Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January Secret Agent #6

TITLE: Justice Unending
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Faye swung her legs and looked over the edge of the world.

There weren't many places in the Bastion that could see over the wall. No one lived against it, only the soldiers walked outside, and even the tallest buildings turned their windows the other way. There was nothing in the Wilds but suffering, after all, and civilized souls didn't gloat over other people's misery.

Faye tried to be civilized, though there were times—which happened with only mildly shocking frequency—when she fell a little short. But she lived only one mile and one pretty park south of the wall, and it was amazing that she had never tried to look beyond it. Once she realized this, she spent a whole week climbing up the trees, balancing on branches, and scraping her knees until she found a tree tall enough to show her the world beyond.

It wasn't much to look at.

All she saw were the same broad-leafed maples that grew on this side of the wall. That was the point, Faye supposed. There was nothing in the Wilds—no towns, no roads, and no laws. Just nature and nothingness. There were people, but they didn't come near the Bastion. They were off living in caves or huddling in bushes, or doing whatever it was they did.

Faye swung her feet, letting the wind run over them. Her enthusiasm was dying. At this rate she was going to have to admit she was only here because she didn't want to go home.


  1. Hrm. I can see where you're going with this - the question is "What is beyond the wall". And you introduce the character well, but I'm sort's falling short, and I wish I could work out exactly how it's falling short.

    I might make it a bit more obvious that she's hiding from something at home, depending on what that something is. Again, the first line is good (half of these entries have great first lines, at least amongst the ones I've looked at - I've been trying to pick people who don't have comments yet). I think the issue may actually be the second and third paragraphs being a little bit info-dumpy.

  2. This feels more dystopian or post-apocalyptic than fantasy. I do like the first line but I also want to know why she doesn't want to go home. I like that she spent a week climbing trees to find the right one then didn't see anything different. What are her feelings about this? Was she hoping she'd see other people? A better world? I need more despair from her. Great premise though. I love these types of books. Good luck!

  3. You have some really great writing in this first page, I can almost feel the wind on my own legs. :)

    I would also agree with the others that I miss a touch of conflict or more emotion. Maybe the final line is beginning to hint at it, but I think it could be better if it was even stronger. The line "Her enthusiasm was dying" actually made me less interested, because it seemed so passive, so it might be good to cut it. Good luck!

  4. I think where some of the others might be coming from is the second paragraph. It sort of sets it up as dystopian with the "suffering" and separation via the wall.

    I get the idea she's young and right on the cusp of something bigger, especially given the fact that she's realizing things for the first time--there's something beyond the wall--but I feel like something is missing. Perhaps it's the emotion others have mentioned. My recommendation? And take this how you will...get rid of some of the world building. I *love* your world building--it's vivid--but I think seeing it a little later might help us connect with the MC sooner.

  5. Thanks, everyone! Author here. Thanks oodles for all your thoughtful comments! I think I have a crystal clear idea how to rework this after looking through these comments (and all the other stories I commented on in this contest.) I obviously need to stay in the character's head, with her and her emotions (and her personality!) I got a bit sidetracked by the wall there.

  6. Nice first sentence, and then you immediately let readers know they are in another world. Good job.

    I think you're missing a word or two in the second sentence. Right now it reads as if the 'places' could see over the wall. I think you mean: There weren't many places in the Bastion WHERE A PERSON could see over the wall.

    I admit I felt a little deflated at the end when it turned out there was really nothing to see. Is this really the best place to begin? Is the real conflict in your story at Faye's home? What if you began with her fleeing home and making for the wall, knowing she isn't allowed there. Might add some action and excitement.

    I am intrigued at the idea of people living beyond the wall, but is Faye intrigued? I would keep reading to find out. Add a bit more action and I think you'll be on your way to a more compelling story.

  7. Went back and read the other comments. I agree it reads more like dystopian than fantasy.

  8. It feels a bit like you’re trying to tell us about Faye and this world on page one, rather than showing us. Because of this, your opening page is a bit quieter than it could be, as there isn’t something to grab us straight away. I also don’t feel like I’m connected to Faye or get a taste of her personality, and would like to see more emotion or action from her as an MC, rather than sitting and observing. It seems like The Wall is setting up something that could lean dystopian or towards your fantasy genre (like “The Wall” in Game of Thrones) depending on its purpose.