Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October Secret Agent #27

TITLE: Moon Fire
GENRE: MG Fantasy Adventure

Zephyr awoke unusually early for a Saturday. He squinted his eyes and glanced over to his bedside table where Ming, his Time Keeper, sat. Most Time Keepers were compact, futuristic devices with a myriad of functions for every imaginable task. Ming was different.

Ming had a binocular shaped head that also served as his body. Tiny overlapping plates resembling medieval armor covered most of his exterior. His face, shaped like a horizontal figure eight, was covered with a pair of glass goggles. He could display video on his face but the pictures were usually a bit droopy because the thickness of the glass pane at the top was thinner than it was at the bottom.

Located below the center of his head, Ming’s two arms extended downward with pincers instead of hands. Ming’s two skinny legs made of rolled metal looked like a stack of tiny coins when he stood, but he usually kept them folded under his body because he preferred to fly around using his retractable antenna-propellers. And unlike any other Time Keeper, Ming had a small mouth that glowed when he spoke and a nose made of a small clear marble with a swirling purple interior.

It was 6:44 AM. Ming flashed the numbers on his face and then popped up, extending his legs to a stand. He shouted, “Happy Birthday!”

Zephyr was finally twelve today. If he had been in China he’d be thirteen years old because a child was considered a year old at birth in most East Asian countries.


  1. I would cut paragraphs 2-3. Since the reader doesn't know what a Time Keeper usually looks like, the most important thing to establish here is that Ming is different. Even if Ming's appearance is important to the story, I would find a way to work these details in more organically throughout the first chapter, rather than in one large chunk upfront.

    Right now we only know a few things: it's the future, it's Zephyr's birthday, and he's not in China. But there's no established conflict or question that would make me keep reading. I'm sure that comes on the next pages--and once you make room by cutting the description, you can move those elements up to the marquee space! :)

  2. I agree with the above comment, the middle two paragraphs are information overload, descriptions that could perhaps be included in snippets in the ongoing story rather than one big chunk.
    Good luck!
    - Byrne

  3. I think perhaps you’ve spent too long on Ming’s description. Maybe, instead of giving it to us in one big block, you show him a bit at a time as he speaks and acts. For example, show his coin style legs when he extends them to stand. Show us his face when he speaks.

    You’ve also said his head served as his body, so I wondered why his arms didn’t extend from the sides of his head/body. Since they spring from beneath his head, I wondered how his legs were attached. It seems they could only be attached to his arms.

    Because of that long description of Ming, nothing happens in this opening. A boy awakes on his birthday. That’s basically all we have. Ming is interesting, and I do wonder why he is called a Time Piece as opposed to something else, since it seems he will be able to do many things, but that isn’t enough to keep me reading. Cut that description some and you’ll have room to take the opening past Zephyr waking up.

  4. Ming woke Zephyr up obscenely early!

    I love that Zephyr has a Time Keeper, which is a futuristic device, but his is very old, evidenced by the droopiness of its display video. Reminds me of R2D2 and C3PO. You always know old robots are the loyal ones. And he's the one that says "Happy Birthday!" to Zephyr first as opposed to a parent or something. I love it, makes me wonder if Zephyr is an orphan.

    I want Ming!

  5. You clearly have a great imagination, and your fantasy world takes shape from the first word. I agree with the previous responders that you don't need to spend as much time describing Ming--after all, Zephyr wouldn't give that much attention to his normal, old Time Keeper. Instead, you may want to focus more on the emotions that will make your reader relate to Zephyr in this interesting world. For example, it's his birthday: show us the excitement that any 12 year old (or 13 year old if he was in China) would feel. :) I think this is going to be a fun story.

  6. This is a whole lot of telling. It's especially problematic because we get a tiny bit of action before it's cut short by explanation. Then a bit more action halted by an explanation of age in China. There's not any continuity or flow within the text, which makes it hard to read and even more difficult to capture reader interest.