Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August Secret Agent #2

TITLE: The Seeker's Charm
GENRE: Fantasy

Rose Woodman loved storms. Whether they blew in from the sea or down from the mountains rumored to rise beyond the forest, the result was the same: even the mightiest oaks bowed down. Not that Rose disliked the trees. She loved them too, but a power that could bend those ancient trunks, that could tear the sky apart revealing beautiful flashes of silver, who wouldn't admire that?

Everyone but me. She dragged her hand off the rattling shudders though her fingers itched to throw them wide and let the howling wind blow away the memory of her mother. It had hovered all day beside Aunt Mary's bed, growing stronger with each of her labored breathes until no one in the little farmhouse could breath easily.

Mary gasped again. A wrenching, suffocated sound.

Rose turned from the front window and ran to the bedroom door. She would get in. She'd take that thin hand and somehow pour her own strength into her aunt.

But as she reached the door, the midwife walked out wiping her gory hands with her splattered apron while muttering, "Ain't this a fitting night for the birth of a two-headed monst--"

Her pale eyes narrowed as she spotted Rose. "What are you doing? Shouldn't one such as you be out enjoyin' a night such as this? Or is it even more fun for you to lurk beside a childbed smelling the blood of the mess you've made?"


  1. I'm confused about the 'everyone but me.' It's the only 'me' or 'I' in the whole thing, but it can't be Rose, because the first paragraph is all about how much Rose loves storms, isn't it?
    I'm definitely hooked by this, you did such a great job of making me care right away. :) Maybe because I love storms to. "Even the mightiest oaks bowed down" was a beautiful line. Good job!

  2. I really enjoyed Rose's voice in this piece. I felt like I'd entered her world from the start and was listening to her story -- not the writer's. I really appreciate that as a reader.

    Rose has a flowery voice, which I also loved. My main critique is this: Some of that flowery narration seemed a bit overworked, such as "rumored to rise beyond the forest", and "fingers itched to throw them."

    I think these sentences would be more powerful like this: "Whether they blew in from the sea or down from the mountains, the result was the same: even the mightiest oaks bowed down." And "She dragged her hand off the shudders, wanting to throw them wide and let the wind blow away the memory of her mother."

    Thank you so much for sharing your work!

  3. I'm hooked by your beautiful, lyrical voice. I was confused by the "everyone but me" sentence, though, because I thought we were in Rose's POV and then suddenly it seemed we weren't. But I'm definitely hooked and would keep on reading. Nice job!

  4. Interesting, but confusing. It was the "Everyone but me" line.

    I originally assumed it was third person, then that line came up which threw it into first person, but then we never see the 'I' character again and I couldn't figure out who she was and how she fits into the story.

    What you've given us was really interesting, but if there is an 'I' character, perhaps let her show herself a bit more so we can see who she is. As is, it seems like a mistake--like you had written this in first person, then changed it to third and forgot to change that sentence.

    But a two-headed monster and Rose somehow creating it? I'd have to read on!

  5. I’m confused about how many people are in this scene – there’s the narrator, who doesn’t like storms, Rose, who does, a midwife, and Aunt Mary who’s having a baby. The line about birthing a monster, and that monster being Rose’s fault is intriguing, and does make me want to know more, but the confusion caused by that “everyone but me” line is a big turnoff, and makes me fear there will be more confusing scenes to come.

  6. I thought the thing about oaks is that they DON'T bow down. that's why they shatter and break in heavy winds. So ... are you saying, the wind is special enough to make them bow down? Because if it was simply extra strong, it wouldn't make them bow, it would topple them.

    Birches, Willows, Hemlocks, etc - all sorts of other trees actually bow down in the wind. Oaks do not.

    Man, I hate it when my brain brings up this old info and makes me unable to read stories without nitpicking on things like this. :)

    I liked your writing otherwise, and I'd like to know more about Rose.

    The 'she"/"me" mixup bothered me too.

    How has Rose caused a bloody mess in a childbirth? Did she impregnate her aunt? i'm very confused. but in a good way, i want to know more!

  7. I think others have covered my confusion with the "everyone but me" line.

    I'm intrigued by the hook—how could Rose be responsible for her aunt's troubled birth? I want to know more. I also like the way you've pulled the imagery of air through the scene, first with the wind, then with the suffocated sounds. The vast storm outside only seems to emphasize how claustrophobic this room/house is.

    I don't think you need the "not that Rose disliked the trees" unless she's prone to apologizing for things she likes.

    I'm definitely hooked!

  8. I think everyone has covered what I'd say too... Fantasy isn't my genre, so I'm probably not the best person to comment on this, but I did feel the setting was a bit thickly laid. but there is something going on here and it's got me hooked enough that I want to read on, especially to find out who the 'me' refers to! A couple of small things, only because I do them all the time: repeated words too close together - 'thin hand' soon followed by 'gory hands'.