Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April Secret Agent #39

TITLE: The Nano-magic Adept
GENRE: Science Fiction/Fantasy

The idea was to stun them before the ruffians did something stupid. But, the local rojammers were always doing something stupid.

Gella slipped past the people running through the cobblestone square and moved close to the ale house column, peering around the corner. Three rojammers were in view. A smile came to her face as she surveyed the scene. No large gang today.

A small man in herders leathers lay on the ground. Blood dripped from his mouth onto the lamb cradled in his arms. Blood stained his clothes.

The rojammers were always bullying the bumpkins passing through the city. You would think with all that magical talent they would find something useful to do. Rojammers and all adepts were kids too really. But it was the young who could work magic. It was up to the Archons to protect the elders who could no longer work in magic.

Two of the gang stood over the man. They glanced around, knowing time was short before either the watch or an Archon would happen by.

"You must pay the fine for drinking." The bigger rojammer bellowed, and he cast a quick look at the lamb.

"If you're lucky", The other rojammer, probably the youngest, his voice soothing, like the smoothest Capona wine.

"Give the lamb... and we forget it."

That would be Carn, rumor has it he is powerful in magic, thought Gella.

Gella tapped her Archon neck amulet. The amulet hummed and a chime sounded in her head.


  1. I liked the hinted premise of your opening, and would read more because I'm a fan of SF/F and am nosy like that about worldbuilding.

    However, I do think the opening could be pared down. There were some sentences that came across as omniscient/the narrator speaking directly to the reader that I could do without.

    For example 'Rojammers and all adepts were kids too really'.

    It might be a way to slip in information about the world, and maybe this is just my opinion but I don't mind being thrown in the deep end in new worlds-.

    I would rather see things through Gella's eyes directly than be told facts by a narrator.

  2. Too much confusing info. Ruffians are rojammers, and rojammers and adepts are magicians, but they're kids, too, because only the young can work magic yet there's nothing magical happening. And then there are the elders and the Archon. I'm lost. Where does Gelia fit into all this?

  3. Interesting premise! There's a bit too much going on here for me to wrap my head around, I'm afraid. We've got rojammer, bumpkins, and adepts. I'm a bit lost. And please do take care to make sure your punctuation's in order (commas go inside quotation marks) and that you've proofread (one of your dialogue tags is missing a verb). It's hard for agents to get "hooked" if we're distracted by typos and such.

  4. I am totally confused! Too many new words/new things all up front for me.
    I am not big SF fan, and haven't read much in that genre, so it's possible that others would have an easier time.
    I was intrigued by the bloody bumpkin and the mention of gangs; you've definitely introduced high tension right off the bat.
    For me, it would be helpful to be led a little more slowly into the world here.

  5. I saw some craft issues here I think need to be addressed with a good line edit. For example, "Rojammers and all adepts were kids too really.' needs some commas. "That would be Carn, rumor has it he is powerful in magic, thought Gella." needs them changed to more solid breaks, like periods, quotes, or semicolons.

    But these are minor issues. There are other sources of confusion too. For example, you refer to the antagonists as 'they', then 'ruffians', then 'rojammers'. I'd recommend calling them what they are, then describe them as ruffians, and then use the pronoun they.

    I like where you start, though. It seems like something interesting is happening, and the result of this will reveal a lot about your character. Just make sure this isn't a throwaway episode and what happens in this scene actually has an effect on the rest of the story, instead of just being a 'day in the life of Gella'.

  6. As others have pointed out, this passage needs a good edit for punctuation and grammar.

    Setting that aside, I think a couple of small changes could have fixed some of the confusion readers are experiencing:

    In the first sentence, you have a pronoun with no antecedent. We don't know who "them" refers to. I think the first paragraph would be much easier to follow if it were rewritten as:
    The idea was to stun the rojammers before they did something stupid. But those ruffians were always doing something stupid.

    The second problem is that Gella's role in the scene is unclear. You tell us about Archons, and then at the very end Gella touches an Archon amulet, but I had to read this several times before I understood that she was an Archon and it was her job to stun the rojammers. I would look for a way to say that upfront. Then we would know that she is more than just a concerned bystander and the explanation about what Archons do would have relevance that it currently lacks.

  7. I'm afraid I was also too confused by all the new terms to really get hooked into the story. But I liked the strong female lead sneaking up on the small gang of bad guys.

  8. Yes, if you could simplify the scene a little without the backstory, or maybe start with her coming upon the situation rather than in the middle of her acting on it, I think we'd be less confused.