TITLE: Bloodlines - The
GENRE: YA Historical Fantasy
30th September, 1509
Serena wanted to run…
The hourglass, standing on the altar stone in the centre of the clearing, threw back a glimmer of moonlight.
“Take the glass,” the witch instructed. “Turn it once and see that you have controlled time.”
It felt like ice in Serena’s trembling hand as she turned it. Beneath the surface the rushing sands of time slowed to a trickle and were still.
Serena fumbled in her cloak pocket, reassuring herself that the second hourglass was tucked inside. Though it was her last remaining hope, there was no guarantee she could deliver it into the right hands and every chance that to try would be to walk into a trap.
Perhaps I have already, Serena swallowed dryly, fighting a wave of nausea. Such a betrayal, even if she survived it, would cost thousands of lives and rob her of her children… again.
“Alasdair,” the witch continued, “you too must control the passing of moments.”
Serena glanced at her husband, whose eyes, like hers, were wet. Alasdair turned the hourglass and passed it back to the witch. Then his hand found Serena’s and their fingers intertwined as they embraced this final, physical memory together. In marrying him, Serena had bound him to this fate. She wore her guilt like an open wound.
The witch smashed the glass upon the sacrificial rock and gathered a handful of ghostly white sand.
“Your palm,” she said softly. Serena raised it. Without warning, agony shot through her body.
A note from the writer - The line 'Perhaps I have already' should be in italics as it's a thought. Enjoy : )ReplyDelete
Love it, and I don't even read fantasy. The only thing I was stuck on was the fact that she's hiding a second hourglass under her cloak. I has to reread the beginning a few times to make sure I didn't miss anything.ReplyDelete
I really liked these sentences: "Then his hand found Serena’s and their fingers intertwined as they embraced this final, physical memory together. In marrying him, Serena had bound him to this fate. She wore her guilt like an open wound." Love it!:)
That was really good. Nothing I can see that needs changing. Great premise and really draws you in!ReplyDelete
I loved most of this, especially the relationship with her husband and the separation that's bound to occur.ReplyDelete
I don't love your opening line: "Serena wanted to run..." That could be the opening to any story. I'd think about omitting that line or changing it to something specific about the premise of your story.
I'd take out "in the centre of the clearing" from that early-on sentence and add the centre of the clearing somewhere else (maybe the witch is standing next to the altar in the centre of the clearing). It's just a little too much to absorb in that sentence. Mainly I'm just trying to absorb the fact that there's an altar and an hourglass and figure out how the two are connected (which I love and you don't need to explain just yet).
I'd definitely introduce Serena before your witch. Perhaps your opening line can be something about Serena kneeling at the altar, staring at the hourglass, knowing it held her fate, etc. You never mention where Serena and her husband or the witch are in relation to this altar.
"Though it was her last remaining hope, there was no guarantee she could deliver it into the right hands and every chance that to try would be to walk into a trap." This sentence was a lot to absorb and a little confusing as worded...especially the last part, starting with "and every chance". Maybe you could state it simpler: "...deliver it into the right hands before someone tried to kill her for it" (or whatever the real risk is).
It's unclear what you're talking about when you say "such a betrayal." It sounds like you're referring to walking into a trap, which doesn't make sense. You need to clarify you're talking about what Serena's about to do right now (at least that's what I think you mean to be referring to).
I've heard some agents/editors say they don't like the term "without warning," which says the same thing as "suddenly" (another word they don't like). Perhaps you could omit that or add in what the witch does to cause the pain. Does the witch make a spell-like motion with her finger or something?
You nailed the emotional connection between your MC and the reader, especially with that bit about her husband, hands intertwined, etc.
I would read this book. Nice work!
This first 250 sets a good tone. In general, I liked it. Plants a couple nice morsels for the reader ("rob her of her children...again", in marrying him she bound him to this fate) Just a couple points that rub me the wrong way, but that's subjective so doesn't really matter.ReplyDelete
-I don't mind starting out with "serena wanted to run..." , but we don't really see the relevance of it until 4 or five paragraphs later, which might be too much space before it gets resolved in the readers mind. The disconnect between the first two lines seems too great.
-comma after "Beneath the surface" (necessary when you start a sentence with a prepositional phrase)
-what happened when Alasdair turned the glass? was he able to stop the sand, too?
Thanks for all your awesome feedback! I've changed one sentence to '...there was no guarantee she could deliver it into the right hands and every change that the attempt would lead her into a trap.' Hopefully this clarifies that the betrayal I'm referring to is the potential betrayal if this is a trap. : )ReplyDelete