Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March Secret Agent #18

TITLE: Terry and the Folding Rule of Time
GENRE: MG Fantasy (time travel)

I slammed the door of my locker hard enough that it bounced open again. The magnetic name tag my Mom gave me fell off, but no one cared. They were all too busy trying to get to class on time. Not me though. I hated old Bodger on the best of days but most of all when he taught science. Especially on a Monday morning. I was looking forward to forget about him in one and a half years.

I picked up my name tag and stuck it back to the inside of the door. TERESA ROOTS. It was Mom's idea. She thought it would remind my schoolmates that I am not a boy despite my mostly close cropped hair. I chewed on a straw-colored strand of my bangs. The pink flowers around the writing set my nerves on edge each time, but so far, no one had done me a favor and stolen the tag. I couldn't throw it away either, or Mom would be furious. She always found out things like that. If she had her way, I would wear skirts - not washed out jeans - and paint my bedroom pink with a unicorn border.

I closed my locker more gently and sauntered to our classroom. In my imagination, I anticipated old Bodger's face when he sat down and noticed that the upholstery of his chair was soaking wet.


  1. I love the "chewed on a strand of my..."
    I have such a clear picture of a girl with short hair and long bangs, it's also one of those interesting quirks I love to see in characters.
    MG isn't my thing, but I'd totally read on. I'm also a sucker for time-travel.
    Also, like the last line, it too, says something about the personality. I feel like I have a good insight into who this girl is in a very short period of time.
    Nice :)

  2. Strong start here. I really liked the first paragraph and the bit about her mom wanting her to wear skirts and paint her room pink. Very nice.
    Few picks:
    -The magnetic name tag my Mom gave me fell off, but no one cared. <<Mom is only capitalized when used in place of her name, so here it is not capitalized.
    -I know you said 'mostly close cropped hair' but her bangs would have to be pretty long to reach her mouth to chew on
    A fun read. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. Liked the last paragraph best. Would make a great opening paragraph. I would definitely read on to find out more abut that. Couldn't get my mind around chewing on bangs. If they're at mouth level are they still bangs?

  4. I feel like I know a lot about this protagonist right off the bat: her family is eccentric, she's a bit of a tomboy, and if my thinking is correct (by the last paragraph) she may be a bit of a trixster. I did get setting, but I didn't get a feel for the story though that's not much an issue in 250 words. This bit does seem mature for a MG as I envision the protagonist as 14 or 15.

  5. The first two pargs. are set up and I thought you could have established the same info in much fewer words. You could even do it with her already in class waiting for Mr. Blodger to sit in his seat.

    His wet seat is the hook. If you get there faster, you can use your first page to build tension and suspense. Will he sit in it? And if he does, how will he react? Will he know she's the culprit? What will he do? All more interesting than her name tag and bangs.

    And I agree about the bangs. If they're long enough to stick in her mouth, they're not bangs.

  6. What are bangs called if they are long enough to reach the mouth? The rest of the hair is cropped really short (like a boy's haircut), only the front (what Brits call fringe) is very long.

    Thanks for all your comments so far.

  7. I laughed at the idea of her mom giving her a magnetic name badge for her locker, and wondered if the other kids actually didn’t tease her about it. The introduction is attention grabbing, but would have liked the hook with the teacher’s soaking chair earlier on.
    The voice was perfect for the MG, and I enjoyed it.

    Good luck.

  8. I got such a view of a typical early aged teenager. The hair, the pink flowers, the attitude.

    Wondering what she'd done to his chair would get me reading more but I think bringing that out earlier and building a little more suspense with why she did it (even though we still don't know what it is) would have hooked me into reading further.

    More of what was going on her mind when she preformed this dastardly act . . .

  9. I'm full of questions. Her bangs are long enough to chew on, but people still think she's a boy? Is she new to school, so people haven't known her long enough to figure out she's a girl? Does that mistake happen often, or does she just get teased about it? Is the name tag on the outside of the locker? How would that help people remember she's a girl unless she's standing right at her locker? Is that just a way for the author to tell the reader her name? Is this gender mis-identity important to the time travel aspect of the story (which would be totally interesting)? Those are a lot of questions to have on the first page.

    As said before, I'd get to the prank on the teacher much faster. That's more interesting than what color her mom wants Teresa to paint her room.