Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September Secret Agent #43

GENRE: YA fantasy

Mysty tied her damp hair into a ponytail as she ran down the stairs. The school bus would arrive in two minutes and she hadn’t had breakfast. She turned the corner and crashed into the black knight. The drawstring to her sweatpants caught on the mace, upsetting her balance and slamming her shoulder into the wall.

“Mysty, is that you?” her mother called from the kitchen.

“Who moved the stupid knight?”

Cindy came out of the kitchen, followed by the stench of burnt toast, hair perfect. She wiped her hands on her apron before helping Mysty shove the heavy armor back against the wall. “He’s wishing you a happy birthday.”

Mysty didn’t look in the reflective surface as she pushed the armor. She didn’t want to see the new zits pulsating on her face. “It’s an old pile of tin, Mom. It isn’t capable of wishing. It slid on the uneven floor.” She was tempted to kick it, but she didn’t. “We should move it.”

Cindy propped the mace next to the armor. “Where would we put it?”

“The basement, out of sight, Ebay . . .”

“Mysty Perilous,” Cindy put her hand on the dented shield, “The black knight has been in your father’s family for generations.”

“My friends don’t have knights in their house. They have potted plants. No one keeps crap like this unless they live in a castle.”

The corner of Cindy’s lip twitched. “The black knight didn’t come from royalty.”

“Not unless being a royal pain counts.”


  1. Fun read so far! Great pacing and good active writing.

    Would Mysty think of her mother by her first name? Starting off the paragraph with Cindy struck me as odd because of the daughter's POV. However, this is a small point.

    Overall enjoyable and I definitely would be curious to read more.

  2. Great teen voice!

    I was also thrown by the use of the mom's name, at first thought she might be a sister.

    You might look for stronger verbs in a few cases (eg "had breakfast" could be "eaten breakfast" and there was a typo - "shove" vs "shoved". And it should be eBay.

    But I am interested in more because of the title - want to know how we get there! And the mc's voice!

  3. Hooked by "Who moved the stupid knight?"

    Agree with previous comment about calling the mom Cindy. Also, is this really the first time Mom ever told her "The black knight didn't come from royalty?" Seems like this is talking to the reader, not the daughter, but I'm still reading this one.

    Nice job.

  4. Loved the title - it alone hooked me. Great voice, but I did find the use of "Cindy" a little jarring, like others have said. Also, I think you can cut some of the dialogue in favor of some action. Sounds great - good luck!

  5. Really liked the voice! We can tell right away what she thinks of the situation.

    I think you can mix up the sentence structure and use stronger verbs more at the beginning, just to make it more interesting.

    I was also caught up on the "Cyndy" bit.

    I really love the joke your MC makes at the end. And she's right - normal kids do have plants instead of knights! A little creepy. I like that.

  6. P.S. I love the title.

  7. Again, my comments seem to be getting eaten. I also thought calling the mom Cindy was a little weird and confusing.

    I loved the opening. But I thought it lost momentum after that because it seemed odd to me that they would stop in the middle of the hallway to have a conversation about a knight that has been in their house forever. I thought this information should be imparted in a different way.

  8. okay, the "zits pulsating" just kinda grossed me out. there's got to be a way to describe them a little less graphically! but this is an interesting storyline here.

  9. Thanks for all the positive and helpful comments everyone. I have gone through my MS and stopped calling the parents by their first names. Thank you search and replace. :)

  10. I like the humor in this but think that a lot of the information given could be moved somewhere else.

  11. I love the voice but I feel like I've read a lot of openings that start with someone getting ready for school, and a lot of openings that begin with the MC's birthday. I like how she ran into the knight and her drawstring got caught in the mace, but I agree with the SA that it seems strange they would converse about something that's been in the house for ages. A slightly different opening might work better; you are clearly a good enough writer to pull it off.