Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March Secret Agent #31

TITLE: To Fill My Pot With Gold
GENRE: Upper Middle Grade Fantasy

Mortimer sat in his easy chair for the last time. Everything important to him was slipping away like the smoke that disappeared up the chimney. His gaze ran across the fireplace mantle. He followed the curves of grain in the oak and the details in the intricate carvings. The fireplace and easy chair were two of the things about the cottage he first fell in love with. Never again would he be able to curl up in this chair in front of the fire with his poetry while the rain fell outside.

Despite the flames, he felt cold when he looked down into his small bag at the few possessions Sebastian would allow him to take. There wasn’t much in there, just his notebook, a few quills and a pot of ink. He wanted to make sure he could write his poetry when the mood struck, even though he didn't expect it would strike any time soon.

His empty pot was in the bag as well. No one would object to him taking that, Sebastian took the gold from it decades ago. He shook his head as he looked at it. A leprechaun with an empty pot was an embarrassment.

He walked out of the parlor and put his hand on the maple molding that went around the doorway and felt its warmth. He looked into the kitchen and saw the breakfast dishes sitting and the sink and shrugged.

“Sebastian can take care of those.” Mortimer said aloud to the empty room.


  1. I love the description and the writing. The scene is very beautiful. It did not read as middle grade to me though. I was trying to figure out how this would evolve into a story with a mg main character.

  2. I agree with the description and writing! I didn't have a problem with the voice being MG. I think the mention of the leprechaun, the empty pot of gold, that he's going on some trip/adventure would draw that age group in.
    Good luck!

  3. The voice didn't feel MG to me either, though it was well written.

    A few tiny details, you could probably drop 'Fireplace' in the line 'His gaze ran across the fireplace mantle', and the 'aloud' in 'Mortimer said aloud to the empty room' to tighten it up.

    Was hooked though.

  4. This looks like it's going to be an interesting story about the world leprechauns live in, and a "misfit" of the race. It's nicely written and certainly as "middle grade" as many other classics of fantasy for young people.

    A very tiny nitpick: maybe some more "Irish" sounding names for the characters? Unless the name is part of the "misfit" tone.

  5. I wasn't hooked by this one. Sorry. I know he's leaving and I know he's ashamed of his empty pot and I know he's sad about having to leave, but I don't find myself caring much about his plight. I'm not sure why. He hasn't really said or done anything to make me like him yet. Hard to do in such a short space, I know. But I think I'm feeling like he's depressed and I'd like to see a bit of gumption. There is a hint of that in the last line--a hint of a fighting spirit. I'd like to see that come in a bit early.

  6. Here's the line that hooked me: "A leprechaun with an empty pot was an embarrassment." I suggest you start your story with that. Everything else will be read in the light of knowing he's a leprechaun and that he's lost his gold. Otherwise, the part about all that mattered going up like smoke in the chimney is more cliche than intrigue. But if I'd known he was a leprechaun . . . different story.

    That to me was the key in my response to the first 250 words. I like it much better after reaching that key line.