Snarklings take on the Snarkometer #43

Fleetfoot stamped his forefoot impatiently, and Kalen felt an urge to imitate his horse and stamp his foot too. His mother was taking a tediously long time to say goodbye. Kalen had bid everyone farewell in about ten words. Surely it was time for them to be on their way home.

With difficulty, he stood still, holding Fleetfoot's reins. He had had his twelfth birthday the previous month, his Gateway Birthday, marking the end of his status as an elfling. He had been thrilled. Now he would be able to do things like attend feasts in his father's Great Hall and learn to use a sword.

But he had found that being twelve had its drawbacks as well as its advantages. His parents, his tutor, and the weapons masters had all admonished him that behavior allowed in an elfling was no longer acceptable in one who had passed through the Gate. His mother was certain to include fidgeting to be gone from her cousin's village in that category.

He looked at the knot of relatives in the clearing in front of the cottage. The men had all said farewell and gone off to their day's tasks at dawn, so Kalen and the two guards waiting near him were the only males in sight, while his mother was surrounded by her aunt, two cousins, and one cousin's nine-year-old daughter. The little girl waved at Kalen, and he lifted his hand to wave back at her. To his surprise, she had turned out to be an entertaining companion, the one bright spot in the whole boring week he had been here.

The baby in the other cousin's arms was a girl too, of course. "Let me hold her one last time," his mother cried, stretching out her arms. Her cousin handed the infant over. Kalen's mother hugged the elfling and lifted her overhead, looking up at the baby so that her hood fell off and her dark hair tumbled down her back. "Can you smile for me?" she cooed.

To Kalen's deep disgust, the baby smiled and then opened her mouth and spewed vile liquid down the front of his mother's cloak. The women all laughed and rushed to dab at the cloak with wet cloths. Kalen grimaced. If he had learned one thing on this trip, it was that babies leaked at every opening except their ears, and it was safest to keep far away from them. His mother had fussed over the baby from the day of their arrival a week ago. Kalen could not understand her enthusiasm.

This is mostly tell, not show. Lot's of surface with no compelling detail. And it's not fresh or interesting to me.

This is YA fantasy, so your competition is Harry Potter and Eragon, and Lemony Snicket. You're going to have to juice it up to catch the attention of these readers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comments, Miss Snark. I've learned a lot from reading this series of posts. I'll see if I can pare down my opening to be more direct. Mama Elf buys it on page 8, which I hope will be juicy enough, but I have to get my readers there first.

You're very generous to do this.