Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October Secret Agent #11

TITLE: Faithless Rose
GENRE: YA Paranormal

The year was 1536 when I died. I was sacrificed for a faithless and cowardly king. However, in my hour of darkness I was given a chance to avenge my family and, in the process…live.

My name is Amelia Godwin. I am half of a whole with my twin brother Alexander (Alex) at my side. We come from a long line of magic that has had to be suppressed or hidden for fear of being labeled a witch and being burnt at the stake. Each of us has different natural abilities when it comes to our magic. I have a natural ability to move objects and my brother has an ability to work with herbs and brew potions. Every person with magic also learns how to create spells and manipulate the elements. This takes a lot of concentration, which I have never really had. Sure, I can call on a light wind or rain, bend a small fire, or even help a dead plant to grow, but this is really small scale stuff that has had to be experimented with sparingly for the fear that we could be spotted.

The year of 1536 started off with an uncertain outlook. Alex and I would be eighteen in May and our parents were actively searching for high ranking suitors for marriage. So far we both had dodged the subject of marriage.


  1. The first 2 sentences grabbed me...but by the second paragraph, you lost me. Too much of an infodump. I would suggest losing all of the backstory and instead weave it into the story itself, which seems to have a lot of potential. You have taken what could be a very rich history of a long line of magic and stripped it down to a very didactic paragraph. Don't tell us about the fear of being burned at the stake, demonstrate to us how anti-witch hysteria is a very real threat in Amelia's community. Show us what the stakes are if she slips up and gets caught using magic. The idea itself is very intriguing, but unfortunately these first 250 words do not successfully draw me in.

  2. I agree with the above comment. I would suggest dropping the second paragraph entirely and working it into the storyline. The idea is intriguing but I felt a little lost with all the information dumped on me so quickly. Perhaps something like this.....

    "The year was 1536 when I died, sacrificed for a faithless and cowardly king. However, in my hour of darkness I was given a chance to avenge my family and in the

    The year started with an uncertain outlook. Alex and I would be eighteen..."

    Just a suggestion!

    Good luck!
    - Byrne


    I could be mean and leave it at that, but I won't. The entire opening is telling and offers nothing in the way of incentive to continue. Also, the entire first paragraph is passive, which weakens it considerably.

    Consider instead making it active and concise:

    I died in 1536—a sacrifice for a faithless and cowardly king.

    I'd cut out the rest of it and get to the action. Everything else can be filtered in slowly to the narrative, but if you don't give me something to chew on right from the start, I'm not going to stick around.

  4. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it reads like an infodump to me too. 1536 must have been pretty wild, what with coming off the black death and all - plus she's got powers - I'd like to know what she's seeing at this moment.

  5. Fascinating premise but the telling takes me out of the story. Make it feel like I'm seeing it happen, not being told about it.

  6. This is coming off as more of a query. What's the inciting incident other than dying? You might even want to re-think this whole opening. It works for the query, but the manuscript needs to be approached completely differently. You can do it. Outline and move stuff around.

  7. The first sentence intrigued me and this seems like it could be an interesting story. But my preference would be that you jump right into a scene rather than the explanatory paragraph where you simply tell us about the magic. I would probably read on a bit more, but no more than a paragraph or two if it stayed in this 'telling' style.

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