Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Secret Agent #13

Title: THE PERFUMER'S APPRENTICE
Genre: YA Fantasy

I should’ve been used to it by now, but as the needle pricked my skin for the millionth time, sharp like a bee sting, it still took me by surprise. Cursing under my breath, I sucked the small spot on my finger where a drop of blood welled to the surface before it could stain the fabric in my lap. Mother and some of the other women in the seamstress shop paused their gossiping and looked over with distaste at my language, which only deepened my scowl.

Sweat trickled down my armpits as irritation clawed at me. The workshop was oppressively stuffy in the late summer heat. The chipping gray paint on the walls and the worn tables and workbenches certainly didn’t help matters. The only color was the sumptuous fabric between my fingers, the dusty pink silk a welcome distraction from my drab surroundings. Until my thoughts had wandered, as usual, and the needle met my finger with an unforgiving jab. A reminder that I hated this work. I had no patience for sewing or the monotony. And a reminder I would not be receiving a letter today. I sighed loudly.

“Is something disturbing you, Saphira?” Mother’s brown eyes narrowed on me as she pursed her lips.

My sister, Brynlee, gave a sympathetic look from the table to my left as she continued to patiently sew thread through the fabric in front of her with luxurious, swift strokes.

7 comments:

  1. Perhaps add a response to Mother's question. I'd want to know a bit more about the setting, is the seamstress shop owner there supervising the women and girls. Are they paid for their work. Where is the mysterious letter coming from? Is the sister younger?

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  2. I loved the descriptions. I feel the letter is introduced rather suddenly and I found it difficult to think why a pinprick would remind her that a letter isn't coming. I'm not sure you need to the two sentences about "a reminder". Personally, I feel these weaken the start. But it's an intriguing beginning!

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  3. Your imagery is very immersive. I can see the room, feel it, get a sense of your protagonist’s desire for something else. I definitely want to keep reading!

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  4. I loved this! I was drawn in from the start. The almost staccato-like writing hooked me from the start, and I'm so impressed with the way you've managed to really convey the tone of your character in such a small amount of words. Brava!

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  5. I’m not sure why, but my immediate thought in the opening line is that she’s getting a tattoo. Woops! (Maybe “as my needle pricked skin”?) The voice does a nice job of conveying Saphira’s personality, but her fierce hatred of her dull sewing circle feels like a pretty familiar scene in YA historical/fantasy, so I’d need the next pages to feel very fresh and unexpected to keep me interested. The mention of the letter is intriguing. Is there a way you can get to this sooner and pare the scene-setting description down to the essentials?

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