Wednesday, May 16, 2018

May Secret Agent Contest #47

TITLE: Untitled
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Theora leaned against the dark cherry wood desk, staring at the dozens of animal parts displayed across the walls of the dim office. Furs, antlers, claws, heads. All with small plaques underneath, noting the name of the Warrior who’d made the kill and the date and occasion received.Recessed lighting gave the place a formal look, like some strange, gruesome museum.

But after two years of war it was a welcome sight. Better a museum than a massacre.

The door opened and the Warriors’ Handler, Boada, leaned in the doorway. “Not your favorite dress, I hope,” she said, not quite raising her eyebrows at Theora's teal satin v-neck.

Theora didn’t even glance down. She rarely second guessed her outfit choices, and today wouldn’t be one of those times. “By your wording, should I assume it’s going to get ruined?”

“Possibly. He’s not exactly thrilled by your plan.”

“He doesn’t have a choice.” Nerves crept in her stomach, but she kept them from reaching her expression. She was, afterall, a proper Aranean. And the president of the entire colony, at that. Anything other than stoicism in front of a colleague, even in a private setting, was considered nothing short of shameful. “Besides, there are worse ways he could spend his week than pretending to be my husband. Easiest mission he’s ever been on.”

Boada cleared her throat, leaving the comment unchallenged, and took an envelope from her pocket. “His travel papers.”

Theora skimmed them over, focusing most on the photo.


  1. Great atmosphere! Would it work if you started with the line: Better a museum than a massacre? I loooove that line! Would make a good title if it fits your story: Museum of Massacre. Good luck! Your writing is smooth.

  2. Ditto what Ellen said, you have a very smooth writing style! Definitely start early on with "better a museum than massacre". Also, you mention her dress will get ruined, can you elude a little (maybe a sentence) as to why? Are they preparing for a hunt, a battle, or something? A little foreshadowing here would be a nice touch!

  3. I agree with the others - the first paragraph is a little too descriptive to suck us in right away, but the museum v massacre line is a great intro. The only other thing that stuck out to me was that the MC seemed a little old, if she's already the president of a colony and someone is going to pretend to be her husband, how old is she? 25? 30? I'd recommend adding in a detail giving an estimate of her age or explain how she's such a young president or something. Just my two cents. You did an amazing job getting us inside her mind though, just a few little internal thoughts and I feel like I understand Theora! Well done!

  4. I agree with K.C.'s comment about the MC's age. Even if you technically call her 18 (or another age appropriate for YA), her voice and experience already indicate that she is much older than that. The leads in a YA novel need to sound, act, behave, etc like their appropriate age. This may be better served as an adult fantasy.

    Other than that, the descriptions are good and I love the bit of humor about a museum rather than a massacre.

  5. The first paragraph felt a little disjointed. I needed more context and description to understand exactly what the Theora was looking at, and how it connected to her.

    I felt like she was in a museum.

    Next, Boada gives Theora the up and down, and I gathered Theora was visiting a man who might ravage her (but it's YA, so maybe .... he might want a sparring match?)

    The final part of this scene really had me scratching my head. Though I can feel the trajectory of the story mounting with the introduction of her fake husband’s travel papers, this clearly isn't YA. She's a president with a husband. Still, I'd probably read a bit more. :-)

    Thank you for sharing!