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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mirror Mirror

You have all been saved by Lauren from my review of Skyfall (which wasn't going to be favorable). Here is her first page of MIRROR MIRROR. My comments will be in purple and I hope you will offer yours :)

Under Maerset's control, the little bird hovered for a few moments high over the village. In her tower, the witch saw the village from far above, as a bird might see, and spoke the charm which froze the image. Awesome spell.

High in the sky, a piece of glass flicked away from the mirror the bird held. Instead of falling, it hung there, turning ever so slightly, but with the flat surface facing the ground. Notice the active verbs?

Maerset carefully transferred the image to a small hand-held mirror and released the charm so that the tiny piece of glass fell. On the ground, it would be taken for a grain of sand, although brighter and flatter than most. Its use as a focus was done.

The witch took up the mirror and placed it with the hundreds of others lining every wall and shelf in her tower room.

This peaceful time in the countryside was ideal for her purposes. No one was watching for animals that behaved strangely, no one expecting that a weed would be dangerous. There was more than one reason that these people distrusted unexpected plants in the place they called their own. The fields were scoured bare, nothing but tame grain disturbing the soil. This seems to interrupt the narrative. I think there's a better place for this. 

At her tower window she heard a squeak, the little bird speaking to her. She held out her hand for the mirror and it dropped it on the windowsill, staring at her from mistrusting eyes.

"You have done your chore," Maerset said quietly, "and you have your reward." She stepped to the side of the room, where a wire cage hung. Even the bars of the cage were mirrored, reflecting a scene far different than the sparsely furnished tower.

Inside the cage was another bird, this one looking dull and drab, perched forlornly on a bar and watching her mate hopelessly. The witch opened the cage and put a hand in, wrapping it around the bird carefully, pinioning its wings. She held it close for a moment, crooning, then turned and walked to the largest mirror in the room. Standing before it, she gestured, muttered something, and the glass no longer imprisoned the scene in the mirror. A forest stretched before them, and she opened her hand, releasing the female bird into the wilderness.

Quickly, as if he expected his promised reward to be torn from him, the male bird followed.

A moment later the mirror was only a mirror, and Maerset turned away from the view of the empty room. Years, it had been, since she had been able to see her reflection in any mirror. Every mirror in the room, instead of pointing her own face accusingly back at her, was a gateway to somewhere else. That is so cool. Reminds me of an old Star Trek episode.

Each animal that invaded her domain she had managed to coax, cajole or blackmail into carrying a bit of mirror to another place. There were palaces in her collection, tiny villages and even a dragon's den. That had been her one failure, thinking that the dragon could be forced. It had merely taken her bit of mirror back to its home, where it watched her from time to time as if it found her antics fascinating.

Okay. Except for that one paragraph, which just seemed out of place more than anything else, I love this opening. I love the magic that's being done, I love the way it's described, and I'm interested in this witch and what she's doing (Is she trapped in the tower?) and why? I'm also impressed with the active verbs being used which tend to show and the brief but vivid descriptions. I want to know more about this world, find out what's going to happen next.

But. What do YOU think? Did this opening work for you? Did it hook you like it did me or ...what? Do tell.


Huntress said...

I'd turn the page. IMO, this seems very unique and a good start. I agree with Marcy about the active verbs. Good job.

My one crit is to edit out some of the 'ing' words.

mshatch said...

good call, Huntress; you know I have trouble with those so I'm glad you're here to spot them!

Lauren said...

Thanks! I try to make my openings active--there's nothing more boring than reading a whole page of introspection at the beginning of a book.



Lauren said...

Yes, Maerset is trapped in the tower. In a sense, this is Rapunzel. Or at least, that's the way it started.


Patchi said...

Fascinating! I'd definitely turn the page. But I agree with Marcy that the paragraph about the plants seems out of place.

Charity Bradford said...

Goodness! Love it, and don't really have anything to add to Marcy's comments. I just wanted to say I agreed with her about the random paragraph, and say great job!

Lauren said...

Thanks! I'm glad you liked it.


Lauren said...

I removed the random paragraph, since it really doesn't play into the rest of the book. Thanks again!

Jeff Hargett said...

Having read other books of yours, I took for granted some of the compliments mentioned here. (That in itself is a compliment, I assure you.) And yes, I find the flavor of magic you're employing here to be intriguing. But you know I loved the paragraph with the dragon most, right? They add a dimension to tales that simply captivates me.

If I had to get nit picky on anything, it would have been the "muttered something" phrase. I wanted to know what it was or why the narrator couldn't tell me. (too quiet to hear? a different language? etc.)

I always enjoy a little Lauren writing. :)

Lauren said...

Maybe someday I'll finish the dragon story, but not likely any time soon. Their culture is just too complex, and I need to explore it from outside for a while before I try to dive into it.