Friday, November 28, 2014

(39) YA Fantasy: DARK CORE

GENRE: YA Fantasy

Reincarnation's a bigger bitch than the goddess hell-bent on killing Saekina, but if she doesn't find a way to defeat an immortal, this life could be her last.

Saekina tucked into the darkness.

Moon orbs lined the cracked, cobbled streets, their weak glow casting long, crawling shadows along the barren buildings.

No one was coming. Good.

She ducked into the alley near the hotel’s rusted door, and passed dumpsters overflowing with rotted food and used magical charms. She ignored the repugnant scent—she’d smelled worse.

Saekina brushed a strand of dark hair behind her ear. Even at this time of night the heat clung to her skin, creating a layer of sweat. Then again, even the cooler seasons in Dennin were sweltering.

Her stomach grumbled, reminding her of her hunger. But after tonight, she'd be able to eat for days. Information on slavers never failed to earn at least a gold coin. Bounty hunters would rip each other apart for the info.

Saekina cast a few furtive glances towards the end of the alley before pulling the dented door open. She shuffled past the hotel’s owner.

He looked up from behind his desk with a bored expression. He scratched at his balding head, dandruff flakes spilling onto his shoulders. "You again.”

Saekina slipped him the usual payment. He’d invested a lot in making his hotel safe for less-than-legal operations. Plenty of back entrances and large vents hidden by glamours. I’ll have to drop this place before he gets figured out. I don’t want to be here when people realize he’s playing both sides. “We good?”

He counted the coins before adding them to his purse. "As long as the money keeps coming."


  1. I have no idea what happened to my comment (maybe blogger ate it?), but the general gist if it doesn't end up posting was a) I'm definitely intrigued, and b) there's no need to use her name more than once in this extract.

    Good luck!

  2. I love the title and log line.

    I agree with Tamara this opening scene is intriguing. It has good tension.

    I had just one minor quibble. The moon "orbs" stopped me. Perhaps because I can't visualize an orb. Maybe a moon globe?

  3. I would agree with Tamara that you've overused your MC's name a bit in this opening. But otherwise, I love your sense of setting. I can really feel the world you've created. I'm also not sure what moon orbs are, but I assumed something like street lamps. For me, they conjured up a really cool image so I'd say keep them.

    Good luck in the auction!

  4. I really liked this! I would keep reading.
    I don't have much to say other than nitpikcy stuff (i agree that there was a high useage of her name)
    I did think the short paragraphs made the excerpt feel choppy and rushed, but i couldn't be sure that wasn't what you were going for. If not, maybe try to combine two? It would smooth things out a lot.

    Good luck in the auction!

  5. I really like this! It's got great tension. I think that the short paragraphs are what help create the tension and a sense of mystery.

    Good luck!

  6. Yes, I too was rereading her name and going, we hear it a lot. And even a lot of he's and she's, you might try to edit around without so many.

    And the first word, tucked, did you mean ducked?

    Either way, I love a good fantasy, and yours had me interested.

  7. Hi there!

    First off, I love the logline. Simple and gripping.

    On the opening: "tucked into the darkness" is an awkward description for the opening line. I'm not sure I know what that looks like, so I would opt for something stronger.

    I'd also watch repetitive sentence structures. The vast majority of the lines on this page start with: [Name/pronoun] + [verb]
    Saekina tucked...
    She ducked...
    She ignored...
    Saekina brushed...
    Saekina cast...
    He looked up...
    He counted...

    That aside, there's some really good lines and sensory descriptions in this opening.


  8. I thought you created a nice atmosphere here, as well as a good sense of place.

    For some reason, I got caught up in where the door was in relation to the alley. Originally, I thought she passed the door and entered the alley. Later it seemed like she went into the alley to the door. After several reads, I'm still not sure, but then, I'm not sure if it even matters.

    You could combine some of the sentences into larger pargs. As someone stated, it has a choppy feel to it and made me feel like I was reading an easy reader.

    I'd also suggest switching pargs 1 and 2. Let us know about the light first, that way she has a reason to tuck into the dark.

    In parg 4, you might replace 'ducked' with something else, just so you don't have 'she tucked' and 'she ducked' so close together.

    You could cut parg 5 entirely, and maybe even parg 6.

  9. This pitch is fantastic--short and sweet!

    I don't have much to add. I think what others have said about varying sentence structure and reducing the number of times you use her name are good suggestions. I think you've done a good job grounding the reader in the setting and showing her hunger and what she plans to do about it. There's definite tension as we're left waiting to see if she'll get caught.

    Good luck!

  10. I love the voice in the logline - it's so sassy and fun. You set up a really vivid world and a compelling character here for sure.

    I'll second all of the aforementioned advice about cutting down the name mentions and changing up the sentence structure.

    I wanted a little bit of clarification about where Saekina was meeting the hotel owner. Since he's sitting at a desk, I immediately thought of the front/check-in desk - even though I imagine they're meeting privately, considering the very sneaky nature of the whole setup. So, adding just a couple more details more could clear this up.

    Intriguing start, and I would definitely keep reading to learn more about this vengeful goddess and the reincarnation themes... Good luck!

  11. I don't normally read this genre, but your title and logline intrigued me so I read on. I'm not going to echo the advice above-- you've heard it enough. I just wanted to add one tiny suggestion. You say "Her stomach rumbled, reminding her she was hungry." I don't think you need the second half of that sentence. A stomach rumbling is a clear indication that she's hungry and then the next sentence clarifies even more. Other than that I thought you did great!

    Good luck on Tuesday!

  12. Like many of the above comments, the repetitive sentence structure jumped out at me.

    I also found the excerpt heavy with description which slowed it down -
    cracked, cobbled streets
    weak glow
    long, crawling shadows
    hotel's rusted door
    dark hair
    furtive glances
    dented door
    bored expression
    balding head
    This is personal taste, as I'm not a descriptive reader and find myself slogging through pages like this to get to the action.

    Good luck!