Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October Secret Agent #18

TITLE: Quintessence
GENRE: Young Adult

"Suscito lamia." Tabby muttered as she stirred the cookie mixture.

"Suscito lamia," she repeated, hoping the pronunciation was correct.

"Suscito lamia." She chanted the incantation one last time before dropping spoonfuls of dough onto the greased cookie sheet. She set the timer, closed her eyes tight, and crossed her fingers.

A sweet aroma emanated from the kitchen and wafted up the stairs where it would catch the attention of her three sisters, getting ready for school. She fanned the sugary smell with an empty cookie sheet in the direction of her oldest sister down the hall, who was primping for work. She knew they wouldn't be able to resist moist, fresh-from-the-oven cookies. Her plan depended on it.

She took the last batch out, slid the gooey treats onto a plate and strategically placed them in the middle of the island bar. Reaching her arms high above her head, she made another attempt to stretch the sleep away, but it would take a lot more than stretching to wake her up. Ever since her discovery of that ancient book in the attic, she hadn't been getting much rest. Because of her drowsiness, she almost put chili powder into the cookie mix instead of dragon's blood powder. Chili powder would definitely be more detectable.

A spark of electricity shocked Tabby's hand when she turned the knob to shut off the oven. It felt similar to the spark she experienced when she first held the book in her hands.


  1. This wouldn't be a genre I would normally read, but this did have me intrigued and wondering what sort of spell she's trying to cast on her sisters. I would keep reading.

  2. Interesting. I would read further.

  3. Some of the writing here is pretty good, but it feels too telling for me and a little awkward in spots. She seems very focused on some plan involving the cookies and then she is stretching to wake up. That seemed like a completely different feel from what is happening in the preceding paragraphs.

  4. I didn't feel like it flowed all that well. Too many sentences starting with 'she' for one thing. Try and vary your sentence structure, and sentence length. It makes the writing more dynamic and flows better.

    Interesting premise, although the whole magic book in the attic is a little overdone.

    I might read a little further, but unless it gets a lot more interesting fast, probably not far.

  5. I liked it. I want to know what kind of spell she's putting on her sisters and why, and would have liked to have seen that here, but I'd read on a bit more.

    And there's probably a better way to work in her sleepless nights with the book. I didn't think it fit well with what you already have going on. Perhaps tell us about the book when we actually see it?

  6. I'd like to see the discovery of the book first instead of revisiting it later as backstory or flashback, because it is the inciting incident and your main hook.

    Putting a spell on her sisters is as delectable as her cookies, but it's scene two.

    I'd be hooked with this change.

  7. I really like the last paragraph. Starting off with the words of the spell was a little confusing and I found myself skiping ahead to see what she was talking about.

  8. This seems interesting, but I had the same issue as everyone else, with her stretching and trying to wake up AFTER having made several batches of cookies early in the morning. Her actions don't jive with the revelation that she's half-awake. Still, the set-up is interesting and I'd probably read on.

  9. So I thought this had potential, but i think this is a little bit of an awkward place to start. And there seem to be some inconsistencies. Sometimes it's the little things that annoy me and take me out of the story.

    Like first the 3 sisters are getting ready for school, then one is getting ready for work. And one second she's putting them in the oven and the next second she's taking them out.

    Also, this seemingly all important plan is dependent on cookies? I think I'd try to come up with a better plan. Especially if you have a magic book at your disposal.

    I'm just not sure this 1st page really sucks the reader in to what seems like an interesting premise. I think maybe a scene with a little more action might serve you better. I don't really know what the story is about but maybe a spell gone wrong and the sisters step in and decide she needs to be taught or something like that.

    But that obviously may not fit. Just some kind of action would be better I think. But the story itself seems to have potential.