Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Secret Agent #21

Title: Destroying Enemies with Love
Genre: YA Fantasy

The heroes had left a dreadful mess. Blood, scorch marks, and goo stained the black stone walls. Villain King Loady’s head rested on his throne of bones while the rest of him spread in bits all the way to the door. In death like in life, Snot’s master had left her with a huge mess to clean up. And she didn’t mean his bloodstains seeping into the carpet.

Snot poked her head out of a crate. Her finned ears rang from all the explosions. The sight of Loady roused nothing but contempt. On the bright side, she wouldn’t have to explain to a corpse why she’d hidden while the heroes had slaughtered his skeletons, disemboweled him, and run off. On the other claw, she now had until sunset to live.

A blue wyvern as long as her forearm fluttered over to Snot. He resembled a miniature dragon save for having two legs instead of four. Giant, tearful eyes, one horn broken off, and flaky scales further reminded her this was no member of the proud and noble draconic race. “We’re all going to die!” he wailed.

“We’ll find a new master, Annoyance,” Snot said, glaring at the wyvern named for his piercing, high-pitched voice. Villain King Loady, may he rest in pieces, had cursed his experimental creations such that if he died, they died with him. It had enforced her loyalty and been typical of the spiteful old bastard.

Annoyance waved at the window. “The sun is setting right now.”


  1. I think you've got some really great voice in here! A few comments/suggestions:

    I think it might be more powerful to reverse your first and second lines and start with the blood and scorch marks, that definitely made me sit up and pay attention.

    Is the Snot a wyvern? There's the mention of the claw and the crate, but I wasn't 100% sure.

    In this line "heroes had slaughtered his skeletons" I think you might have a typo. Should this be skeleton, singular?

    I would recommend moving this line "Villain King Loady, may he rest in pieces, had cursed his experimental creations such that if he died, they died with him. It had enforced her loyalty and been typical of the spiteful old bastard" to directly after "She now had until sunset to live" because at first I was confused about the sunset comment until I read 2 paragraphs down.

    Hope this helps!

  2. There is definitely some strong imagery here, especially in the first paragraph. I would make another pass for clarity.

    In the first paragraph you say the heroes made a mess, but then you say the villain had left a mess for Snot to clean up. I like both sentences, but they seem to contradict each other.

    Through the whole thing I was wondering what kind of creature Snot was, and not being able to picture that pulled me out of the story.

    I agree with moving the explanation of the curse up to right after she says she now had until sunset to live.

  3. It seems like you've got a great world here, one full of delightful twists and turns and a lot of voice. I love that it's not "the norm," and everything is just slightly different than what you would expect. However, I found it a little difficult to read and follow and had to go back a few times to make sure I understood what was happening. I think because it is so different and new, a little more exposition might help clarify things for the reader as they jump into this new world. Good luck!

  4. While it's hard to understand what Snot is in the first 250 words, you leave a lot to be imagined. Finned ears and claws. IMO, I didn't care for the "on the other claw." While creative, its more of a personal taste. I'm sure further description of Snot exists past the first 250. That being said, the imagery is very strong and could all the sensory overload be something to highlight on Snot's different anatomy? The smell of the blood, the sight of it. Could she feel his skin and insides under her claws as if it had been her own work? Just a thought. Additionally, the wyvern reads very much like a Mushu counterpart with the "We're all gonna die", which I really like.

  5. I’m intrigued by this hook and really love the dark humor! Although I’m not totally convinced this belongs in YA yet – so far, it feels more like upper MG to me.

    Nonhuman protagonists are generally very tricky to pull off, because readers need recognizable traits to latch on to. This opener gives me a very clear sense of Snot’s personality and the stakes, which helps, but I have no idea who or what Snot is (in terms of appearance, age, gender, etc) so the following pages would need to ground me in these fundamentals and establish more details about the world of the story (is it populated entirely by mythological creatures or are there humans too?).

    “On the other claw” made me LOL.

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