Friday, March 29, 2013

March Test Run #7

GENRE:   Paranormal Romance
They came at dawn. In minutes everything that was – was not.

Fire engulfs my hut.  The flames sizzle and hiss exposing me to its fiery heat. I escape but not before my skin is ravaged. The pain is intense, as is my need for revenge. The bastard, Camalus, has taken everything I love. With my dying breaths I will see that retribution is made. I am the last of the realm witches. We three must come back. It must be done.

With labored breaths I look at the moon hanging low on the eastern horizon.  Strength fills my being. My voice is harsh and raspy as I cast my spell.
“My goddess, my mother hear your daughter, Arianwen’s plea.
Take my soul; find the two
~ Sulien and Tarrant ~
and once again, make us three.
Let us all come once more.
To right the wrongs
I beseech you, open the portal door.
To Land, Sea and Skye, hear my cry.
As above so below, with my blood sacrifice make it so.
Arianrhod, my mother, my goddess, as one make us three.
I cast my lot, so mote it be.”
I choke and sputter – I’m drowning. I no longer see the beautiful moon, it’s gone.  The glow of a new morning is chasing the night shadows away. Oh, how I hope my goddess will grant my request. To see Sulien and Tarrant once more…my heart beats faster, I can see them in my minds eye, smiling and laughing.  


  1. I got a little confused by the second sentence initially, and had to re-read it a couple of times. I think it's the hyphen throwing me off. I loved the reference to your narrator being the last of the realm witches. Very intriguing, and I immediately want to know what a realm witch is.

    I wonder about the long spell in the third paragraph? I didn't yet feel grounded in the story and I felt my attention starting to drift a bit at that point. But maybe that's just me.

    Overall, I'm really intrigued by the concept of the realm witches. I'd maybe rethink the spell for the first page, and focus more on grounding the reader in the story.

  2. First, I will say something positive: The opening is very catchy and hooked me right away. I wasn't confused at all by the hyphen.

    The opening line is very much like Rita Sepetys Between Shades of Gray ( which is an AMAZING book. Totally different genre, but the opening was similiar.

    Now, for the not so positive.

    After the first 2 lines, this becomes very telling and not very engaging. I would rather get to witness the destruction, feel the loss, sympathize with the MC than just be told that this is what happened and why she wants revenge.

    My first read through of this selection, I totally skipped the spell. It wouldn't mean anything to me at this point and I didn't want to spend my time reading it. I agree with umeboshi above that you could include it later in the story, after we get a little more grounded and invested in the character.

    I do love stories about witches and think the concept is interesting, but probably wouldn't read on at this point.

    I hope my suggestions help and best of luck on the road to publication!

  3. I personally like the idea of the hyphen and the sharp edginess it can give a line, especially the first line, which is so important. But...many readers tend to get confused by it, so I would probably change it.

    Love, love, love the idea of a realm witch!

    The spell was a clever way to inject information, I liked that.

    I would read on:)

  4. Lovely way to open a book, but I agree that you should draw out the initial action. The tense jump after the first line is off-putting, and I'd wished that you'd held on to the description of the attack. At this point, we don't know who the character is or why she would want revenge, so just saying they did stuff and she's angry isn't enough to draw everyone in. Try going more deep into the action before giving us the exposition. That way we'll know why she wants revenge and be more tempted to read through the info. I agree with the above--while the spell is interesting, it is long. If you draw out the initial action, I think it will be far enough into the chapter to be more interesting.
    In fact, I think you could have a very short first chapter that ends with the spell and her wishing to see her sisters (other witches?) again. The end of this section is enough resolution and slight draw in to get someone to turn the page to chapter two.
    I hope this helped. Good luck!

  5. Thank you to all for your comments as they are much appreciated.

    I should have noted that my entry above was the first 250 words to my prologue and NOT chapter 1. I feel a book starts at Chapter 1 but others feel it starts at the prologue (if there is one)

    My CHAPTER 1 starts 600 years later with Arianh who learns she is the reincarnation of Ariawen.

    My logline: "Everybody has a past but not everybody has it return to haunt them six-hundred years later. Ari, Tiernan, and Aiden are reincarnated souls brought together by fate, and an ominous spell, to reconcile past mistakes before a vengeance seeking man from their former lives finds them and eliminates their future."

  6. Definitely interesting concept!

    Re loglines: Holly Bodger has an awesome formula to follow for loglines -

    When [MAIN CHARACTER] [INCITING INCIDENT], he [CONFLICT]. And if he doesn’t [GOAL] he will [CONSEQUENCES].

    I took a stab at revising yours based on this formula:
    When three reincarnated souls are brought together by an ominous spell to reconcile 600-year-old mistakes, their nemesis threatens to eliminate their future.

    About prologues - I personally like prologues, and think they definitely have a place. You might want to listen to agent Kristin Nelson's video about prologues:

  7. Thank you JDSpero. Watched the video and never realized prologues were never even read. Good to know. Like your logline for this. Thank you.