Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October Secret Agent #35

TITLE: The Mis(s)fits: All that Glitters
GENRE: Contemporary Middle Grade Mystery

“Seriously, they might as well just lock me in the basement,” Celia said. “I mean, a FARM and a restaurant! Can you even?” She stopped abruptly in the middle of the sidewalk and put her hands on her hips. An impish Central Park breeze, scented with waffles and hot dogs, lifted her black veil and sent sunshine sparkles skipping across the surface of the pond.

“Now do I look like a farmer?” she asked. Indira Prabshan put on her Fake Serious Face as she looked at her best friend, a mirror of her own image. From Celia’s glossy black razor-cut hair to her manicured fingernails down to the soles of her designer sandals they were both city girls through and through, and had been ever since they met on the first day of kindergarten.

“Noooo. . .,” Indira said, dissolving into the giggly laugh Celia liked so well. In the middle of the kites and wedding parties the pretty girl in mourning clothes and her poodle dressed in matching black tweed raised a few jaded eyebrows.

“And does this look like a farm dog?” Celia asked, pointing at Coco. This time they both laughed because there was no way to even picture the handful of cotton candy fluff anywhere other than the upholstered brownstone streets of the Upper West Side. Coco wagged her tail. She liked attention even if she didn’t always understand it. Indira grew quiet.

“Look Cee, I don't know how to tell you this so I'm just going to come out and say it."


  1. The beginning threw me off balance, I couldn't figure out what they were discussing. Their conversation needs a bit more explanation, perhaps along the lines of this:

    “I mean, a FARM and a restaurant! Can you even?” Celia's parents were on the crest of the newest trend, a restaurant with live animals inside.

    Starting with dialog is a bit jarring, so you need to anchor it better. Also, an "impish" breeze might not be the best word choice. I kept expecting hats to fly off or something silly. : )

    The voice itself is really clear, and the characters are cute -- you have the right elements for a fun story.

  2. First, I love your title. It's smart and captures the story idea (and sequels?). I like your main character too. She's got attitude that comes through clearly in just the first page. I'm picturing lots of complications for this city girl.

  3. This is a cute scene but I feel a little lost. I have no context for what they're talking about. It shouldn't be too hard to slip something into the opening paragraph, or even before it, to clarify things.

    And "impish breeze" tripped me up. I think I see what you're going for, but it isn't clear enough. Maybe just cut impish.

    Great description. The image of the girls giggling together is very clear and felt very real. Good luck to you! :)

  4. Very descriptive and I am curious as to what is going on. First, if I hadn't read that this was a MG novel - I would have thought they were older teens/early 20s.

    You mention one of the girls is in mourning clothes - but she doesn't seem sad (which may indeed by the case - just noting it). Is she on the verge of being sent to a farm because her mom/dad/family has passed?

    On rereading the paragraph, it actually isn't really clear if one of the girls is dressed this way - or if there is a random girl dressed in black mixed in with the kites and wedding parties...

    Just a few notes - but I am intrigued with where this could be going. Good Luck!

  5. I'm of the agreement of the others. The opening dialogue needs something grounding it, or some narrative further explaining the comments.

    I would add a comma after "black veil" in the first paragraph to differentiate the activities better. Also, you need a comma in the second paragraph between "designer sandals" and "they were". And in the third paragraph between "wedding parties" and "the pretty girl".

    I'm definitely unsure of the voice here. They don't sound like MG to me, and if they are in Central Park and of the MG age range, then where are the adults watching them?

    I think you have the start of something interesting here that just needs a little cleaning up, and maybe a tweak of voice. Good luck!

  6. I was reminded immediately of Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie and that tv show they did a while back.

    The girls also came off as older teens to me. I couldn't imagine them as MG kids.

    And I wonder if this is the place to start. If she's going to end up on a farm, perhaps that's the place to begin.

  7. There's some great descriptions of the scene throughout, which really gives a sense of place, but the black veil threw me. Do people still walk around in mourning for some time after the funeral?

    Also, Celia comes across as a complete brat. I'm not sure I'd want to stick around inside her head for long. And I was a bit confused when it said that her (I'm guessing Indian) best friend's face was a mirror of hers. Are they both of Indian/Middle-Eastern heritage? It's phrased really oddly, which made me think they were twins at first.

    So while I like the writing style, the character would make it hard for me to stick around for long.

  8. Thank you for the comments everyone! There's no denying it, Celia is a drama queen. If she stayed in New York she would be a Gossip Girl but her life takes a different path and in just a page or two as she leaves her home turf you get to see a different side of her. Thank you again everyone, best of luck in your writing!