Wednesday, November 4, 2009

1 Secret Agent

TITLE: THE SOUL SHARD
GENRE: Fantasy

Zahn put his eye to the keyhole. Breathing in sharply, he gathered the magic he needed. The pupil of his eye expanded until his iris became black. The lock grew in his vision. He could see the gears and tumblers, and knew exactly what the key would look like. He blinked once and swirling colors became visible in the keyhole. He blinked again and the colors became ribbons of power he could follow with magic’s eye.

Alexander Zahn, the world’s greatest thief, was about to strike again.

Three strands of color flowed through the lock, three spells in all. The first strand of power would sound an alarm if anyone tampered with the outside of the lock; the second would sound if anything disturbed the tumblers. The third strand, almost invisible to even Zahn’s magical vision, was like a breath of warm air on a cool night. He concentrated and it firmed enough for him to see that it twisted around the first two strands as a final fail-safe, to trap anyone who managed to get that far. But the Red General’s trap, elegant in its simplicity, was no match for Zahn’s thieving skills.

Any ordinary thief could have hoped to best only one or two of the spells, but not all three. Zahn could see that the only way to break past the magic was to undo the strands simultaneously. With the interior of the lock clearly mapped in his mind, Zahn closed his eyes and breathed in deeper.

22 comments:

Sara J. Henry said...

Love it. (I'll admit I've read much of the rest of this manuscript, but this beginning hooked me immediately.)

Momwoman said...

You got me - at least for now. I do hope that more character emerges shortly, but I love the writing, and the magic system looks great! Good job.

Claire said...

Hi there

I got lost in the details of the lock picking, but would read on. I like extraordinary thieves.

Good luck!

Liz S said...

An interesting setup, but, like Claire, I got lost in the details of the lock picking and the explanation. That said, I still wanted to find out what happened when he tried to break in and break the spells.

Barbara said...

I thought it was fine, but not compelling. Yes, I'd read on, but I'm not saying, "Wow! I've gotta read this."

Perhaps work on the passive writing to make it more immediate. 'He gathered the magic he needed.' makes me think, "so what is he doing? How is he doing that?" Eliminate all the 'could's.' Right now, I'm watching him. Making it active will allow me to be him.

Valerie Geary said...

I'd ask for more, but I think this beginning could be tightened just a bit. Good luck!

Cat Connor said...

Marvelous. I'd like to read more, am fascinated by the lock and the thief. Ya hooked me.
(And I usually don't find magic that intriguing, I'm a thriller chick.)

Ash. Elizabeth said...

Sounds good, but I think you should use another word for tumbler. Out of all the lock-picking descriptions, I think that word choice had started previous commenters confusion. (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, this is just a guess)

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

My interest peaked at this line: Alexander Zahn, the world’s greatest thief, was about to strike again. Would you consider making that your opener?

I noticed some repetition in the third graf that pulled me out of the scene a little.

Interesting premise, though--a lock protected by magic and a thief expert in magic who can defeat the spells.

I'd read more.

UFGirl said...

I thought you did a great job showing the magic in his actions, I am curious where its going and who the Red General is.
-Heather

sally apokedak said...

Love the premise. Found my mind wandering in the last graph because I felt there were too many details.

SCG said...

I like the premise but I got confused and lost in the strands of color in the lock.

Karina said...

Like PP, I like the premise a lot but I did get confused with the strands of color in the lock. I thought for a moment that it was the mc's own magic as I began to read that part, not someone else's.

Secret Agent said...

I was getting lost in the details a little bit but I am a total sucker for books about thieves. If there had been more I would have kept reading, hoping to get pulled more into the narrative.

Paranormalchick said...

Love Magic and Love thieves! I'm hooked!

Happy writing,
A. McElfresh

Steph Bowe said...

I thought this was brilliant, though I don't tend to read much fantasy.

I think fantasy readers would expect this level of detail with the magic and the lock, and I imagine it'd continue through the entire book. I don't feel as if you need to take out any details -- I'm very curious as to what Zahn's going to steal, and I think the detail builds on the suspense.

ChristaCarol said...

I enjoyed this, though I'm going to be nitpicky. Ignore this comment if you're not writing in 3rd person, but I don't think he'd see what his iris was doing. I have magic in my story that transforms my MC as well and had to find a different way of explaining how it felt when a part of her changed, instead of showing it. Just a thought.

Melinda said...

Not quite hooked, sorry. I had to read this twice to get a clear picture of what was happening. At first I thought the three strands of magic were something he was creating, then I realized the three strands were already there. You may want to bring up the mention of the Red General sooner to make it less confusing.

You have a POV slip with: The pupil of his eye expanded until his iris became black. (He can't see his own pupil.)

I also felt there was too much focus on the explanation of the lock and not enough to make me sympathetic to/interested in your character.

storm grant said...

I like this kind of fantasy. I'd read on.

I wasn't clear if it was urban fantasy or set in a different kind of world fantasy.

Inkspatters said...

Oh, wow. This is really interesting. Like storm grant, I'm not sure whether it's urban fantasy or just plain fantasy, but I'm hoping it's just plain fantasy as you've indicated with your genre.

Theives in fantasy is a great idea, I'm hooked on premise alone. And then the writing's great, too. Like others, I had some trouble with the lock-picking detail, but not much.

Hooked!

Cheryl S said...

I was sucked right in and loved the imagery and the voice.

Well done.

gapyeargirl123 said...

I really liked this - I haven't read much straight fantasy recently, but I want to get back to it, and this begining would certainly keep me reading.
I like the sound of a world where magic is used in ordinary locks - it makes me wonder what the rest of the world is like, so I really enjoyed this.