Let The Games Begin: Candidate #1

If you aren’t sure what’s going on here, please read this first.

The story intros will be offered up in no particular order. There are seven candidates. I quite literally used a random number generator to choose which to do first.

First up is the intro to an adult (adult as opposed to YA, not THAT kind of adult) sci fi concept centered around a young slave who discovers a way to use her master’s own desires against him–and change the world in the process (hm. I seem to have this thing about slaves & changing the world. I’m going with it anyway). Here you go. (UPDATE: I’ve modified this since first posting, in response to outstanding feedback. This new version is shorter & gives away less, and I think it’s better. Enjoy.)

Art by Mandy Tsung http://mayhemandmuse.com/mandy-tsung-paints-the-art-of-sensuality/

Art by Mandy Tsung http://mayhemandmuse.com/mandy-tsung-paints-the-art-of-sensuality/

Working Title: Slave Chip

Mother was gone to town the day Asha’s code was transferred. She had known this sort of thing could happen to a person, but it was not the sort of thing that happened to her. She was the charmed one. She was the one who had inherited all her mother’s best traits, tempered by her father’s. Beauty, wit, charm, and a hefty dose of good luck.

That morning there had been just enough sugar and flour to bake a tart with the cherries from the tree outside the kitchen window, and Asha had been the one to find the wooden whistle Mother baked into it. Having seen thirteen summers already, Asha was a little old for the toy, so she licked it clean and gave it to little Horace to blow, and got a sweet sticky kiss in exchange.

Lately there had been a lot of parties at the big house, parties where Asha had danced and been celebrated as the belle of the ball. Standing in the hall outside the parlor of the big house, little Irena in her arms, Asha was still blissfully unaware that those parties had been designed to make her master rich off her sale price.

The master and his guest would be arriving soon, but for a few precious moments she and Nan, the housemaid, could gossip and giggle.

Ten summers later, she would still remember every detail of that morning. How the sun had slanted through the Smartglass windows, striping the wall with light. How Irena’s chubby arms had wrapped around her neck, and the dampness of her delicate curls after their walk across the hot compound. The baby smell of her skin coated with drying sweat.

When the master called for Asha, she handed Irena over to Nan. Asha smiled at Irena’s pout, and later wished she had kissed her one last time before entering the parlor.

Of course, there was no physical sensation associated with the code change. The only evidence was that when her new master Dexel ordered her to his shuttle, Asha found she had no desire to resist. It felt to her as though she wished, with all her heart, to forever leave behind her baby sister. And Mother. And Father who was kind and generous and the cherry tree and the whistle and the kitchen window with herbs drying over the sink and all the little siblings she had helped to care for all their lives–and to walk down that path and up into the elaborate private shuttle that would take her away, without even saying goodbye.

14 thoughts on “Let The Games Begin: Candidate #1

  1. I also seem to have things for gods learning the error of their ways. Regarding always writing about the same essential thing.

    I really, really dig this, and this introduction is fantastically done. If the introduction remained like this, though, I would question whether or not the story could sustain itself. It feels like you’ve showed us most of your hand. If I picked this up, I would be wildly fascinated by the first half of this introduction (given minor tweaks, but that’s not the point here) but start to lose interest during the second half because… you’ve told us exactly how the story is going to go. Even if it doesn’t go that way, I’m an overconfident snob who doesn’t have much time to read and would value my assessment over the book in this gamble.

    Also I question if you’ve skipped over the most interesting part, which is the novelty and danger of your owner and god falling in love with you.

    I was most hooked at this paragraph:

    Of course, there was no physical sensation associated with the code change. The only evidence was that when her new master Dexel ordered her to his shuttle, Asha found she had no desire to resist. It felt to her as though she wished, with all her heart, to forever leave behind her baby sister. And Mother. And Father who was kind and generous and the cherry tree and the whistle and the kitchen window with herbs drying over the sink and all the little siblings she had helped to care for all their lives–and to walk down that path and up into the elaborate private shuttle that would take her away, without even saying goodbye.

    The next paragraph is telling us something I already picked up, essentially killing the magic, and it just continues on that trajectory from there.

    NOT that the ideas aren’t fantastic. Just, like I said, not in that format.

    Holding out my vote until I see the others, but this one is right up my alley. It hits that “god” thing, as I already mentioned. :)

    • THAT is just awesome feedback. Thank you. I totally see what you mean–why can’t we see these things for ourselves sometimes? I felt like I was giving too much away, and I also wasn’t sure how much was the right amount… so I decided to do more rather than less. Next one, I’m going to leave more OUT… I’m also considering editing this post to reflect your feedback.. yes, I definitely am. So now your comment is going to make NO sense in context. You’re welcome.

      And thank you. Really really. This means a lot to me.

  2. I think this is pretty strong. Really interesting idea–bringing us into an experience that we would find foreign and making it relatable for us. I also think the first line was well chosen (as well as the follow-up lines) because “this happens to people, just never ME, of course not” is something people will find familiar. We all have probably felt that way about something we never believed would happen to us until it did.

    I was a little put off by the “as if she wasn’t special enough already” sentence–I feel like you were trying to support what you already said about how Asha was always so valued and never dreamed she’d be sent away, and that sentence bit felt unnecessary and sort of clumsy in an otherwise effective slope of narration. I also like that there were details of what she was remembering about this fateful day, but I did think it went on a little bit thickly when we know we’re waiting for what comes next.

    It’s pretty great that a character who hasn’t actually spoken in the present of the story and has spent most of this narration explaining things she remembered and things she had done before can still be compelling to a reader. The voice is there, and that’s not easy to do . . . good stuff.

    • Wow, between you and Jaimie and my husband (and a couple others), I have an amazing feedback team. This is really helpful, thank you. I can’t wait to apply your suggestions–I definitely see how it will make the intro stronger.

      I know my current novel is going to be in good hands when I turn it over for reading (assuming you both still have time/interest when the time comes). So excited. Thank you.

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