The Sun vs. Snow Contest just ended, and now the ever-lovely Michelle Hauck is running a Sun vs. Snow critique workshop ahead of upcoming contests! Isn’t she just the best?
Since I’m still revising, I didn’t enter Sun vs. Snow, or any of the other contests that have come and gone over the last few months, even though I reeeally wanted to enter a couple. But I’m two-thirds of the way through the revision (I think), so I thought, why not? It’ll soon be time to start polishing, so why not get a little feedback on the beginning?
You can find Michelle’s post and all the details on the workshop here. It’s open till the 21st, so there’s still time to enter if you’ve got something you’d like feedback on. In the meantime, here’s my entry:
Title: The Price of Mercy
Word Count: ~100k
Dear Super Agent:
Nineteen-year-old Prince Vatren is expected to follow in his father’s corrupt footsteps. His first task: Marry a wealthy noblewoman and fill the royal coffers to the brim. But the prince has other ideas.
When he falls in love with a peasant named Namora, his father threatens to deny him the crown and live forever. Vatren doesn’t doubt his father’s threats. Magic was banned a millennium ago, but the king possesses a youth potion and has no qualms about using it. Despite this, Vatren insists that he will marry for love or not at all.
But there are bigger problems facing the kingdom than succession.
A long-simmering rebellion threatens to explode into all-out war after the king executes an entire village. Led by Namora’s brother, the kingdom’s malcontents demand revenge on the royal family, and they don’t care which member pays the price. If Vatren can’t find a way to atone for his father’s actions, his throne won’t be the only thing he loses.
The Price of Mercy is a 100,000-word work of adult fantasy. I earned an Associate’s Degree in English from Marshalltown Community College and work as a legal secretary. My short fiction appears in the anthology A World of Their Own, forthcoming from Kristell Ink in 2015. This is my first novel.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
First 250 words:
“Please, your Highness, have mercy. I beg you.”
“I would very much like to, sir,” Prince Vatren said. Light filtered into the gallery through twin rows of stained glass windows, exaggerating the poor farmer’s haggard appearance. “I sympathize with you, but drought or no, you’ve still got taxes to pay. I cannot simply let you go.”
“Your Highness, I’ll do anything – anything at all – only let me go back to my family.” Dirty tears carved grooves through the layers of grime on his face, but hope shone in his eyes.
Before Vatren could reply, the chamber’s heavy wooden door burst open. The prince flinched as his father stalked into the room, the queen trailing behind him. King Tol’s gaze swept the room as the court fell to its knees. The guards scattered about the room stood a little straighter, not wanting to provoke the king’s famous temper. The peasant trembled before him, suddenly afraid for his life. The prince groaned inwardly – he hated fighting with his father, especially in public.
“Vatren!” Tol’s voice boomed through the chamber. “If you’re not going to sentence this man, I’ll be more than happy to do it for you.”
The prince’s eyes narrowed. “What makes you think he’s committed a crime?”
“He’s a peasant, isn’t he?” Tol sniffed in the man’s direction. “A farmer, by the smell of him.”
“Just because he’s a peasant doesn’t mean he’s a criminal, Father.”
“Then why is he here?”
Vatren opened his mouth, but no words came out.
So, what do you think? What works? What doesn’t? Let me know in the comments!
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