Wednesday, May 16, 2018

May Secret Agent Contest #34

GENRE: YA Fantasy

Something wasn’t right with the sea.

Red-eyed coddlefish hung from Evren’s long silver wire, their bellies abnormally bloated. The fish washed ashore at the edge of Ionoke Island’s best fishing nook that morning had been limp, pallid. Evren swallowed, ignoring the eerie tingling on the back of her neck.

She took in the glittering water surrounding the island. The breeze flurried off the sea like invisible threads, tickling her face. White foam lapped at her boots and Evren leaned down to dip her fingers into the sea. Warm? Warmer than usual. Wrinkling her nose, she inhaled the tangy salty air. Everything looked fine from the outside.

The fish, however, told a different story: their home was in trouble.

She shivered fiercely and gripped the wire so tight it pierced the middle of her palm. Blood trickled down her wrist. Wiping the drops on her threadbare tunic, her stomach grumbled. It had been a day or two since her last meal.

Her neck prickled. Whirling on her heel, Evren peered sharply to see if there was an invisible pirate there. The murderous scoundrels—the Naja—were looking for her. They wanted her eyes. Told her they were special. But she wasn’t going to meditate on that too long.


All I need is enough money to fly across the seas and leave this wretched place and the Naja behind.
Evren gritted her teeth and gazed across the bustling main drag of Ionoke. She shot a glance up to the beaming orange sun. It was sun goddess, Amataru's festival.


  1. The imagery in this is so good, and the writing is spot-on. I especially love the first line and was immediately pulled into the story. The only thing that confused me a little was the last line about Amataru's festival. It didn't seem to go with the previous section, but I assume you'll tie the two parts together in the coming paragraphs. Great job!

  2. I agree with the previous comment on your imagery! I feel like the part about the fish came too soon. Perhaps switch the second paragraph with the first? Talk about Evren gazing out over the sea and set the mood a bit ie. everything is peaceful and perfect. THEN add how the fish are lifeless and bloated. Adds a bit of contrast to the serene feeling, a little more of a shock factor to your MC that something is wrong. Otherwise seems like a very interesting story!

  3. I actually like the intro with the fish first and then again after the glittering water paragraph. It sets a more sinister mood that I am loving. I do think the repeat of the neck prickling should be changed. Otherwise, why didn't she turn around so abruptly when she first had the tingling on the back of her neck? Is it still prickling or did it stop and start again?

  4. I love the start to this - showing us what's wrong with the fish immediately gives us a sense of trouble. The mention of the pirates (are those the Naja?) threw me a bit. Perhaps consider sitting with the problems with the fish a little longer. The mention of the Naja, and then Ionoke and Amataru so quickly started to confuse me. I'd like to know a little more about your MC first and why the fish will cause problems for her.

  5. This is an atmospheric opening with a great description of the sea and narrator’s concern for her fishing nook’s ecology. There’s quite a bit happening here and it divided my attention, tension-wise between the warming sea/harm to the fish, the pirate threat, and Evren’s desire to leave the island. I wasn't sure which to focus on. With the festival thrown in there, it felt like a bit too much going on on pg1. I prefer a story line that builds and flows, and teases me along.

    There is great imagery here, and the writing is good! Maybe consider focusing the MC on one thread and weaving the others in a bit more subtly.

    Thank you for sharing!