Monday, May 16, 2016

Are You Hooked? Adult Genre Fiction #30

TITLE: Dusk Dealers and the White Water Sacraments
GENRE: NA - Urban Fantasy

Arilyn, an angel banished from heaven and damned to darkness, awakens from a century’s long slumber to find herself linked to mysterious warriors and a prophesy they must destroy. Plagued by lost memories and why God locked her away, Arilyn must uncover her unknown past or become a martyr for evil.

            Kensington Pier looked like a dead land.

            Mere hours before, city folk filtered in and out of the carnival strip. Now closed and deserted, the grounds were swept spic and span. Even the forest behind the carnival looked especially dim under its green layout. Nothing but blessed darkness resided. Just the way she liked it.

            Arilyn grinned as she dropped down from the merry-go-round. Her charcoal boots barely made a sound as she dashed toward the Ferris wheel. She sprang over the gates and slithered through the intricate web of beams like a wiry feline. The curved scimitars marking an X on her back clanked in her haste. She chuckled lowly. Arilyn’s grandfather had always deemed her a tigress. If he could see her now, he’d likely have a conniption and demand she climb down.

            In one final weave, she heaved her body upward and landed onto a now swinging cart. The squeaking noise pierced the night air. That’s when she heard it. The rumbling in the wind — like a quake beneath the trees. The screeching whistle — more like a painful whine. Nature had nothing to do with those sounds and they hadn’t come from Arilyn’s mouth. In fact, slyness tugged at her crimson stained lips as a familiar melody escaped her throat.

             Nursery rhymes were such good tunes … especially before a killing.

            “Don’t be shy.” Arilyn whispered. Her voice harbored a deathly chill. Graceful, yet riddled with blades that could slice through stone. “I’ve waited so long to kill again.”


  1. The logline leaves me with some unanswered questions. Why are the warriors mysterious? How does one destroy a prophecy? What kind of prophecy are we dealing with? Why is her past unknown? As it is, I think the logline is too vague although it has all the right pieces!

    The prose is a bit unnatural -- use of adverbs like 'lowly' and word packages like 'harbored a deathly chill' and 'tugged... at her lips' are the cause, I believe. Consider paring down the style a bit and removing some unnecessary adverbs and adjectives and be very critical about what metaphors you use. The character herself seems fun to be with, and I'd happily spend more time reading about her. Good luck!

  2. I agree, and I would also be inclined to bring Arilyn in on the first line -- make it clear who's eyes we're seeing this place through right away -- "Kensington Pier looked like a dead land, just the way Arilyn liked it."

  3. I'm a bit confused by this. An angel has a grandfather? She's locked away, but awakes from a slumber? And some of the lines don't really make sense to me "riddled with knives" seems odd. I don't have a good feel for the protagonist.

  4. I suspect you have a groovy concept in here, but the logline isn't doing it a lot of favors. Fallen angels with murky pasts, mysterious warriors, and dangerous prophesies tickle at some cool intrigue if you fill in the blanks with what makes Arilyn and her story unique. You give her some fun moments to shine in the excerpt, so there are distinctive elements to mine and show why she's compelling.

    I agree with Leo 100% on the opening sentence. That would give you the right mood, add a slice of personality for your MC, plus give your readers a recognizable POV.

    The sample has some great hooky bits. Nursery rhymes before a killing is an especially wicked touch. If you can increase the impact with something stronger than "good", it'd lend it even more punch.

    Overall, though, it feels a little writer-y to me, lending to some passages not imparting as much story and meaning as sound and style. "Graceful, yet riddled with blades that could slice through stone," is one of the stronger examples that felt off to me.

    Mind, I'm a bit of a pedant (a raging one *heh*), so describing a voice in terms that don't really directly relate to its qualities will yank me out of a story pretty quickly.

    There are a few other examples of phrasing that felt a little off: "Nothing but blessed darkness resided" sounds kind of cool. Only, resided should have a location to define it, even if it's just "there". The feline slither, scimitars marking her back, the weave before heaving, and squeak piercing the air have the same odd feel to me.

    It may be me. Others may love that style of prose. That's the best part about subjectivity.

    You have good instincts for what sounds groovy, plus the promise of a cool premise here. Thanks for sharing your story. I hope you do well with it.