Thursday, July 17, 2008

#60 SECRET AGENT Are You Hooked?

TITLE: Marcus Tuttle and the Missing Furballium
GENRE: Middle Grade Fantasy

“Pheebee! Frumpus! Come out at once!” shouted Professor Marcus Tuttle, whipped cream dripping down his green forehead.

“Those darned Frumpii!” he muttered, as he wiped it out of his eyes.

Moments before he’d been contentedly writing at his desk when he’d run out of ink.

He’d gotten up to get a new inkpot from an overhead cabinet, but as he opened the door, mounds of wet whipped cream had plopped down on his head.

He knew immediately who was responsible. His high-spirited Frumpii loved to play practical jokes.

“Come out you two! Show yourselves right now!”

Unsurprisingly, neither Frumpii appeared. Grumbling, he started searching for them. He checked under his desk. That wasn’t easy, since he was a giant turtle, and his shell made bending over difficult. But there were no Frumpii hiding underneath the desk, only some scraps of paper. He got up slowly and shuffled over to peer in the umbrella stand. No Frumpii there.

Marcus cringed as he jerked open a cabinet door, but he braved getting covered in paint or more whipped cream because he really wanted to scold them. They weren’t hiding in any of the cabinets. However, since nothing else fell on his head he began to calm down a little. He came across a photo he’d taken of the Frumpii on their birthday, and he couldn’t help but smile. He had to admit that they could be cute.


  1. No, but this is cute. I like the title and the character names. The writing style is just right for MG. And I can tell by the talking turtle and funny names that this is a fantasy, which is important to establish early. But I would like to see more of a hook to make me want to turn the page. Maybe there could be more action while he's looking for the Frumpii. What are Frumpii? Small turtles? Frogs. Is Frumpii their last name or the type of creature?

    Also, instead of remembering being hit with whip cream, it would add more action if you open with the whip cream falling on Marcus Tuttle. Maybe he hears some giggles while he wipes his eye.

  2. yes, I'm hooked. I love the feel from the start. The names and the whipped cream alone draw me in and the mischeivious nature of the Frumppil makes me want to know what this story will bring about.

    good job! :0)

  3. This is cute and probably perfect for the target audience, but it doesn't grab me. Sorry. Pass.

  4. P.S. Wasn't Capt. Tuttle Pierce's alter ego in some MASH episode? Is that where you got the name?

  5. It's a tentative yes for me. The voice is good, but if you need to revert to a flashback in the opening 250 words, then I think you need to actually start your story there, with the action.

    Have to say though, the line That wasn't easy, since he was a giant turtle. made me snort. Kids will probably like it, but if this was in an adult novel, I'd put it back on the shelf.

  6. It's very cute, and while I dig turtles of any kind (huge TMNT fan here) I'm afriad it didn't grab me. I think the voice is lovely and would work well for the target readership however. :)

    Good luck!


  7. Not for me, but I would read it to my children. Well written and quite fun -- just not enough of a hook for me to continue past the first page.

  8. No, I'm sorry.

    I think I got turned off by the names and the green forehead...and turtle character... B[

    *pushed personal opinion aside - forcibly*

    I do think this could work with a little editing - I thought that there was a little choppiness in the middle.

  9. Have to agree with most of the other posts, very cute, engaging voice, but it needs more action or hookiness. The writing itself is strong -- and that's the hard part, so keep going with this!

  10. Yes, it's cute. I smiled a lot in it.

  11. Ahem, biased party here, but I just gotta say what the others have said. Cute and fun!

    I also agree that opening with the whipped cream falling on Marcus's head would be a strong opener. Then, maybe a little less time spent looking for them. That could get the real hook (what he finds) onto the first page.

    Love it! :)

  12. Sorry. No.

    It began well, but got sluggish with the description of the turtle looking for the pranksters.

    I didn't care for "Unsurprisingly" and "Grumbling".

  13. No, I'm not hooked. The story seems younger than middle grade to me.

  14. I think you did a good job showing the Professor's transition away from anger at the Frumpii. I want to know what a Frumpi is! This sounds like a fun story I'm sure a younger middle grader would enjoy.

  15. I think it's very good. I loved the imagery of a giant turtle shuffling around looking for the trouble-making wee ones.

    I'm not in the target audience so I wouldn't read further, but it's a nice start.

  16. No for me, but could become yes with more emphasis on action (I'd second the suggestion to have the whipped cream happen on the page) and a few more seamlessly integrated descriptions. (I'd love to see the line about being a giant turtle made a little less obtrusive: It wasn't easy for the giant turtle to bend gracefully around his shell [or something] since his turtleness is intrisic to him and therefore unlikely to be something he'd remark on himself.)

  17. My comments don't seem to be getting posted. I'm sorry, this didn't work for me. I'm concerned that you seem to be talking down to your audience. The characters all seem too cutesy to me. I've always loved Fantasy and I don't think I would have read this as a child. Sorry!

  18. This has a lot of lovely elements in it, but the flashback didn't work for me... I'd rather have seen it happen in real time, him waking up to the whipped cream.