Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October Secret Agent #41


After I pushed the witch's cat out of the second-story window by mistake there was no turning back. I know that now. At the time, I stood staring into the yard—with dark magic from the gates of space and time about to pounce—and it just seemed like an average, ordinary, rotten day.

Spring break was almost over, and later that morning, instead of being downtown at the gamer convention with my dad (as promised) or hanging with my friends at Village Games and Magic, I was sitting in the dirt, Grounded for the Foreseeable Future. Just me and a tub of industrial-strength glue. What I was doing? Trying to put my dad’s antique birdbath back together again. Was it my fault the birdbath was smashed into a jigsaw puzzle? Not really. (Okay, sort of. That's where the witch's cat landed.)

My strategy was to slather glue on two sides of a break and sit holding the pieces together until my arms felt like they were going to fall off. I’d been at it for a while when my left leg went numb, so I shifted position, and out of nowhere a sharp pain raked my hand.

I looked down and saw a slash of blood.

A tiny voice yelled, “Stand and Deliver! I have a weapon and I know how to use it.”


  1. I'm hooked. I think I would have rather not known it was a witch's cat (yet) and I wish I knew why she pushed the cat out. I recently used some super glue and I laughed at that scene (so true, so true). Overall, I enjoyed it.

  2. I love this! Just the first sentence alone made me smile at my desk. I'd read more!

  3. I agree with Anna - hold off on mentioning the cat until later. Loved it! Good luck!

  4. I like the concept, but everything up to the blood seems too telling. And though I get why you'd start with the witch's cat, the first sentence feels too clunky and long to me, and gives too much away.

    Your title allows the reader to assume that there will be witches, so I don't think you need to mention that it was a witch's cat just yet.

    The voice is good, though, so I'd read on.

  5. I really like this.

    Is he/she talking about a real cat or something else? I'm wondering how a live cat could break a birdbath.

    There are a couple of places that give information you could probably wait to include later. For example, "by mistake" in the first line or the fact that it's spring break at the beginning of the next paragraph.

    I'd like a little more description of the hand injury at the end, though - something as simple as the back of the hand. The last line definitely made me interested in reading more. I want to know who the tiny voice belongs to.

    Good luck!

  6. This is great - fun voice. I don't think you're giving me too much information. Good luck.

  7. I like the voice too. I'd read on. Good luck!

  8. The first sentence about the witches cat is what got my attention, I liked it. I agree with David,it's a fun voice & I like how much info you gave. I'm hooked. ;-) Good Luck

  9. Just want to thank everyone who's commenting—really valuable reactions and advice—reading the other entries has been fascinating.

  10. I liked this. I did think the mc was a boy though. Maybe that's me (planning a MG boy book right now), but I see more boys as gamers than girls, so that's just where my head went.
    I think it's just as likely to assume girl because most YA books have girl mc's.
    Anyhow, my point is that you might want to give us a clue pretty quick.
    But I would defintely read on!

  11. I love the opening line, but I'd cut the "by mistake" I think it would flow better. You have a neat voice and the the story sounds cute. I would keep reading, but the transition from the first and second paragraphs feels clunky to me. Nice job.

  12. I'm wondering if the witch's cat was made out of pottery. Something living hitting hard enough to break a bird-bath is going to damaged, itself. Or in a mood for revenge, afterward. Keeping the 'by mistake' comment confirms that the narrator isn't some evil little hoodlum.

    The last line is priceless, and would keep me reading.

  13. I liked this too, but agree that it's a lot of telling. What if you started by 'showing' her accidentally pushing the witch's cat out the window, so we get to see it happening?

  14. The events here are a bit convoluted; I’m not sure which came first and how they actually relate and if the narrator knew the cat was a witch’s when they…killed it? By accident, sure, but that seems to be glossed over quite quickly. If these events are important, then they should be given import. If they are simply a means to the narrator getting slashed by (presumably) a fairy, then why bother with them?