Wednesday, January 23, 2019

January Secret Agent #39

TITLE: The King's 100
GENRE: YA Science Fiction/Romance

After our parents died, I learned to handle my relationship with my sister the same way I handled a glass microscope slide - with as few fingerprints as possible and an irrational fear that one misstep would shatter everything. When I approached her office door, a voice spoke from speakers embedded inside my ears. “Princess Piper, it’s time for you to review your match details. Queen Evelyn sent me an alert to remind you at the this hour.”

“Thanks, Chip. I just need to talk to her about something first.”

A blue glow from the underside of my left wrist indicated that Chip was processing my words and communicating with my sister’s own Bio-System. “Dottie informs me that Queen Evelyn is currently busy.”

I sighed. “Chip, she’s always busy.”

Footsteps pounded behind me and I turned to see a patrol officer passing by.

“Princess Piper, your heart rate has accelerated and you’re not participating in aerobic activity. I suggest you return to your room to review your-”

“Chip, do me a favor and go silent for the next twenty minutes or so, ok?”

“Yes, Princess.”

I didn’t need Chip’s voice in addition to my own voice in my head, urging me to abort my mission. The metal door slid open as a service droid exited Evelyn’s office. I stepped through the threshold before it closed again. I tilted my chin down. “Your majesty.”

“What do you want, Piper?” asked my sister. Her office smelled like copper and mint.


  1. I think starting with "I'd learned to...." would be better than automatically mentioning dead parents, simply because this is a better view into the relationship we're being introduced to. But I do like the snippets of world building we get here!

  2. I love your first sentence, but I think it could hook even more if you tightened it up just a bit. Maybe something along the lines of “After our parents died, I handles my relationship with my sister the same way I handled a microscope slide—with few fingerprints and the fear that one misstep would shatter everything.”

    I had a little trouble orienting myself in the scene. Partly because I wasn’t sure who the “her” in the second sentence was referring to, and partly because some of the characters are talking in Piper's ear piece. Just a little more blocking would help establish and clarify who is present in the scene and make it easier for me to picture as a reader. To me, you lose more in the way of clarity than you gain in suspense by withholding the fact that Queen Evelyn = sister until the last sentence of the 250. I’d be more interested to know that up front.

    I love the sci-fi fantasy blend here. I’ve been craving a story that mixes sci-fi tech with fantasy tropes. Best of luck :)

  3. I like the first line. This is all good. Only question I had was about the patrol officer passing and her heart pounding. I thought it was because she likes him, but then it seemed she was just nervous to go talk to her sister. If it's the guard, could he have a name? Could he nod at her as he passes by? If it's not because of the guard, I wonder why he's included at all. No doubt you have your reason, I just hope it becomes clear soon. Keep it up! You've got a great start here!

  4. I liked the first line a lot, although I agree with JHem that it would be even better with the "after our parents died".

    Also I think this would benefit from some idea of the setting here, we don't get anything until the smell of the sister's office but other than that I have no idea where we are. A spaceship? An office building? It would be nice to just have some hints sprinkled in so they aren't standing in a blank space.

  5. I definitely a sense of the relationship between her and her sister. I also hear the voice quite well and already have some clues about her and the story. And I like the futuristic features mentioned. I think there is some word choice that could be tightened up (e.g. voice is repeated and the 'spoke from speakers' seems redundant) but overall good start. (The combo of mint and copper is interesting, makes me curious;)

  6. Really great start! I don’t think the first paragraph is very strong, but the rest is super intriguing. “Princess Piper” and “Queen Evelyn” sounds a little cheesy. I’d hold off on saying either of their names until later on when she’s outside Evelyn’s office and her sister says her name. It would make more sense for the robot to just say “princess” and “the queen wishes” anyway. I think saving the reveal that the queen is actually her sister until the “asked my sister” moment will pack a much bigger punch.
    Sounds like an SF Frozen, great hook.

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