Wednesday, April 15, 2009

44 Secret Agent

TITLE: Lament the Blade
GENRE: YA Fantasy

The falcon wouldn’t cooperate.

Anis tramped through the underbrush until she reached a clearing near the center of the great forest.

There he is.

She shivered, her mud-stained cloak offering little protection from the early morning chill. Dried brush snapped behind her.

Must be Bern.

"Shhh!" Without looking back, she pointed to the treetop. "You’ll scare him off."


The voice wasn’t Bern’s familiar old-man’s warble. It was deep and soft.

A guard come to take me back. Now I’m in for it.

She was supposed to stay inside the castle walls for the war wasn’t going well.

But the bird….

"He’s a falcon." She threw the last chunks of bread on the forest floor. Finally, she glanced at the man and froze. A Liene with long dark hair and great black wings wielded a sword. A mist that sparkled like gemstones twirling in sunlight surrounded him.

"Please,” she said and fell against the tree trunk, covering her face with both hands. “Don't kill me."

When he didn’t, she peered through her fingers.. He sheathed the sword and knelt before her, fingering the lion’s head clasp on her cloak.

“You’re Anis. King Gerrin’s daughter."

“You’re a mage.” She frowned. “And a Liene. A half-born.”

"Yes," he said, his narrow face pale. "How do you know?"

"Your lights are very bright, but not as bright as Verrick's."

The Liene stood abruptly. "My lights?"

"Verrick says only I can see those with the power,” she said, averting her eyes. “Not even the mages can."


  1. I don't read much fantasy, but this seemed good to me! I'd keep reading. :)Good balance between description and action. You also seem to be able to seamlessly weave in details of this world and its peculiarities.

    Good luck!

  2. This started off well. I would read on.

  3. This genre isn't what I'd pick up to read, but I have to say, this is well written and I read it easily. You've introduced the heroine and explained her well and the winged guy must be important. Nice job. One thing, though. Could she possibly 'think' something about his lights, whatever they are, before she speaks about them? It comes on so suddenly as it is.

  4. I like this. I like the first line. You say a lot in the first half, and at the same time, aren't actually 'saying' it. (Did that make sense?) You've got a handle on the craft of saying a lot and building a setting, etc with a little.

    However, I'm not sure about the last line.

    I would read on though to see what else happens.

    Good stuff.


  5. Love your opening line, being a bird of prey lover ;o) I thought you did a lovely job showing instead of telling. I would have liked a little more clarity about the lights, but this is only the first 250 words. Would love to read on! Good job ;o)

  6. I was also intrigued by the opening sentence, but I love almost anything to do with swords, falcons, mages.

    I'm sorry to be crass but the name Anis- well, I have a 10 year old son and I know he'd snicker over that.

  7. Intriguing! I'd definitely read on.

  8. I was a little confused with all the names/titles on the first page, but it was well written and I would read on!

  9. Interesting start - I'd continue reading to learn more. Good job.

  10. I liked this opening, but a couple of things kept me falling in love with it. The voice takes a turn with "for the war wasn't going well." Maybe it's just me, but it comes across as trying to sound like an old fairy tale. Why not just - She was supposed to stay inside, the war wasn't going well.

    I was also surprised she gave up her secret power so easily, but then she's young and maybe doesn't know better.

    Good tension and story questions, though, and I'd read on.

  11. Slight problem with her name, because of what I thought it was when I first read through. :#

    Another thing to keep an eye on is the actions. Like "She fell against the tree trunk".

    There is also a little bit of infodumping with the dialogue. It isn't very bad, but something to keep an eye on.

  12. Not totally hooked but I'd read on. I prefer YA urban fantasy. This kinda reminds me of Tamora Pierce.

    I had to read it several times to figure out what was going on at first, but I like the voice and the description. You don't go overboard. You give us just enough detail to keep us interested.

    Good luck!

  13. Though I really liked the opening line, the rest of this kinda confused me. There's no solid transitions in here, so I didn't know if Bern was the falcon or an attacker, or what. Same goes for when guard shows up--or does he, it's not really clear?

    So sorry, but I probably wouldn't read on.

  14. Yeah, the name had me wondering as well...

    In addition, I'm not really a big fan of internal thoughts. I think it makes the narration jerky because it's going back and forth from third/past to first/present. It's a little jarring. And you've got four lines of it right up front. I'd maybe consider weaving some of that into the narration. Just a thought. I'd read more.

  15. I'm not a big fan of third person with set off thoughts, so I stumbled through this a little, but it was a nice start. Interesting use of the falcon.

  16. So just pick a new spelling for her name. Annis? I didn't catch the homophone until I read the comments. This isn't my genre, but I really enjoyed this bit. There were a lot of new names and terms, but that could be because I don't know the genre. Another critter mentioned 'mages' so I guess that's a common term that I just don't know.

    The only thing that bothered me: She fell back against the tree, put her hands up, and said 'don't kill me.' If she really thinks her life is in danger, I want to know how she's feeling. It seems like a wimpy gesture for such a serious occassion. Why wouldn't she announce who she was? Or maybe he's not affiliated with the castle, but is of a breed that wanders the woods killing castle-dwellers? Still want to know how she feels or have a more dramatic gesture.

    I think you have a nice beginning here.

  17. The second half of this page hooked me; the first half did not. I found the (really) short paragraphs distracting. Conversely, I thought the dialogue was great. It communicated a lot of information without sounding like an info dump.

  18. I like your writing style, didn't mind the short,choppy conversation.

    I would read on, but I wish you hadn't been forced to stop at this particular point. It was confusing at the end with the references to the lights, and her power, so I either need more info beforehand, or more explanation right away.

  19. Good opening line, but you lost me shortly thereafter with "her mud-stained cloak offering little protection from the early morning chill." This screams cliche to me, and high fantasy, which doesn't usually work for me.

    Also, right now, things sparkling in the sunlight just make me laugh.

  20. Ack! I never even thought about Twilight and the sparkle bit as this was written before it came out. There is an easy enough fix though, so thanks for pointing this out. I imagine there are many agents who would respond the same way. This is high fantasy tho, so I guess I finding the right agent will be crucial.

    Thanks to Authoress and all who commented. Really great feedback.

    The Author.

  21. I would read a little more because I like fantasy and I'm curious, but I think the dialogue is a little stilted. And I'm confused over why she'd assume a sound behind her was Bern, when she's already said the war wasn't going well. Shouldn't she be on alert, so to speak? I'd give this a couple of pages.

  22. I liked the second half of this better than the first, although I had no idea what a Liene might be.

    I agree that the choice of the word falling against the tree jarred and her reaction seemed at odds with the actions of a girl braving the forest alone.

    I did like the idea of her perceiving the Liene's 'difference' and think that will be a nice hook to the story.

    I would read on

  23. Hmm. Not sure I'm hooked.

    First off, one doesn't tramp through underbrush when one is stalking a bird. The noise would scare it off.

    This sentence didn't make sense to me: A Liene with long dark hair and great black wings wielded a sword.

    Sounds like the wings are holding the sword.

    If he's kneeling in front of her, how could he finger her clasp? I'm confused.

    But keep working at it.

  24. The set up is concerning the lights, and disregarding the obvious cliche mentioned above---Why aren't you distinguishing this by showing me what the lights look like?

    The lights appear to distinguish this character as different. Show them to me? Then the "sparkly" comparisons wouldn't even be an issue.

  25. I don't know if it's because I really don't care for high fantasy, but this absolutely does not work for me. First, the opening line made me think of a falconer, because why would anyone expect a wild falcon to cooperate with anything? Second, the MC recognized that the voice was unfamiliar, but still proceeded to talk to the guy before turning around. Third, if she is so afraid of this man, why oh why would she tell him about her ability? It's very inconsistent. Sorry, not hooked.