made me have to read some parts twice. So for that reason, I would like to see the first two sentences of the first paragraph, for example, broken into shorter segments. In that first long sentence, you have "as" twice - so it should be easy to break the action somehow. Also, since there is breeze, then tickled and also teased -- it's a bit much plus it rhymes, so maybe find a shorter way to say this with just tickled her forehead or something. Also you have crumpled twice, so I think the second time, it isn't needed, for example. Also, massive and enormous - just one is enough. Packed full - either packed or full, that's enough. And mid-day should be spelled midday (US English).

    overall, you've done a good job painting the scene for us, and used strong verbs. It sounds like you have an interesting story to tell, and tightening up the word choices so as not to be redundant will make your story sparkle. Best of luck!

  4. The hook is good. I’m curious and want to know more. There are small changes that would improve the reading experience. Here are a few examples. “The ocean breeze tickled hair as it teased across her forehead.” It’s good alliteration but it actually feels like too much detail. Sentence beginning with “The enormous black causeway” could be 2, even 3 sentences. Have you had beta readers? I think they could make simple suggestions like that. There are good pictures being created, however, it isn’t yet easy reading. In my opinion, you've succeeded at the hard part. You have the reader's attention. You just need to make it easier for us.

  5. I liked this. There's mystery right away, and the mc is already on her way to do something about it.

    I did think it was overwritten and could be tightened up. Consider condensing. For instance, do we really need all that stuff about tbe sea breeze and hair? The breeze doesn't affect anything, and do we realy care if it tickled her hair? It doesn't affect her hair, or tell us how long or short it was, or what color it was. It doesn't add anything at all. You could cut it all.

    Go through the page, asking yourself what each sentence or phrase adds. If it imparts info keep it. If it's just descriptive writing, cut it. Even description should add something to the story. As is, it's a cumbersome read. Rewrite for a smoother one.

  6. Not hooked. I found the opening line a bit unwieldy and then I found too many cliches and repetitions in there. I do admire the fact that we are sticking to the action and not going into backstory.

  7. I'd start with "Either she'd be dead..." A little purple prose, but the sense of mystery is there. I think you have good bones for a fun story.

  8. This type of opening has been done many times...Going back to Sherlock Holmes..I like it but...