Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July Secret Agent #43

TITLE: The Silver Heir
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

Of two things Lila-Phoenix Silver was absolutely certain; people thought her grandmother was crazy and she was beginning to side with the general public.

"Why is she here?" The dark haired girl behind Silver asked, her disgust matching Silver's mortification.

"God only knows," Silver replied, trying to hide behind one of the Roman pillars that propped up the school's entrance. Not that that would stop her grandmother from finding her. The thing was, Silver knew exactly why her grandmother was standing beside her car, hands flapping at the passing students to see if they knew where Silver was- she just wished it wasn't the reason.

Silver peered around the column, checking to see if Alice was still there. She was. Most of the students were giving her grandmother a wide berth, ignoring her calls in fear, while the bolder stood and laughed, waving their hands back in exaggerated mocking.

Alice Silver was known as the town loon who thought magical beings lived among the people of Port Grave. She held seances and read tea leaves for tourists during the summer and would deal tarot cards for anyone who wanted their future told in the winter- not that anyone ever did. Mocking Alice was such a favourite pastime of the people of the Port that it was practically a sport. They said she thought she was a witch because she could shuffle a deck of cards. If only they knew how wrong they were.


  1. I like this first sentence, but I'm worried that an agent might think it is a little cliche. Reminds me of another book I read.

    The next line should be simplified: "Why is she here?" The dark haired girl asked. Her discust matched Silver's mortification.

    I like the last paragraph. I almost think that should come first. (??)

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  3. I like almost everything here except the first line. It's cliche and reminiscent of the Twilight cover copy. I'd cut it completely. It doesn't add anything; you show us later that everyone thinks she's crazy - you don't need to tell us.

    In the fourth paragraph, I didn't know who Alice was. It could either have been her grandmother or the dark-haired girl mentioned in P2. After the next sentence, I realized it was the grandmother, but it was jarring and uncomfortable.

    Lila-Phoenix Silver? I hope there's a good reason she has such a name.

    I'm hooked. I'd keep reading

  4. Mm, yeah, that first line reminds me of another book, too. Especially coupled with the grandmother's name.

    Your last paragraph is nice and hints at interesting stuff.

  5. Thanks everybody! I didn't realize that the first sentence would be cliche or like something else. It's gone now and it flows better.

  6. I do agree that the first line is a bit cliche, but I really do like what you have so far. I would keep reading to learn more about the Silver women:)

  7. An interesting opening. It got my attention and I'd read more, but I want something to happen instead of you telling me everything.

    The first sentence was difficult reading because you started with a prepositional phrase. Maybe reverse it. Lila was certain of two things.

    Does Lila know the dark haired girl? If so, give her a name.

    I liked the order in which you presented things. It was a good mix of story and info.

    Tighten up the writing. Just say she hid behind the pillar, not that she tried. Cut phrases like, 'the thing was.'

    And if she knows why granny is there, tell us why. We're supposed to know what your MC knows, and introducing the problem right away allows us to empathize with your MC right away. The problem is the reason we read the story. Let us know what it is ASAP.

  8. This is quite engaging. I agree with many of the other comments and so will just say I would certainly read on.

  9. You've got a great premise here and I think you're on the right track. A couple of things that jarred for me: 1st para you say she's absolutely certain of 2 things, but then that she's only "beginning" to side - which doesn't sound absolutely certain to me!

    Para 3 is a bit wordy for me - and much of it isn't really needed, so I'd pare it down.

    The final para mostly reads as tell. I would prefer it to be from Silver's POV and this is an easy fix.

    Hope that helps.

  10. Maggie and Barbara both said what I was thinking, so I'll just second them. With some tweaking, this could be really good.

  11. First line aside, I like this too. Kind of reminded me of Graham Joyce (but you are no G. Joyce lol ;-)

    Out of the Urban Fantasies I spotted here, this one seems true. I would read on to find out more. :-)

  12. I am hooked. This is an interesting first page. I certainly want to know how the people of Port Grave were wrong about Alice. My problem, though, is that I like Alice way better than Lila. I wish she were the protagonist. I'm guessing Lila will eventually value and love her grandmother, but at the moment Lila is unpleasant. Also, the last paragraph seemed a bit of an info dump.

  13. This is off to an interesting, if slightly bumpy start. Bumpy due to the opening lines (well covered territory by other commenters), and the amount of telling rather than showing. I would have loved to get a little description of Alice here so we can see what she looks like as she's flapping her arms around. Still, the premise is intriguing. If I got this on submission, I would definitely read a few more pages to see where the story is headed.

  14. I don't usually like fantasy, but this has me wanting to read more because of MC knowing why Grandma is there. Makes me want to know why. Also, intrigued because other kids thinks she's crazy,tarro cards... I agree with other comments about you need to show. I also think you need action in the begining & more dialogue from MC. Then you could explain more. Fix this up & send to SA! Good luck!

  15. Thank you all so much! The critiques have been so helpful and I changed things you thought I should and I love my story so much more now. Thank you all for the encouraging and helpful comments!

  16. I really like this opening but I have admit I'm a little confused why she calls her grandmother by her first name.

  17. I called my grandfather by his first name. I'm sure there's a legitimate reason in this story.