Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August Secret Agent Contest #4

TITLE: A Single Feather
GENRE: YA fantasy

Kila stepped into the water, letting the blue of the Pacific dampen the hem of her kapa skirt. A wind from the south pinned the bark cloth to her legs and sent her long black hair into a frenzy about her face. She closed her eyes and raised her arms, willing the wind to carry her away from the island, and away from her father.

"Kila, hele mai!" His shout was closer now.

Kila turned to see him standing on shore. "Yes, I'm coming," she murmured. She left the sea behind and marched past him without another glance.

On the grassy bank beyond the sand, Kila traced her hand along the side of the family's wa'a. Her fingers danced around the canoe's intricate carvings. The wooden images weaved together the story of the ancient chief Akua. She stroked the weathered shapes of his many forms: a shark, a sea turtle and a goose tickled her fingertips. Kila longed for such a transformation. His tale was one of adventure and freedom. She withdrew her hand and brushed it against her hip, wiping away the temptation with a sigh.

"Aue," her father said, disgusted. He piled a stack of taro stems in her arms. "If you are going to daydream, at least do it in the fields where you can do something useful at the same time." He shook his head and walked away.


  1. Great scene setting and a hint at a wonderful adventure. I also like that you have broken out of the YA fantasy mold and are doing something completely different. I don't know Hawaiian myths, but my guess is you're bringing one to life. Kudos!

  2. The Hawaiian aspect interests me, but I wanted more. Where is she and why is she there with her father when she obviously doesn't want to be there with him? Why isn't she in the fields? There are no hints or clues to tell us what is going on here. Perhaps cut some of the description and give us more story.

  3. We all have certain words, phrases, and gestures that set us off. Mine all happen to fall into the category of sensuous overkill. Many can be found in this entry: frenzy, stroking, tickling, longing...temptation, hip. Some of us are prudes...It's a free country. Nevertheless, I can't love work that traffics in this language.

  4. I'm intrigued by the Pacific Islander feel, but somewhat put off by what seems to be a slow start. I think if you could combine some of these sentences, you might be able to move the action a little faster and keep the reader's interest a little more.

    That said, my impatience was with wanting to get to the story rather than with the content - I really liked the content a lot and would read on. If the pace didn't pick up quickly, however, this would lose me.