Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May Secret Agent #9

TITLE: The Keeping-Box
GENRE: YA Fantasy

The first thing Bianca noticed about the visitor was the blood caked on his face. The second thing she noticed was that he wasn't human.

She stared, transfixed, while the forgotten rag in her hand dripped soapy water onto the floor. He was no taller than a child, yet clearly an adult. His ears rose into decided points, crowned by little tufts of hair - the only hair on his head. His mouth and nose bore a closer resemblance to a wildcat's than a human's. And if she had any remaining doubts, they were banished by the sight of the dried blood on his wrinkled brown skin. It was as green as tarnished copper.

"Much apologies," he said as he shut the door of the shop behind him. His breathless, heavily accented voice came from somewhere deep in his chest. "Did not want intrude. No other choice."

Bianca gathered her wits just enough to answer, "It's all right." She had at least a dozen questions she wanted to ask, the first of which was 'What are you?' But her cousin's training was taking hold, telling her she must heal first and save questions for later. She tossed aside the rag and dried her hands on her apron. "Sit down," she said, indicating the chair near the counter. "I'll get some bandages and salves."

He furrowed his blood-stained brow and winced. "Salves? What is salves?"

"For cleaning. Healing," she added, when he continued to look perplexed. "For your wounds."


  1. I like the opening paragraph, but then started to get lost in the description. I think it could be shortened to 1-2 sentences. After that, I just noticed wordy parts and it distracted me from what was happening.

    So: not hooked, but I like the direction.

  2. I think this will be a good story, but at this moment I'm confused.

    I don't know what kind of world they are in, what's normal and not normal in this world, WHO is the MC (who is she as a person).

    I know you only have the first 250 words, but these are the things I want to know within the next few pages.

  3. I'm interested to find out more about this world. I like that Bianca's a healer and obviously not a bigot, but it's not clear whether she's ever healed other non-humans before. I interested but not hooked. Best of luck!

  4. I am curious to see where the story goes. I'd be hooked if his reply was that the blood wasn't his. Either way, nice start.

  5. I'm hooked. I understand what the others are saying about being a little confused, but with fantasy you need some time to explain your world so you're not info dumping. I think you've got a good story here.

  6. An interesting start. You might want to look at some of your word choices. Why 'decided' points rather than just points? The hair on his ears is not the only hair on his head because his ears are not his head. If she had any remaining doubts - about what? She has already decided he wasn't human in the second sentence, and she never expressed any doubts about anything.

    These are all little things and easily fixed, but taken together, they make me not want to read on because, while you have an interesting set up, I'm thinking I'm going to keep coming across stuff like this as the story progresses. And instead of enjoying the story, I'm trying to figure out what you really mean.

    Perhaps a revision with an eye looking at the details?

  7. I agree. Great concept, just needs some polishing. Maybe a really honest critique group to provide feedback?

    Keep at have a great idea.

  8. I would read on, to see where this is going, but I'm not really hooked yet.

  9. Hooked, but with reservations.

    It needs some tightening, some editing in sentence structure. Examples:

    Cut “…was that…” in the second sentence.

    “…the sight of the dried blood on his wrinkled brown skin banished them…” is a better choice.

    I wonder at her emotions, cuz I think I would be freakin’ at this point. How does she know the green stuff on his face is blood for instance? Your opening line is great, I liked that and you have to have ‘blood’ to make the sentence work, but surely your protag would make a comment before assuming the green on his face was blood. “Is that blood?” she squeaked.

    UNLESS, treating aliens/supernaturals is common is her world then you can ignore my criticism.

  10. I'm confused as to whether seeing non-humans is a common occurence for your MC. I'm not getting a clear idea from her thoughts.

    I also feel like it's a contradiction that the first thing she notices is blood - but a paragraph later we find out it's green blood. It seems to me then that the first thing she noticed would have to have been his non-humanness -- unless she's used to seeing green blood on humans?

    I like the dialogue of the non-human creature, so I'd probably read on to see where this goes.

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  12. Second Try!

    I was interested in that this girl didn't freak out when she saw blood or a strange being. I thought there could have been more tension here in a moment like this, so I think you could draw the anticipation out some here. Otherwise, really enjoyed this.

  13. I like the mystery behind this strange person coming to a girl who's a healer. The descriptions are a little lengthy, but I like where it's going so far. I would definitely keep reading, but I would also hope the next few pages show me where (what type of world) they are and when (time period).

  14. I definitely liked this and would read on. I especially like the fey-thing's voice. :)