Wednesday, January 13, 2010

33 Secret Agent


It’s midnight and I’m laying flat on my back on a patch of grass in front of our hotel room, hoping that no one looks outside and wonders what these weirdos from California are doing.
Tonight is the peak of the Perseids meteor shower so my mom dragged me and my brother out of bed to see a shooting star. When I was younger I thought it was cool to get up at midnight and watch the stars. Tonight I’d rather be in bed. It’s past midnight here in Texas and I swear it’s still over a hundred. And don’t get me started with the mosquitoes.

“Did you see that one, Marten?”

Mom points up at the sky but all I see are a few regular stars winking back at me. That’s the thing with a shooting star. By the time someone asks if you saw it, it’s already gone.
I shake my head, even though I know she's not looking at me.

“I did! I saw it!” screams Al.

Mom chuckles. “Okay, let’s not wake anybody up. I’m glad you saw it, little man. Close your eyes and make a wish.”

“I wish we were going to Disneyland!”

Mom laughs. “Then you’re going to have to wish on another star, Aldrin. And next time, don’t tell anyone what you wished for.”

“Like that makes a difference,” I grumble. “Wishes don’t come true, Al.”

“Marten! Why would you say that?” I feel Mom’s eyes on me even though I can’t see her face.


  1. Nice voice. I like the banter between the characters and the way I get a strong sense of place. I'd keep reading.

  2. Great dialogue. With names like they have, I begin to think that there is something else unusual about them besides just being from California.

    Good job!

  3. I love the voice in this - it sounds so very 12-ish? 11-ish?

    I was a little confused about who Al was, because you don't explicitly state it - she's the little sister?

    I'm intrigued where the "fantasy" part comes in. . .

    Good luck!

  4. Good job of setting up the characters through their interaction. I like Marten's inner voice.

    Nit: Al/Aldrin having two names in the first 250 words. It's not confusing me at all though, so maybe this is fine.

    You've got a lot of information packed into this but it doesn't feel like an info dump. Interested to know where Dad is or what's happened to him. Good job. I'd read on.

  5. Nice and smooth. I'd keep reading to see where it's going.

  6. I like this. Like the family interaction, sounds authentic.
    I'd read on.

  7. Like the interactions and the feeling that something was going to happen soon.

    I'm curious if this is in front of a fancy hotel or a seedy one. It would reveal a bit more about his family.

    Nicely written.

  8. I like the feel of this and would keep reading to find out more. I'm curious why Marten doesn't think wishes come true. And why does Mom always drag the kids out to see shooting stars? Loved the title!

  9. I'm on the fence on this one. The voice feels very appropriate for a MG novel, and the scene is described clearly and effectively. But nothing seems to be happening, plot-wise. I'd probably at least read to the end of the chapter to see where this is leading, but I can't say I'm hooked just yet.

  10. Hooked! (Wow, I'm saying that for a lot of these; this was a good batch of entries.) The voice is easy and interesting; I'm definitely there on the grass with them, looking up at the stars. The dialogue flows well, too. Nice job.

  11. I like this--this scene put me squarely there with these characters. I'd definitely want to read more, and find out how the fantasy came into play.

  12. I like the voice and the setting. I would read on to see why they are sitting out so late and why Marten is moody.

    Maybe his father has left or something, but I want to know.