Saturday, May 28, 2011

Made of Awesome Blogfest Contest!

Okay, so I'm participating in the Made of Awesome Blogfest Contest which is being put on by Shelley Watters.

Here's my entry:

Title: Thornbriar
Genre: YA Fantasy Retelling
Word Count: 71,500

The first arrow nearly killed Beauty. If she had not had the good luck to trip over her injured coachman at just that moment, it would have pierced her breast. As it was, the black shaft of the arrow passed through her ruby curls while she was staggering sideways. The coachman cried out when she trampled his broken leg in an attempt to regain her balance, but Beauty ignored him, turning to look in the direction from whence the black arrow had come.

She could see the archer then, facing her directly, a second arrow aimed at her heart. Although he stood in the underbrush a great distance away, he seemed much closer, his features clear and strange. His long hair danced in a breeze that touched nothing else, it’s pale silver blond strands sparkling in a stray beam of sunlight. His ivory skin glowed luminously, eyes solid black. He seemed a spirit, rather than a mortal man.

“Lady Beauty!” The injured coachman pulled on the skirts of her gown, breaking her trance.

Beauty heard the hiss of air and swirled, throwing herself to the ground behind her coachman. Three arrows whistled, following her motion with astonishing speed. All missed their mark by only fractions.

When her coachman pushed himself onto one elbow to shield her, she caught sight of the archer, again with an arrow directed her way. He held this one though, his unearthly face contorted in rage.

Can't wait to read the other entries!


  1. I loved it up until I read "it’s pale silver blond strands sparkling". Instead of using that jarring apostrophe with the 'it's', why don't you just use the word 'the' instead and avoid all the bother of the hair possessing the strands of hair? I think it would flow a lot better.
    I'm interested to read more of this. It sounds like my kind of thing. I have so many questions I need answering just from this opening page!

  2. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie so I am excited for a retelling. But I want to feel more for Beauty; why is she in the middle of the forest, where was she going? You have a lot of description about the arrows going by but not as much about Beauty her self. Also I am a little confused with the part where you say his features clear and strange. Even with your description I still couldn't picture him. I think the ivory skin is throwing me off (but I am sure this is part of the retelling). These are just my two cents. Good Luck!

  3. I where the story starts, but I'd like to know what was going through Beauty's head. Just a line.

    The questions are there, I want to know who the archer is and why they're after beauty. Great job on that front.

    Best of luck,

  4. I think this can be tightened just a wee bit more. Here's my try at the first paragraph:

    The first arrow nearly killed Beauty. If she hadn't tripped over her injured coachman at that exact moment, it would have pierced her breast; the black shaft of the arrow passed through her ruby curls as she staggered sideways. The coachman cried out when she trampled his broken leg trying to regain her balance, but Beauty ignored him, turning to search from whence the black arrow had come.

    Great opening though: high stakes, suspence, action. Great stuff!

  5. I do so love retelling of fairytales. I also love the freedom to use words long gone out of favor. I can't say I care foe Beauty though. What a selfish little witch! Still, the writing is superb, me thinks. Well done!

  6. Wow! Interesting!
    The first few lines really hooked me. I'm on edge immediately. I was wondering what Beauty is thinking. Is she scared? Does she know who the shooters are? I would definitely continue reading. Awesome. Thanks for sharing. Good luck!

  7. great action, great pacing, and great hook. not sure what else you could have fit in 250.

    good stuff!
    douglas esper

  8. It's interesting to see what you've done with Sleeping Beauty -- much more self-concerned than the traditional Disney version.

    There are a few places where you could tighten and streamline, perhaps pare down some of the description. Overall, though, nice job.

  9. Great submission!

    I think it's funny that the comments have bounced around on all the different original story lines this could be - Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty...and my first thought? Robin Hood - what with the bow and arrows!

    My only nit-pik (and it's small!), is how you described the shooter:

    "His long hair danced in a breeze that touched nothing else, it’s pale silver blond strands sparkling in a stray beam of sunlight. His ivory skin glowed luminously, eyes solid black."

    Almost one too many adjectives here, giving me a bit of sensory overload. Maybe cut out the "sparkling in a stray beam of sunlight" to tighten this up just a bit!

    Otherwise, I like where you started this. Unlike a few comments, I'm not wondering why she's in the middle of the forest right now, or what's going through her head, as I'm sure you'll explain that later! Which did a great job making us ask all these questions, forcing us to want to read more to find out!

    Good, good, and good. I'd definitely read more.

    Best of luck in the contest!

  10. I would cut the glowed luminously bit to just was luminous. Don't get me wrong I LOVE adverbs and I have no trouble using several descriptors together but to me those are pretty much the same thing (which I have also done) so I would chop that. You spend a lot of time describing the look of the shooter but not a lot of time describing her reactions to him. I would imagine she is frightened. The breeze that touched nothing else is a lovely phrase (which is I think your forte, poetic phrasing) but I would chop it and put something about Beauty's emotions. Great submission though and good luck.

  11. i'd really suggest starting a little earlier. diving right into a life/death situation like this makes it nearly impossible for me to care if beaty survives or not because i haven't been given a chance to know her yet. use a page or two to establish her character, and then endanger her life.

    this is good writing. the description landed me right in the scene. i agree with the commenter above with beauty's emotions--but especially her thoughts. i'd love to be in her head a bit more.

  12. It is really good. I like fairytale retellings, even though I can't tell which fairy tale this is. The first real problem I had was with ". . . it’s pale silver blond strands sparkling in a stray beam of sunlight" Mayne combine the hair and strand sentence?

  13. Nicely done. I was swept along with the action.

    Ooops you've been caught out with the 'it's mistake by another commenter(it has, it is but never belonging to an it!) Try 'Eats Shoots and Leaves' by Lynne Truss it's an absolute hoot. :O)

  14. Interesting. Classic style, intriguing Voice. This isn't the genre I usually read in, but I love the fairy tales and would pick this up if I heard good things from friends.

  15. A really dynamic opening, but because we're thrown right into battle, I have no idea who the characters are and why I should care. For the first two paragraphs I thought Beauty was the horse and that was why she had a coachman.

    Also, you are a little heavy on the adjectives. Not everything needs to be described in detail. Pick the important things, and describe them and you'll find they have so much more impact.

    I might read on a little further.

  16. I love the first paragraph. It's a great start and really threw me into the action. I have questions about why she's in the woods and why the archer wants to shoot her, but they're not detracting from my enjoyment. That curiosity would continue to drive me forward and continue reading.

    Your writing does get bogged down by the description at times. Unless it's important to know so much about the archer's appearance at this moment, I'd cut some of the details. Reading so much about him pulls me out of the action. Besides, I don't think Beauty would be concentrating on his appearance as much as she she'd be thinking about her escape. Also, "clear and strange" seemed an odd way to describe him.

    Good luck!

  17. Well done. I agree with Erin's comment. This definitely makes me want to keep reading. :-)