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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Fade Into Me

Submission Number 2. comes from our own Charity Bradford. Here's the first page of her YA Contemporary Scifi, FADE INTO ME.


The barrier that separated my world from the human reality was a fascinating bit of technology that I often took for granted. Appreciation flickered briefly as I touched the side of the archway to activate the portal. The runes’ familiar texture moved under my fingers before the fabric of space and time split and fluctuated within the confines of the door. All I had to do was set the destination. The coordinates floated behind my closed eyelids as my mind linked into the system. One step, a tugging sensation, and I stepped into Ireas. I wonder if a small explanation would be appropriate here, for example: "...I stepped into Ireas, the place of my birth/homeworld/whathaveyou." Does that make sense? That way you're making it crystal clear that Kieran is from somewhere else. Just my opinion though...
Strands of magic swirled around me revealing more vibrant colors and smells than on the human side of the barrier. The foyer and grand staircase were empty, the halls quiet. Even this week, the second busiest the palace staff would have this year, my world exuded peace. If only we could push this calmness into the human’s world.
I followed the corridor lined with tapestries and portraits of my ancestors to a set of double doors leading outside. The colors of the garden danced in the sunlight—shades of red, white, yellow and green jumped from plant to plant, mingling, changing. They wrapped themselves around the sound of buzzing insects and the humming of bird wings. This is what I missed the most when living among the humans—this symbiosis of sight and sound. The collective magical ignorance of the human race compelled the colors to remain motionless. Here they played like joyful children. I think you could combine this paragraph with the one preceding it. When you mention "strands of magic" I want to see it and the second paragraph offers this. 
Mother straightened from her spot by a rose bush bursting with flowers. Their soft peach coloring swirled around her arms in a gentle caress as she placed the cuttings in a basket. 
"Kieran? What’s wrong?" At almost four hundred years old,(do we need to know this now? Is it important? or mightn't it have greater impact later? Just asking...)  Mother's dark hair had started to streak with gray, but her skin remained flawless like her rose petals.
"I need more time."
“Sweetheart, you know that’s not possible.” She reached out for my hand. “Enjoy your sister’s wedding. Afterward we can decide who you should choose for your bride.”
 “What’s a few more months, or years for that matter? Can’t you ask them to give me more time?” For most of my kind, (hmm, and just what is his kind?)  the one hundred and twenty-fifth birthday wasn't a big deal, but for me, Prince of the Reparation, it signified the beginning, or the end. I wasn’t sure which yet.
She squeezed my fingers. "Why are you nervous now? You’ve been preparing for this your entire life."
"This whole thing is pointless. Humans aren’t ready and our people will have to wait another thousand years no matter who I choose. Why can’t I have more time to fall in love?"
"Kieran," She squared her shoulders and lifted her chin, looking every bit like the queen she was. "You will do it because the High Council requires it. There is too much at stake for our family and our people."

Ha! Required to fall in love on schedule! Poor thing. 
Anyway...I like this beginning. We know right away that Kieran isn't human, that he's from somewhere else, and that he's supposed to fall in love as Prince of the Reparation - whatever that means. We can also sense his reluctance and his mother's calm that's-the-way-it-is attitude. What we don't know is the backstory (what's the Reparation?), what Kieran has been doing among the humans he doesn't think much of, and who is he going to fall in love with? That's enough to make me turn the page :)

What do you think? Would you read on?



Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

I am a big fan of phrases that create pictures, that give life to a scene. The sentence, "Here they played like joyful children" is an excellent example.

Robin said...

Good job, Charity. I like it. I would definitely read on.

Misha Gericke said...

I think you're missing a word after "the second busiest"

Also, I think it might be a good idea to explain what the Prince of Reparation does and fast. Maybe not right now, but hopefully within a few paragraphs of this section. See since this is fantasy, we as the reader have NO idea as to what's going on right now, so the sooner you can ground us, the better. :-)

Misha Gericke said...

P.S. But yes, I'd totally read this. ;-)

Charity Bradford said...

Thanks Marcy for the opportunity and the great advice! This chapter has been rewritten at least 100 times trying to find the right balance between "throwing" the reader into the world and giving them enough info at the beginning. I didn't realize I cut the line "I was finally home."

Do you think I should say "people" instead of "my kind"?

@Carol, yay! I found a good metaphor to show the colors! *dances around in the swirling colors* Oh, and I promise I didn't steal this idea from you!

@Robin, thanks!

@Misha, it's coming, in bits and pieces. The whole Reparation thing has been driving me nuts. I know it's got to be there and fast, but I switch POVs between my two main characters and that pushes it back a bit. Why? Because Kieran understands it and doesn't need to explain it to himself.

The good news is the chapters are very short (3-4 pages) and I'm answering other questions as I go. Hopefully I'm giving enough to keep people moving forward until Ryanne asks for the explanation.

*sigh* I love this story, but it is proving to be a beast pacing wise.

Patchi said...

Late to the party, but this has been a busy week. I love how this scene reads now, compared to the previous version I read. Lovely visuals--your descriptions bring the magic alive.

I think the first line would read better as: The barrier that separated my [home] world from [my] human reality... At first I didn't understand she was living on the human side.

And I would move his mother's age here: looking every bit like the four hundred year-old queen she was. Let Kieran's age shock the reader first.

Good luck with this!