Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March Secret Agent #49

TITLE: The Lokana Chronicles
GENRE: Adult Fantasy

Vegin considered the man before him, a poor farmer from an outlying village. Tears had carved grooves through the layers of dirt on his face as he begged for mercy. The prince paused for a moment to choose his next words, glancing at his father out of the corner of his eye and wondering if his judgment would be allowed to stand.

But as Vegin opened his mouth to pass sentence on the man, Tol sighed loudly, letting his hand drop against the arm of his throne in irritation. “I’ve heard enough – if you can’t pay your taxes, then you’ll simply have to work off your debt! Guards, take him away!”

“Father, you’re only supposed to observe,” Vegin hissed. “Remember?”

“But your Highness, please! My family – without me, they’ll starve!”

Tol stared at his son, disbelief etched on his face as shock quickly replaced his anger. “I’ll deal with you in a moment,” he said, glaring daggers at Vegin, who rose from his seat and stormed out of the room. “As for you,” he bellowed, returning his attention to the old farmer, “you should have thought of your family before you decided not to pay your taxes. If they die, you’ll have only yourself to blame.”

He dismissed the guards who had appeared at the man’s sides with a wave of his hand. As Tol rose from his throne, he caught his wife’s eye and she leaped to her feet. At least someone jumps at my command, he thought. “Come, Enya!”


  1. I like that you start with a scene that is going to give us a great view of your characters.

    I got confused in the second to the last paragraph because that first sentence is really long. I had a hard time following what was being said to whom. I also think you could tighten up some of your wording here, but I don't know if you've worded things the way you have to capture a particular style.

    I'm also a little concerned that I'm not sure who I'm supposed to be following yet. I understand that it's the first page, but I sort of would like to know if I'm supposed to be on Vegin's side or not. Clearly his father is a bit of a ham-handed ruler, but is Vegin really the protag? If so, try to give us a little more reason to feel for him when his father takes his power.

    I can see a lot of potential here, so keep at it.

  2. I thought the writing was exceptional. Very vivid and immediate which allowed me to be instantly placed in the scene. My one problem came with the shift (or what I perceived to be the shift) in POV from Vegin to Tol. It would seem that if is from Tol's POV then the opening would be more the father's observing of the son and his handling. As it is, it seems like we start with Vegin but rapidly shift to Tol. This was a bit jarring to me.

  3. Ooh, I love father-son dynamics. And we immediately see some basic conflict that will be played out. Your descriptions are vivid and the dialogue flows naturally. I agree that there are a couple of POV issues -- in the first four paras, since it starts with 'Vegin considered...' it appears to be in Vegin's POV.
    But then it abruptly switches to the king's when we are told that Tol's anger quickly turns to shock. Would be better to make it clear from the start we are in Tol's POV. Also - would Tol be aware of the expressions etched on his face? Otherwise, nice job!

  4. I like the conflict you've set up here. Vegin is sympathetic and I always love a fantasy novel with a son fighting against his tyrannical father.

    But I didn't find myself immediately drawn into Vegin's story. Partly I think that's because the first sentence is distancing ("Vegin considered"). I'd rather start deeper in his POV, with, "The farmer was begging for mercy. Tears carved grooves through the layer of grime on his face" and then show us what he said before Vegin makes his decision. That lets us see more of Vegin's thought process. I'd also like to feel more of Vegin's irritation with his father. Right now this feels a little dry to me -- but it's a good start and there's clearly an interesting story here.

  5. I love how by the end of this, I know so much about the father, the son, and what the book is going to be about. It was a little jarring to read "Vegin considered..." and assume the POV was from Vegin, then realize later it was actually from Tol's POV. It would have been nice to have that clear from the very first sentence.

  6. I'd probably read on more just because I'm a sucker for Fantasy stories.

    That said, the first line I could do without. Maybe open with: Tears carved grooves through the layers of dirt on the farmer's face as he begged for mercy.

    Also, it took me a second glance to figure out that Vegin was the prince and Tol was the king. There could be a better way to introduce their titles.

    I liked the conflict of the father and son but thought the prince must've been very just coming of age...since his judgement was under question. But by the end of the selection, I'm confused if Vegin is married or if it's Tol I'm hearing. Whose POV am I following? The beginning made me think it would be Vegin (hence the confusion at the last paragraph) but then I read the internal thoughts of whoever's wife leaped to her feet.

    So, am I hooked? At least for a few more pages. :)

  7. I agree that the jump from Vegin to Tol was jarring. I don't know who's story I'm supposed to be following. I would guess Vegin since he is the more sympathetic character, but he leaves the scene almost immediately, and I stuck with his father.

    ALso, my first thought when I saw the word Vegin was vegetarian, and that's where my mind went. It's probably just me.

  8. I agree with the others. POV switches, long sentences, and confusing characterization keep this from being an exceptional story.

    Keep at it though and it will be.

  9. I think everyone else has hit the nail on the head - the switching POVs are distracting. This sort of thing is more common in fantasy than other genres, but not in such a short section. Also watch with your dialogue. After Vegin 'hisses', I am expecting his father to be the one who responds since there is no speech tag or description of action on the farmer's part. Simple fix.

    I would definitely read farther - you have a classic fantasy setup here and I am interested in where it is going.

  10. I like the father son conflict going on here but the pov switch was jarring and made for some confusion during that sudden transition. I'd prefer to get deeper into the Vegin's pov for a while before switching to the father.

  11. Others have already discussed the POV, so I'll skip that. I think what's exciting about what you've got here is that I can see it going in a lot of different possible directions, and I definitely want to know which direction you chose. Whenever I start a book like this, I'm always hoping for something fresh and different. So I'm anxious to read more.
    I also like that although the king comes off as tyrannical and unsympathetic to his subject's plights, he also seems a bit impotent in the last paragraph. That sets up an interesting dynamic between the coming-into-power son and failing-power father.
    Great job!

  12. Seems interesting. I have 3 points.

    1. Just a suggestion, right after the "hissed" sentence, add.

    At the same time the peasant pleaded "But your Highness...etc"

    2. I've noticed that everyone is complaining about your POV switch. I personally do not have an issue following along. However, it seems that others do. I do not see an easy way to switch from Vegans view to Tols with out making it unnecessarily wordy. Maybe research some easy POV switch phrases you could use in case no one else offers any.

    3. I agree with Barbara. I really don't care for the name Vegin. =-) but that is personal taste.

    I would definitely read more.