Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September Secret Agent #19

TITLE: Savage Light
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Gwen hummed along to the tune played by the make-shift band in the courtyard. She looked up at her partner and mouthed the traditional words one said before beginning a calale country dance.

May you be blessed.

Her partner said nothing, so Gwen pretended he had.

I am already blessed with you for a partner.

She then curtsied and began the two-step, forward and back, as she had watched the others do. Her partner merely stared at her with long-lashed eyes, refusing to participate. The music picked up its pace and Gwen did as well, adding in swirls and bows, raising her hands over her head. She didn’t know the next steps so she made them up, twisting with the music. Her partner didn’t mind, though he didn’t dance himself. Then the music slowed and with a big sweeping step, Gwen came within inches of him.
At which point he shoved her, hard, with his nose, and Gwen fell to the stable floor in a cloud of dust. She gave the horse a look to let him know what she thought of his ungentlemanly behavior and thought she detected a bit of horsey amusement in his enormous eyes.

“Gwen!” Her name, screeched from the courtyard, made her jump, then cringe. Her silk gown dissolved back to rags, her graceful steps reverted to the clumsy spinnings of a scrawny girl-child. At least her partner was still just as handsome. She pulled herself to her feet and buried her face in his silky neck.


  1. Cinderella is a well-loved story device that never seems to get old. :) We all dream of bigger/better, so it strikes a chord.

    I loved the moment the horse pushed her and she fell on the stable floor instead of the ballroom. Boorish dance partner becomes long-suffering stallion. :) I'm already getting a sense of the world and Gwen's personality and it's very fun.

    I'd definitely read on, but I'd hope that the next page or so made the conflict clear--along with some key ways this differs from all the other Cinderella stories out there.

    Good job!

  2. I like it, and would read on. I'd probably change "girl-child" to something else, but it all depends on the world-feel you want to build. nice job.

  3. I was totally sucked in to the ballroom and was wondering what kind of jerk her partner was, and then the spell was broken when he shoved her to the floor with his nose. I really like how you did that.

    But I would have imagined her gown and other finery disappeared at that moment, too, not when she was called.

    I also wondered why, if she's cringing at the voice - which implies fear - why is she lingering in the barn with the horse rather than immediately going to answer whoever called her. ENding with her fear of whoever that person is may offer a better hook than hugging the horse, because it implies there's danger to to come. Just a thought.

    I'd read more.

  4. I thought this was cute. I was pulled in (good hook) and my mind went in several directions, which made me want to keep reading.

    I felt the pace was nice. The middle tickled my curiosity, and the end was a surprise.

    We know who the protagonist is right away, and I like the name Gwen.

    For me, I was disappointed at the end to find out it was a scrawny girl, but maybe she doesn't stay that way. What I'm saying is that I read more adult books, so the audience is different.

    I think you did a great job!

    Good luck!

  5. This is my favorite so far. I love it. You manage to set up an expectation and twist it in a way that made me think I should have seen it coming.

  6. I'd definitely like to keep reading. This is about perfect to me, really enjoy the twist you've implemented and the sense of the MC that I've started to get. I think the only thing that sticks out is the "girl-child" phrase which somehow doesn't sit right with me, but it's hard to tell when having read only such a small portion whether it fits the rest of the tone, or not. It seems somehow awkward. But the rest of it is lush! I'm definitely on Gwen's side already :)

  7. I like this one. I'd like to see what fun twist you're putting on Cinderella.

  8. I really enjoyed it. I can't find fault except that there's no hook on the first page to make me turn... lots of whimsy, clear writing, and a likeable character, but nothing intriguing that creates a story question for me.

    But delightful. Good job.

  9. I enjoyed this. I was getting all irritated with her partner, and then to find out it was a horse was so unexpected. The only thing, the bit about the scrawny girl-child pulled me out of YA and into MG. Could just be me? I don't know. All and all, a very sweet story. <3

  10. I liked this, and like Brenda, was getting irritated with her partner and then I found out it was a horse - definitely unexpected. And I agree - the girl-child line made me think this should be a MG.

    Very cute story & I'd keep reading.

  11. Thanks for the feedback everyone! It appears I'll have to work on that girl-child line.

    It's not really a Cinderella story--but I can totally see why you'd think that! If you're curious where it goes, the summary's posted on my webpage.

  12. This seemed like MG to me, as much because of the idea that her partner turns out to be a horse, than anything else.

    I'm not getting a strong enough sense of character to be pulled into this and probably wouldn't keep reading.

    The writing is strong, however.

  13. I really liked this, it painted a nice scene of the MC day-dreaming and also made me smile. I agree it sounds more MG than YA, though.

    The only change I'd suggest is finding a snappier first sentence, otherwise it's great.

  14. This is cute and I like the way you fooled us with her partner. One thing that struck me though - Gwen wouldn't know how her partner is feeling, especially not if he's a horse, so I would change "Her partner didn't mind" to "Her partner didn't seem to mind"