Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May Secret Agent #11

TITLE: Keepers of Water
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Rydan drew in a deep breath. The dry air of the desert felt good in his lungs. He'd missed this place, his new home. Scanning, he found familiar buildings and colors surround him. It was so different from his home back in Baile. From the dry mounds of sand and scarce vegetation to the simplistic nomad life the people led, nothing about this place drew even an ounce of similarity to the world he'd left behind. Even with the differences it was about as close to a home as he would find in this world.

Looking over his shoulder he tried to pick out the places that would be best to search first. Shadows and ally-ways were always good. Spots that most did not travel, especially at night, abounded in this town. He'd been all over this world in the past few months. Coming back here had been wanted, but not this way and not now.

"More disappearances reported by the local authorities."

Below Rydan could hear the news anchorman's voice rise into the night. The warning was given, but only with a hint of real urgency. From what he'd heard, the police only had a few missing people, most of whom were homeless or considered runaways. There was discussion of the wind storms that had been kicking up the last day or two and the belief that nature had taken them at night. He knew better.

He'd followed Ricor from America through England and back down to Chile.


  1. This is interesting. I'd read more to figure out what he/she were talking about. Since it's hard to get a feel for what era this is supposed to take place in, it would also be another reason I'd like to read on so I could find out.

  2. I'm a little confused as to exactly where this is taking place, as most people in Chile aren't nomads (I used to live there myself) and well, there isn't one single kind of geography for the country, either. Not sure if the character is from this world and has gone into a magical one, or the other way around. But I realize that this is only the first 250 words, and the rest of the chapter would likely explain this. I'd read on to find out what's going on, although I'd hope to get a much stronger sense of character as soon as possible as well. I think even here, you could get us closer to the character by addressing passive/distant constructions like this one: "Coming back here had been wanted, but not this way and not now." (Wanted by whom? The MC? Who is...?)

    I like the general idea of crossing to different worlds, though, so I'd read on.

  3. I was just confused. I didn't get what was going on or where I was.

    You say - He'd missed this place - which implies he's been there before. Then you follow up with - his new home, which implies he hasn't been there before. Further on, it seems he lived there once, left, then came back?

    The people who live there are nomads (people who wander, who don't have stationary homes) and yet there are houses and alleyways like a regular town. And if they're nomads, then they probably 'don't' live there. They probably just pass through.

    Below, Rydan could hear -- below what? where is Rydan that there is a 'below'?

    Perhaps give this some more thought, then rewrite for better clarity.

  4. I agree with Barbara. I was a little confused about the opening paragraph. Did he miss his new home or was he settling for a substitute?

    I'm sure we get more clarity about the different worlds in the rest of the novel, but from just this, I'm unsure about location. But I really like the whole being taken by the wind concept. I'd like to hear more about that.

  5. I think the idea of the mc chasing someone is great. I think that idea needs to be put in the spotlight, up at the front. I got the impression he was in a desert, but then you mentioned alleyways and I got confused. The tone is relaxed and not as urgent as I would like, but I think it's a very interesting concept.

  6. Seems a little passive and doesn't pull me in.

    What if you started with your last sentence?

  7. I think the first paragraph is unnecessary, and the rest conveys a mystery, but it's more "telling" instead of "showing".

    I think you have an interesting story to tell, but it hasn't started in the correct spot. Keep editing. It does have potential!

  8. I am intrigued. There is enough going on here to pique my interest and the writing is good. I would read on to find the answers to my questions.

  9. He'd missed this place, his new home. It jarred my reading and then you went on to recall another place and I got a little mixed up with it all, but aside from that, it's well done. It just needs to be tweaked for clarity. It'll be a cracker for sure.

  10. I agree with most of the comments. Also, the use of "this place" and "this world" seem too frequent in such a short amount of words.

    The line "He'd missed this place, his new home." is contradictory.

    I also assume while reading the first two paragraphs that he's outside, but then he hears the news on behind him? So is he inside, then?

    To me, it feels like the top two paragraphs don't belong at the beginning.

    Good luck!!

  11. There is something unique and interesting in here, but the problem is I can't get to it. The subdued writing is confusing and a little too passive. In spite of that I liked it and would read more to see what happens.

  12. What I liked: Foreign setting, setup.

    What needed work: Clarity: The first paragraph lost me immediately, and I struggled to find my way back into the story. I couldn’t get a sense of place, or character, or what was going on really at all. Felt too much of the writing was passive. Take this sentence, for example: “Coming back here had been wanted, but not this way and not now.” For my money, there’s nothing substantial about that sentence.

    I’d work on trying to find a more effective opening to try and draw the reader in, and work with more active language.

    Would I keep reading based on these sample pages? No.