Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January Secret Agent #11

TITLE: Into The Mystic Woods
GENRE: MG Fantasy

Claudio was playing his guitar when he heard the first scream. He stopped playing to listen closer. There was no mistaking the sound this time. It was Cassandra, his Cassandra, screaming. She was screaming his name, and the fear in her voice was palpable. His stomach churned with unease. He turned to his best friend, Francis.

“She’s down by the river” Francis said, reading Claudio’s mind. “Hurry, I’m right behind you.” The two tortoises dropped their instruments and ran through the woods towards the Grand Turquoise River. Rain began to fall slowly from the sky, slightly blurring their vision. It rarely rained in Glowmill Forest.

“Francis, I’ve never heard her scream like that before” Claudio managed to say as he tried to keep up with his friend. “I can’t let anything happen to her.”

“We won’t” Francis insisted. “Don’t worry; we’ll take care of her. She’ll be fine. Just keep running.”

“And why did the screaming stop?” Claudio asked. “I haven’t heard her voice since we left.”

“I don’t know” Francis admitted. “Perhaps she’s okay now. Maybe she fell into the river and became frightened.” He didn’t believe that. As soon as he said it, he knew Claudio wouldn’t believe it either.

“She loves that river more than anyone I know” Claudio declared. “She’s not the type to get frightened from falling in.” Francis knew this was true, and he made no reply.

The rain stopped, but dark clouds had formed over the forest and seemed to be following the two tortoises.


  1. Interesting! I read this and got to the end and thought "these really ARE tortoises?" That wasn't just a metaphor? I think it's okay that I was unsure. You got me to keep reading so I guess mission accomplished. Maybe you could do a bit more with certain words, like when you say they "dropped their instruments and ran through the woods," maybe you could give a hint in the verbs or action.

    Is the MC Claudio or Francis? I thought Claudio but then we are in Francis's head at the end.

    Careful with your punctuation. you need commas in your dialogue tags "We won't," Francis insisted.

    Good luck!

  2. I found myself questioning Claudio's first response to the scream. He doesn't seem very alarmed. He is uneasy, but turns to his friend to see what he thinks, rather than responding or acting.

    I also wonder about the tortoise thing. :D

  3. Cute! I had a little laugh when I realized they were tortoises, because it was so unexpected and made the story much more sweet somehow. I do think it would have been nice to know they were tortoises before we heard the scream. Even calling him "Claudio the tortoise" would have been enough.

    Also, I do have to agree with Charlotte, in that Claudio's reaction to the scream seemed odd.

    But I have to admit I'm extremely curious about what happens next. Would keep reading if I could.


  4. The instant ominous setup of an adventure made me feel like I was watching a dream. I want to know what's up.

    I also enjoyed the image of a guitar-playing tortoise. Again, dreamlike.

    One slight criticism, though: Your characters talk only (so far) in complete sentences...which can make dialogue seem (1) less flowing and (2)not very real (ok, I actually have no idea whether tortoises speak in complete sentences).

    I would love to read on.

  5. Well, I have to admit that learning they were tortoises threw me. Especially when they started to run because then I was wondering if they were running really, really, slow, like tortoises, or fast like people.

    And I also wondered at Claudio's reaction to the scream. This was 'his' Cassandra. Seems he should have been up and off right away.

  6. Very charming. I think a couple of the verbs could be tweaked to give it a more 'tortoise' like feel - although I do like the image of "running" tourtoises." I suppose if the journey to a river was that arduous and slow, Claudio might first get confirmation from his friend because lord knows they could have a whole convo during the "running." Anyway, I like the set-up and would keep reading. Glowmill forest isa great choice of name. I do love animal stories.

  7. I tend not to like anthropomorphic fiction (although I try to keep an open mind), but when I read that they were tortoises, you lost me. I couldn’t really picture two tortoises playing guitar. How would they have heard the screaming over their music? The dialogue is stilted, and the writing could be smoother. You anticipate what they’re going to find when they get to the river, rather than let the action unfold. Unfortunately, I’m not hooked.