Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October Secret Agent #32


I leaped out of bed and pulled on my best riding pants—-the ones without any holes—-and my Happiness Is Owning A Horse T-shirt. Today I’d meet my horse. And Mom and Mike would make the BIG DECISION: could I keep Valiant?

I didn’t see what the big deal was with me keeping him. Aunt Margaret’s friend had sent her Valiant to sell. Aunt Margaret said she’d buy him for me if I’d work at her barn to pay for his keep. Of course I said YES! I already hung out at Aunt Margaret’s whenever I could.

But for some reason Mom and Mike were hung up on me being too young, keeping up my schoolwork, blah blah blah.

I ran down to the breakfast table and slid into my chair. I would show them how grown up and responsible I could be.

“Good morning, Lucy,” said Mom.

“Subtle shirt,” Mike said.

I raised my eyebrows at him.

“Subtle: understated or not obvious,” Charlotte said. “He’s joking, Lucy.”

“I knew that.” Then I remembered that I was being grown up and responsible. “Good morning, Charlotte. Nice earrings.”

Charlotte’s poodle earrings jingled as she swung her head to look suspiciously at me. The poodles had blue ribbons on their necks that matched Charlotte’s royal blue shirt, shorts and socks. The enameled barrette on the end of her French braid had flecks of royal blue in it, too.


  1. Thank you for making this site very interesting! Keep going! You're doing very well!

  2. Love the title, and the voice, but I wonder if this scene isn't overdone, the mc coming down to breakfast for the day with a desire.

    I'd read on for the voice and to see what happens with Valiant.

  3. I find the voice a bit mature, or maybe it's because I feel like their is more telling than showing. I'm not quite hooked.

  4. I think this is something that a lot of middle grader readers would enjoy.

    My only suggest would be to clarify who Charlotte is when she's first mentioned.

  5. This is super cute. I think the voice is perfect for MG, and I love the title. I have three horses, and remember loving horses at that age, so I totally feel her excitement! I wasn't confused by who Charlotte was. I assume her sister, and if not I'm sure you clarify later. Nice job!

  6. Cute opener. Not really hooked because horses aren't my thing, but can see it appealing to MG girls.

  7. It's cute. Not my genre, but I think many middle grader would enjoy it.

  8. I like this for the most part, but the second and third paragraphs are really telling. They don't add anything you couldn't show us through dialogue or action, whether in this scene or later. The voice seemed consistent and age appropriate. My only comment is when she remembers she's being grown up and responsible. Seems more like she's trying to be polite to an older sibling. I know it's a follow through with what she thinks as she's sitting down at the table. Wouldn't she more like wonder if being nice was close enough? Just a thought. At any rate, nice job!

  9. I thought the dialogue at the breakfast table worked nicely to show characterization. I get a sense of who your charactes are without you explaining them.

    On the other hand, the opening doesn't draw me in. It's all a bit too generic. Maybe start a little further on, when they're actually at the farm, that way we get into the horse world right away (which would be the draw for me, because I don't know anything about that world.)

  10. I was always (and still am!) a sucker for a middle grade horse story. :) I'm assuming that Charlotte will play a big role since her name is in the title, but I think you may be starting in the wrong place. The getting dressed and exchanging family banter at the breakfast table is a bit cliche. I do like the contrast that you're hinting at between Lucy's and Charlotte's attire and am looking forward to what develops between them.

    I would read on.

  11. I wonder if you're start too soon. I think it might be better to start at the stables or somewhere else, where her mom and Mike makes a decision about the horse.

    I loved to read horse stories when I was reading MG.

  12. I do adore the title, and Lucy’s voice is fun and eager, although I do wonder at why she happened to own such a shirt for just such an occasion. I feel this is a bit young for my tastes; I imagine it’s for the Junie B. Jones set. While the telling nature of Lucy’s narration has charm, I’m also a bit concerned it could get old fairly quickly.