Wednesday, May 16, 2018

May Secret Agent Contest #17

TITLE: Heritage
GENRE: MG Fantasy

Runes class was so boring it felt painful to stay awake.  A sting on Jaden’s arm jolted him from his drowsy state. He winced as he reached over to discover a pharmakon dart dangling from his tunic sleeve. At least its clouded glass vial contained a note and not poison, like it was designed to. What kind of warped, wool-brained maniac would pass a note by pharmakon? He peeked behind him. Terach Bukari.—of course. Terach flashed his crooked smile and flexed his over-muscled arm. His sleeve slipped, revealing the glint of metallic gears and leather strap of the pharmakon’s discharger on his wrist.

 He motioned for Jaden to open the note. Jaden glanced at their Rune’s Scholar to be sure the coast was clear. Sir Aurelius had started a new row of vocabulary on the board, oblivious to anything his students were doing.

 Jaden unrolled the parchment, revealing a crude sketch of his torso lying on the ground with Terach standing above him. His sword dripped with an unnecessary amount of blood that pooled around Jaden’s mangled body.

A nervous chill crept up Jaden’s spine. He and Terach were slated to spar in tomorrow’s battle class. He’d considered just writing out a will and being done with it, but decided to be more proactive instead. For the last week, he and his best friend Antony drilled for countless hours in the hope of giving Jaden hope. The latest battle class rankings looked a lot like Terach’s sketch.


  1. Hi there, I think you've got a nice story idea started here, but I'm afraid it's getting lost in all the details. You start with two characters (Rune and Jaden) and we have no idea of who they are. Then you give us an unfamiliar term: pharmakon and then another name--Terach Bukari. In all, I counted five character names in this opening scene, which is way too much in my opinion. It makes things confusing. Since Jaden appears to be the main character here, I'd focus on him. Once his character is established, then you could bring in some of the others. I do like the reference to the drawing and the last sentence though. This sets up the tension nicely. Good luck!

  2. I agree with cbaz. There are too many names and details in the first page. It's hard to keep everything straight and still connect with Jaden (I think the MC). I read this that Runes is a class, not a character, but it's still confusing. You might be starting in the wrong spot. Have you considered a quick scene right before battle class the next day? Good luck!

  3. In addition to the other comments, I would also encourage you to keep your audience in mind. This read older than MG to me.

  4. I really enjoyed this! I didn’t find it confusing at all. I think you’ve set up a classic middle grade bully story in a unique and interesting world. It does read a bit on the edgy side with the bloody torso drawings and the poison dart note delivery system, but middle grade does run the gamut from light to dark. I like Jaden as a character and I’d love to read more about how he handles his upcoming duel.

  5. I always caution authors about opening with a bored main character. A bored main character makes a bored reader for me.

    This has a high fantasy feel, which I don't represent, and so please take my feedback with a grain of salt.

    The over-muscled arm hints this may be YA. I can't remember the last time I saw an over-muscled arm on a MG'er.

    Though the world-building weaves nicely into the narrative, I did stutter over many of the names.

    I got a great sense of Jaden's conflict with his classmate and his dread at the upcoming sparring match, and I like how this leans dark and bloody!

    Thank you so much for sharing!