One very very brave Snarkling has sent her page to the "is it crap" meter here at SnarkCity. (Miss Snark admires that kind of bravery)
The fresh smell of damp earth caressed Kariba's nose as she stood at the edge of her father's vineyard. The rain had come unexpectedly in the middle of the day -good news for the grapes, but bad news for a restless girl who had been trapped in the house during the best part of the afternoon.
1. fresh smell of damp earth ..caresses? Miss Snark prefers to not kiss or hug the dirt. Not every smell needs an adjective.
2. "had come" "who had been"...AGGGGGGGGG. This is one of Miss Snark's most common complaints: double verbing.
Any time you see "was" "had" "were" with another verb you can probably remove it and spiff up your writing 100%.
as in: "came" and "bad news for a restless girl trapped in the house during the best part of the afternoon."
We KNOW she's not in the house now so you don't have to spell out the past tense. Readers will make intuitive leaps with you.
One of the biggest problems I see is writers who think they are filling out police reports and have to include every fact, every look, every causal link.
Kariba reached toward the nearest vine and plucked a single, deep purple grape. Popping it into her mouth with the nonchalance of a seasoned vintner, she chewed -and grimaced. The grape wasn't quite ready for picking. She would have to wait a few more weeks until the harvest, when she would get her fill of all the sweet grapes that bounced out of the baskets and onto the soft grass. "Gleaning the grapes" she called it.
1. The first sentence can be shortened to "Kariba plucked a single deep purple grape". The rythm of your sentences is almost as important as the actual words. Shorter sentences at the start, building to a longer one in the middle, falling off to shorter ones. Not an ironclad rule, but good form to practice before you do something else.
2. Popping it into her mouth with the nonchalance of a seasoned vintner she chewed and grimaced.
again, over writing. Once she plucks the grape, she can pop it and grimace. We don't need the chew. Cutting down on the extraneous stuff keeps the energy of your writing from dissipating over too much text.
Kariba's father, Quillius Korfarb, owned the finest winery in Bajornia, as had his father before him. His wines were prized throughout the land, and even traders from beyond the Southern Ice Field were known to fill their holds with the fruits of Korfarb Vineyards. Kariba thought wine was horrible, and she wished they could use the grapes to make raisins or delicious jams instead. Still, at twelve years of age, she was old enough to understand that there was more money to be made in a winery than in a fruit stand -and to be perfectly honest, she was proud of her father and his fine reputation.
3. forgive me dear snarkling but..blah blah blah. This is both backstory and tedious. You've got us in the grapes, caressing the dirt. Let's see some action.
"Stealing Father's grapes again, Little Kiba?" Her older brother appeared from behind, on his way to the house after his day's work.
"I'm not so little, Quantuck," Kariba replied. "It only seems that way to you because you're so tall."
Quantuck laughed, a rich, cheerful sound without malice. "Were I a full half-length shorter, you would still be as small as a woodland sprite."
Aha! Here is where your story actually begins. Action, some conflict and a brother who should probably be doing something other than teasing his sister. Although if it were Miss Snark's brother, she would have said "blow it out your ear bucko".
Ok, in conclusion. This doesn't pass my threshold. I would say no, it's not quite right for us. There's nothing here that captures my attention, makes me want to read on.
For a really good look at more on this topic take a look at
A Literary Agent Reads The Reviews by Nat Sobel. It's a pdf download.
And oh Brave Snarkling Writer, I hope this is of help.