Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September Secret Agent #32

TITLE: Arrow of the Mist
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Her hound's bark alerted Lia to the pair of horses charging up the path. Lia squinted in the dusky light and recognized Da’s friend, Kenneth, upon one horse. Then her insides went cold. Across the other horse’s back lay Da’s limp body.

Lia dropped the harvested mallow root and sped from her garden to the cottage, her hound darting ahead. Ma’s scream shot like a bolt through her, but Kenneth’s words, “He’s alive, Carin,” offered Lia a morsel of hope.

Kenneth carried him into the cottage, and Lia caught a glimpse of Da’s torn and bloodied clothing. “I’ll fetch Granda,” she cried, and hurried to her filly.

Clad in her usual boy’s breeches and high leather boots, Lia raced her horse down the path with her heart pounding in rhythm to the hoof beats. Stay strong, Da! Just a little longer, and Granda will be there to heal you.

Why hadn’t her dreams forewarned her? They showed her when the mares or ewes would give birth, or when visitors were coming from afar, but her fate-dreams had failed to give a timely warning for Da.

She blazed across waves of shamrock green hills dotted with the ancient quartz towers unique to Rockberg. She turned down the main road and rushed into the heart of the village. A few villagers lifted curious eyes, but many only cast contemptuous glances her way.


  1. Nice minimal use of adjectives, good description and set up of unfolding story. I'm not crazy about the character names, however. I'd keep reading.

  2. This one is fine, I find some of the vocabulary a little irritating, like calling a horse a "filly" and "morsel" of hope.

    I don't find it particularly intriguing, although I do like the bit of mystery that gets set up at the very end. There's just nothing that really stands out here for me.

    I will say that the writing is strong, however.

  3. I really enjoyed this one! I'm not a huge fantasy reader, but the way you weaved natural materials into the narrative was very appealing to me. I have a nice picture of the family dynamic already :)

  4. Interesting, but hard to follow at first since there are 6 people mentioned in the first 3 paragraphs.

    I'm not captured, but I'd read on to see where it goes because I'm interested in the dreams and generally the writing flows well.

  5. I thought this had potential. For me, it was just that there are a lot of little things that get in the way and muddy up the actual story.

    a few examples --

    Start with Lia, not 'her'.

    Clad in her usual boys' breeches --her father's dying, and a description of her clothing gets in the way of the tension you're creating.

    She blazed across the waves of shamrock green hills -- end it there. The rest of the description is like her clothes. SHe's in a hurry. Da's dying. Is she going to wax poetic about the scenery?

    And perhaps show a bit more, rather than telling us. Rephrase sentences so that 'ing' words become 'ed' words, and you turn passive writing into active writing.

    They're all little things, but they make a big difference in the end.

  6. I would think the hound would have a name.

    I like the setting.

    Would Lia ask what happened to Da before rushing off? that might give Granda some info on what herbs to bring or something?

    I thought it was a little simplistic to say that "granda would heal him" as if it's black and white: as long as the person is alive, they will be healed. Is Granda really this powerful? That seems like godlike powers to me.

  7. Hi,

    The biggest thing that comes to mind is that several characters are mentioned at the same time. Maybe it's possible to lower the number.

    Instead of naming "Kenneth" now, maybe sentence 2 could end with "Da's friend." (dropping upon one horse)

    It surprised me that Lia would run for the cottage instead of towards her friend.

    "Why hadn't her dreams forewarned her?" combined with the second sentence is almost the same as "but her fate-dreams had failed to give a timely warning for Da." Repetition.

    I looked for suggestions to help, which is why I wrote the above comments, but the plot so far sounds interesting.

    Good luck!

  8. Not very hooked. Don't know why. The writing is excellent.