Friday, January 20, 2012

January Test Run #2

TITLE: The Black Keep
GENRE: Fantasy
Alone on the Keep’s parapet, the young woman stalled for time, walking her fingers on the dark stones like a child avoiding her chores.  The wind stung her bare fingers and cold seeped through her layers of thin clothing.  She was used to it though and paid it no mind.  Gazing out over the tundra at the last vestige of the sinking sun, apprehension coiled in her stomach.  She turned to greet the luminous orb that peeked over the mountaintops. 

“Hello again,” she whispered.  “I guess it’s time.”

Her platinum hair danced above her head, twisting in the breeze, as she turned to descend the stairs.  Hugging her arms to her chest, she couldn’t melt the ice that settled on her heart.  Through the winding hallways of the stronghold she padded, finally climbing narrow steps to the small chamber perched in the highest tower for the second time that day. Previously, she had brought up the supplies Father would need for the ritual to come.  The girl paused in the doorway, reluctant to enter.  She wasn’t afraid of what was to come, but the burden of duty weighed her down.

A stone altar dominated the center of the room, but she gave the blood-rimmed manacles no thought; he had never used them on her.  Inscriptions in the stone floor surrounded the altar with a ring of esoteric markings. She had placed lit candles at each mark on the ring, matching colors to symbols the way she had been taught.


  1. I like this and would definitely read on. Only a couple of thoughts: the repetition of fingers jarred me, as did 'her layers of thin clothing' (why not just 'her thin clothing'). And the line ' Through the winding hallways of the stronghold she padded,' made it sound like she was describing a place of work/ regular hang out (e.g that's where I go to pad the hallways), so perhaps 'she padded through...'

    I was definitely intrigued by paragraph one, but the last line of paragraph two and the final paragraph were even stronger, so maybe fiddle with using those as an introduction and see what happens.

    Good job : )

  2. Sterling work and sets up the scene nicely. Definately has a gentle feel that is offset by an ominous background. I agree, it merits further reading.

  3. I enjoyed this very much. The pacing was nice. There was just enough physical description mixed with setting details for me to be sucked right in.

    Also, really liked this line: “Hello again,” she whispered. “I guess it’s time.”

    I would definitely keep reading because I want to know if Father will turn on her and make her part of the ritual.

    My only concern is the title (I'm obsessed with titles)...Not really sure what it means or how it fits into Fantasy, but that may be explained later in the book.

    Overall, very nice!!

  4. This has come a long way and I like the feel of the opening better. Nice job with the subtle tension leading up to the ominous ending description.

  5. I'd keep reading. I liked the set-up and voice of this character and I'm curious to see what happens next. Great job!

  6. Although I am not a gothic romance or mystery reader, I did find this interesting. The language is a bit flowery for my taste, but again, I think that's the genre. I did find "fingers walking" a bit awkward.

    As for plot, I think it's quite intriguing and would want to find out where you are going.

    All in all, good job.

  7. I am a bit confused by this statement, "she couldn’t melt the ice that settled on her heart." I wish you had a follow up sentence that gave a little more insight into why her heart is covered in ice. I'm assuming that's a metaphor?

    "she gave the blood-rimmed manacles no thought; he had never used them on her", this creeped me a good way. I really want to know what this ritual is!

    Very interesting first page. I would keep reading!