Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September Secret Agent #14

TITLE: Simon's Oath
GENRE: YA Light Fantasy

In the city of glass, there was one stone tower in a garden grown wild. Abandoned and feral, long tongues of ivy and morning glory were devouring the walls, their hungry roots finding holds in stone that glass could not provide.

No one remembered who had built the tower, or why, or how, for the people only knew how to pour moulds of glass and iron upon which to raise their city. Very few went near the garden, and those that did hurried past it, their eyes averted from the erratic maze of roots and branches. They feared that the irregular leaves and flower petals that grew in oddly regular spirals would somehow invade and corrupt their short, easily measured lives.


In a glass house by the river, Simon slid open the door to Faith’s bedroom. She was in her usual spot on the window-seat, curled into an embroidered cushion as she stared out through the clear glass. Her thin limbs were almost lost in the whiteness of her nightgown and her black curls spilled over one shoulder, savage and tangled from sleep.

As his eyes settled on her hair, Simon touched his chest, his throat, his lips. A reflexive ward against drowning, though an incomplete one. He mastered his fear before spitting a wad of saliva on the tile floor. Instead, he cleared his throat, taking care to keep his voice low and steady. Appropriate, for a servant.

“Good morning, little princess.”


  1. This has left me really intrigued. I like the chosie of words, like 'savaged and tangled from sleep' I found that really interesting.
    I would definitely want to read more from this.

  2. I think I remember this one, although you had a totally different opening before. I like this one better. Great job creating mood and atmosphere! Great language. Loved the black curls, savage and tangled!

    On the prologue-y part, you might reconsider the last sentence. It makes it just stop, rather than end, if that makes sense. It needs its own little hook, something eerie or dangerous, and that sentence just doesn't do it.

    In the story section, the middle parg, is a bit clunky. Perhaps his 'gaze' could settle on her hair, rather than his eyes, so you don't have disembodied body parts.
    And perhaps a comma between 'his lips' and 'a reflexive' rather than a period. The 'before spitting on the floor' sentence made me think he actually had spit on the floor until I read on.

    But you have me intrigued. I'd read more.

  3. I love the beginning. I'm hooked.

    what I would change: have a --after the sentence of the reflexive ward, and have next sentence be the end of this sentence. that would make it flow better for me.

    I would also remove "glass" as a descriptor of Simon's house, as it appears that all houses are glass, and thus they would never use that as a descriptor. you can reference that it's glass in some other way. I thought he had spit on the floor, and then had to revise my image with the next sentence that said he hadn't spit on the floor.

    really great job. this is my favorite one so far.

  4. Beautiful writing. You've led me into the scene nicely and have given me questions about Simon. The mention of spitting jarred me for a moment, but overall this was just a pleasure to read. Lovely!

  5. I'm not your audience, so I probably wouldn't read on, but not for fault of your writing. You set scenes well, and with the exception of the line about spitting, I thought the description was vivid. Consider cutting or rewording the mentions of glass, once you get to Faith's bedroom, as it started to get repetitive after the...prologue (?) thing.

    The spitting line threw me off, until I reread and deduced that it was part of the incomplete ward. And why would he need a ward against drowning if he's in a glass house? I didn't understand that.

  6. I thought he actually spit on the floor.

    I liked the writing, the description, the fairytale feel of it all. I think maybe some of it didn't quite go far enough.

    Like with the prologue, I don't get a clear enough impression of why they avoid the tower... I don't need to know exactly, but as it is.... I sort of feel like, well, so what? What's the deal? Feels like they're all weird and overreacting to what is (as described) just an old tower.

    Is Simon's fear of drowning because of the view of the river or does it have something to do with her hair? How close are they to the river? Does he think they might fall in? This is another spot where the writing doesn't quite get me to the question or conclusion I feel like I should have...

    Do glass houses have windows? Wouldn't it all be window? I might like a little more description of the scenery.

    Is it a problem that an unescorted male servant is in the bedroom of a young woman who is wearing her nightgown?

    Nice job.

  7. Wow. this was great. Not only could I really see this, but I felt it. I'd already be on my way to buy this book. It is an original universe, which isn't easy in today's marketplace.

  8. I didn't get the spit bit. It really threw me! I loved the beginning, loved the language!
    Good luck! : )

  9. I don't really have much to add (if anything) to the comments above. I just wanted to say that I really admire the writing here and would read on.

    I agree there are things that could be changed to smooth out the writing or the story (as with Barbara, I think the last line of the prologue moves out of effective description into hammering home a point), but overall, you have a unique premise (though I wonder about the annoyance of glass houses) and good writing. You're good to go.

  10. LOVE IT. The last sentence of the prologue should be fixed--we want a stronger reason why they stay away.

    But otherwise fantastic, beautiful writing and just enough detail to suck us in and not confuse it.

    And I love the fairy tale feel of it.