Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January Secret Agent #21

TITLE: The Plumber
GENRE: Action Adventure-MG

“We’re lost, aren't we?”

Ignoring his brother, Tyler Higgins lifted his head and glanced around. A few shafts of sunlight filtered through the leaves and touched the ground in this small clearing. He spun a slow circle, scanning the narrow game trails fanning out between the tree trunks.

The paths all looked the same.

“Had to find Matt’s Fort, huh.” Little bro scrunched his freckled face. “And for what?”

“Told you. To get even,” Tyler growled through clenched teeth.

“Yeah? You just wanted to show off. Why do you care what the jerk thinks?”

“I don't.” But he did. After five days of scoping out the new neighborhood, Matt was the coolest kid he'd come across. But he wouldn’t admit that to Dylan—not after Matt humiliated him yesterday. “It’s all payback.”

“Hello. Matt’s the one getting payback.” Dylan’s bright eyes burned a hole in him. “You’re lost again.”

Tyler drew in a deep breath and blew it out. “I found my way off this mountain yesterday; I can do it again.”

Dylan muttered something.

“Whaddya say?” He curled his right hand into a fist and lifted it chest high. No way would he let an eleven-year-old openly diss him.


“Thought so.” He nodded toward the gnarly trunk of one of the countless oak trees. “I know that tree.” Well, sort of.

Dylan shifted his eyes. “Really?” His tone made it sound more like, idiot.

With a turn of the wind the sweltering air changed.


  1. I feel like some of the dialogue is a little stiff. Maybe trying to sound to young.

    “Whaddya say?” He curled his right hand into a fist and lifted it chest high. No way would he let an eleven-year-old openly diss him.

    Whaddya fells off even though I know it is supposed to be "what did you" Also I don't hear any of the teens or preteens say dis anymore. (I coach gymnastics, taekwondo, am active in youth groups as well).

    The writing could tighten up a bit. Do we need to know that his fist was at his chest? or just that he threatened the little brother.

    I stumbled a bit and had to reread but I was captivated by the final line.

  2. I had to read this just because it's called The Plumber. :) I usually don't read MG. I liked this beginning idea, though--being lost and the brotherly fight, and I like to see male MCs.

    I got a little mixed up with some of the dialogue. Maybe a second paragraph of narration at the beginning to set the scene might help?

    Seems like it will be a fun story, though :)

  3. I like the tension that is set up immediately at the beginning with them being lost and Tyler trying to put on a front while his brother calls him out about it. I also like hearing what Tyler thinks that's different from what he's saying -- that sets up another kind of tension. You definitely pique my interest in what's going to happen.Tyler is fairly unlikeable at this stage, so I hope soon we'll see some glimmer of something in him we can relate to. You might want to put that it's sweltering a little higher so we experience it with him and not so far along.Nice job.

  4. I wonder if you should start this a bit earlier, so we see his confrontation with Matt, since he is the catalyst.

    I also thought you might mention the weather a bit earlier to set up for that last line which is totally unrelated to anything right now.

  5. Hmm. I agree with Carol about liking the tension starting right away. However, the dialogue sounded like Dylan was the older brother and Tyler was younger--especially the way Dylan is skeptical and openly critical, and Tyler is sullen and defensive. I just kept thinking no young boy would talk to an older brother quite like that. It didn't ring true to me and so I had a hard time connecting.

    I was a bit interested in what they might be planning on doing to Matt, and why they were on a mountaintop, but for the sake of not connecting to those characters, I would likely have stopped reading this.

  6. It’s so hard to get that middle-grade voice right, and, unfortunately, I don’t think that you have it in this opening. The dialogue between the brothers is stilted and doesn’t ring true. I also don’t think that this is the right place to start. We’re thrust into the middle of something without any context. The last line makes it sound like fantasy, as if they’re going to be blown away to a secret land. I can’t say that I am hooked.