Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Grab My Heart #17

GENRE: YA Fantasy

A young seamstress works for pennies in an impoverished town bordering the Forgotten Forest. When the infamous Monk within the forest, discovers her magic, he strikes a deal with her to train with him. Arwei studies with two other students and realizes the Mage isn't who he appears to be. 

Arwei narrowed her eyes and widened them, trying to discern why there were so many various colored auras in the marketplace that afternoon. The light was blinding from the yellow orb in the sky and the scent of burning bread wafted through the air.

What was it that her stepmother had wanted her to pick up so desperately for that evening? Surely not Papa’s medicine. Arwei winced as she remembered how her stepmother had forgotten that her Father had run out of his herbs for his ailments. The doctors were not sure what Kinton had but they said he was not faring well and absolutely needed it. She remembered the stern voice of the doctor who peered down at them with raven eyes.  “If he does not get his medicine he will die within the month.”

           Arwei peered down the street, her thoughts elsewhere. The market of Shaolin was bustling that afternoon. Red-faced delivery boys raced through the throngs of people, their packages held high above their little heads.

Strange accents wrapped around her ears, slipping past her in silken robes the color of emerald. The neighboring town's inhabitants were there. Great. There would be plenty of street fights later.

"Scuse me Madam!"

 She peered to her left where a toothy old man winked at her. "What do you say you help an old man with a trick?" In his hands were dusty painted cards with symbols of the moon, sun, and dove.
"Not another mage's trick," Arwei waved her hand in the air between them, frowning.


  1. I think you need to disclose a little more of the threat of the Mage in your pitch than simply his identity. He can be a benevolent Gandalf and that wouldn't make the story interesting. Otherwise it's well carved.
    "What was it that her stepmother had wanted her to pick up so desperately for that evening? Surely not Papa’s medicine." This seems a little forced. You can save words by deleting this and the next line conveys the same information.

    Not hooked yet but I would read on a bit more to see if the old man was of any interest.

  2. I think the pitch can be re-worded to flow better. Try putting the MC's name at the opening, before young seamstress. Is the Monk and the Mage the same person - maybe clarify that. Your opening paragraphs are compelling but I think can be switched around some. The descriptive paragraphs about the marketplace should all be at the beginning, then have the MC start to think about what her stepmother wanted her to get. Another thing I noticed was how quickly the MC thought about this, really fleeting, then thought about her father's medicine and possible imminent death. Two things stuck out: there is no details about the step-mother (does she like her?) one word can change the reader's perception about a character. Second, she didn't seem too concerned about her father's death. Maybe these things are only mildly touched on here for a reason. But if these things are keys to the plot, I would beef them up more. The angle about her father is a perfect opportunity to grab the reader's heart strings and create empathy. Good luck with your work!