Wednesday, November 4, 2009

31 Secret Agent

TITLE: Emergence of the Fey
GENRE: Fantasy

Marian knelt by the narrow stream, watching the puddle jumpers. The blue sparks danced just out of reach as she dipped her hand in. The playful creatures didn't cheer her, nor did the trickling of the stream or the pair of whistler birds singing courtship. The sounds of the forest were eclipsed by weeping. Usually the ethereal crying was contained to one clearing, but it resonated through all the trees.

She stood and wiped her hands on her knee-length tunic. Why was the sorrow so powerful today? She caressed the smooth bark of one of the oaks, fighting off the urge to add her own tears. "Who are you? Why do you cry?"

A branch snapped in the distance. Marian quickly pulled away from the tree and looked to the noise. If someone overheard her, the rumors would start all over again. Rushed footsteps brought her sister into view, cheeks flushed and brown hair loose from its braid. "Marian... Marian." Terra stopped to catch her breath. "Mother... needs help... Glenna... having baby. Need ointment and fresh water."

Marian didn't need to hear more. "You get a bucket from the well. I'll make the ointment and meet you at Glenna's."

Her afternoon walk had taken a wandering path through Oak Tears, but now Marian took a more direct route. She came out of the forest near Carpenter Farrol's home. Three shorn stumps greeted her and she stumbled at the sight. Who could have done such a thing to her trees?


  1. I'm no fan of fantasy but I think you've done a really good job here. Already I want to know what's up with the weeping in the forest and why someone's going around cutting down her trees. That's pretty good for just a few paras. I might move the "Who are you? Why do you cry?" comment onto its own line rather than at the end of that para.

  2. I like it! The atmosphere is intriguing, I want to know what's up with the weeping sounds and who cut down the trees, and the excerpt breaks off at a dramatic place that would definitely make me turn the page.


    Why does their mother need ointment for someone having a baby? What kind of ointment?

    What I concluded on re-reading were three different ways of referring to the same thing in the first paragraph (puddle jumpers, blue sparks, playful creatures) confused me the first time through.

    I wondered at first who says "Who are you?" etc. On the one hand maybe it has to be Marian because she's alone in the forest at the time; on the other hand, if someone/something is crying, why not talking, too? A speech tag would clear this up unobtrusively.

  3. Hooked, but nit-picking.

    Where I live, puddle-jumpers are a common slang for children’s boots. Kinda threw me.
    The bark of oak trees in rough.
    It takes hours, days or even weeks to make ointment. Just have her go to fetch it.
    “Usually the ethereal crying was contained to one clearing, but it resonated through all the trees.” Add “now” after “but” and you have a clearer, smoother scentecne.
    But I definitely want more.

  4. I had a lovely image with this, and I liked it. But who was saying "Who are you? Why do you cry?" ?
    Nice job.

  5. I read and like fantasy, but this was a bit confusing to me. I felt like the focus was split because she is worried about who is crying and then leaves to tend to the birth without any futher thought of the crying. I felt like I was missing her thoughts at that moment of transition.

    I'd like to know what she thinks/guesses could be the source of the crying or the sorrow? Does she feel like there could be a connection to the birth? When she says "Who are you" is she merely leaning against the tree and talking into the air, or is she talking to the tree or the tree's spirit?

    I felt like important information that the pov would know was being withheld.

    I might read a bit more.

  6. This feels a bit simple...almost fairy tale-esque. I am not always convinced that mood works well for adult fantasy.

  7. I really liked your language in the first paragraph. It reminded me a bit of description like in the Scarlet Letter. However, the premise dropped my interest once I hit your lines "Who are you? Why do you cry?" The placement and the lack of description about these lines confused me as a reader.
    I like your writing style, but the premise just wasn't for me.

  8. Most Definitely Hooked.
    Excellent voice in this. It made me care and feel for the character.

    The scene descriptions were right on the mark, not too wordy.

    I liked this very much and would turn the page.

    Good Job!

  9. I agree that the line starting with 'Usually the ethereal crying...' needs more context ie but today/now/ recently.

    Having her dashing off to mix up a batch of ointment jarred for me as well. I would have thought ointments take time to make

    One small nitpick of my own though. I don't think that Terra's hair colour needs to be described at this point. It's enough that she's flushed and her hair is coming loose, since they show that she's rushing. The brown doesn't really add anything here.

    I was a little confused at the end.

    She starts off communing with nature, is summoned urgently to help with a birthing, then suddenly she's upset about trees being felled.

    What's really going on?

  10. I'm wondering if we need a little more elaboration here. How does she come to be kneeling by the stream? Is empathy with trees her calling?

    I confess that I am not a fan of fantasy, but I liked the details of the blue sparks and birds and even the impending birth.

    I'd give this a few more pages to see where it's going.