Wednesday, May 15, 2013

May Secret Agent #41

GENRE: YA Fantasy

Taking in a slow breath, Liko crouched and slowly made her way towards the edge of the doorway before peeking out. The door was in the back of the Imperia’s briefing room, one of three, all with hanging beads in front of them instead of doors.

The building was a mansion made of marble with heavy oak doors carved with runes. Why Imperia Catherine chose to have beads hanging in her doorways instead of the matching doors was beyond Liko. The beads made small tunes whenever they clinked together, making Liko’s nerves tense.

This particular door was only used by the Imperia’s guards who were dismissed for briefings. And at this particular briefing was Nayeeshi and Tarin.

Liko could see the two of them and the Imperia standing in front of her desk. A coffee press sat on the desk next to an oversized mug, still steaming. Papers and ink pots were strewn over the surface. Liko could smell the coffee from the far end of the room; a nutty, chocolaty aroma, with a hint of hazelnut. The Imperia lived off that stuff.

The Imperia’s back was to her, but Nayeeshi and Tarin were facing forward. Her brother stood stone straight, the only thing that ruined his perfect appearance was that mop of black hair he refused anyone to touch. Tarin on the other hand, made looking like he rolled out of bed a form of art.

“Nayeeshi, you’ll be going alone on this one.” Said Imperia Catherine.


  1. I'm intrigued. I like the snooping sister aspect that we have going one here. I'm wondering what mission Nayeeshi is being sent on, and how the Liko's going to get involved int it.

    The only thing is that this is a little wordy in the beginning. I'd mention the beaded doorway at the end of the first sentence as in ".... peeking out between the beads" or something along those lines to instantly set it up.

    The info about the doors/doorways kind of detracts from the real action of her brother's assignment here, but I'd definitely read on. Best of luck!

  2. I'd tack some extra information into the sentence "And at this particular briefing was Nayeeshi and Tarin."

    Because of the odd names the gender isn't clear, and it isn't until the second to the last paragraph that I know Nayeeshi is male, and which one of the two is her brother.

    "He refused anyone to touch" is a bit awkward.

    Both just nitpicks.

    "...made looking like he rolled out of bed a form of art." Nice!

    I'd want to keep reading as it looks like some adventurous mission is in the offing!

  3. I'm not sure why the whole first three paragraphs are spent describing the doors. Then the next paragraph is all about the coffee. Sorry - but so far there is nothing on this first page to entice me to read on.

  4. I wasn't sure which character was the brother. When you introduce four characters on the first page, it's a lot for the reader to sort out. If the detailed descriptions of the doors foreshadow part of the story later on, then okay, otherwise, it's too much description.

  5. I felt there was just too much time spent describing the beans and the coffee, and not enough describing what's going on.

    I would advise having your last sentence here be one of your first three sentences, instead. Everything else can be described as we listen to the conversation.

    Your goal isn't to have a cliffhanger at the end of the first page. It's to have one at the end of the first paragraph, if not the first sentence.

  6. Despite the heavy description, I liked the voice in the writing, and the intrigue and snooping. I would read on.

  7. I was ok with the description- maybe you could tone it down a little, but I liked that I could really picture where she was hiding and what she was seeing while she snooped. My interest is definitely piqued by the secret mission, but I agree with the others that I'd like to know who the people are when they're names are first introduced. Really great job!

  8. Hmmm... not sure about this one. Perhaps the large number of passive sentences threw me a little. (eg, 'this particular door was only used by...').

  9. Your first line grabbed me but then I got lost in Liko's purpose. There's a lot of descrition that does hold me to Liko. Tighten and I want to read more.

  10. I like this scene--younger sister sneaking around in the palace. Lots of sensory detail to engage us.

    You could tighten it up by removing extraneous words and narrative distance. For instance:

    "Taking in a slow breath, Liko crouched and slowly made her way towards the edge of the doorway before peeking out." You've used "slow" twice in one sentence, neither of which is necessary. You can chop a lot of words and give us a more immediate story. Compare:

    "Taking in a breath, Liko creeped toward the doorway and peeked out."

    An example of narrative distance: "Liko could see..." Just tell us what she saw and cut the "could see" part.

  11. Could be interesting but I have a lot of questions. Who is Liko, why is she in the briefing room, why does she want to see out, why don’t Nayeeshi and Tarin see her sneaking around, and what’s the big deal about the mission? I can’t picture where everybody and everything is. I think it would make much more sense if she’s peeking into the room instead of out.

    1st para: Delete “Taking in a slow breath” and get right to Liko crouching. I’d put “…which made small tunes whenever they clinked together, making Liko’s nerves tense” at the end of the first paragraph.

    2nd para: Suggest tightening: “Why Imperia Catherine insisted on beads in her doorways instead of the oak doors carved with runes found elsewhere in the marble mansion was beyond Liko.” Me, too. I assume she wanted to hear if someone came in, but people would also be able to eavesdrop.

    3rd para: Attach to 2nd para. Did you mean dismissed DURING briefings?

    4th para: Delete “Liko could see” and just say “Her brother, Nayeeshi, and Tarin stood in front of…” “…the surface” sounds like it refers to the coffee press, the subject in the prev sentence, or the mug. Coffee press and mug sound current but papers and ink pots don’t. These details slow the action anyway.

    (Sorry, I'm not a fantasy reader and could be slow on the uptake.)

  12. I'd recommend spending more time in these opening paragraphs introducing us to Liko--who she is and what she wants--and less detail on the doorways and coffee.

    If we know Liko a bit better, it will be less confusing when we meet Nayeeshi and Tarin, because we might have a better idea of her relationship to them and why she is spying on their meeting. Otherwise, the jumble of four characters of whom we know very little is very confusing in these first few paragraphs.