Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March Secret Agent #39

TITLE: Bee Stadium
GENRE: Middle Grade Contemporary

Harrison Templeton has a big fat head. Sitting behind him in a movie theater, this would be a bad thing. But in Mrs. Cooper's seventh period Language Arts class, it's a good thing. When I slouch in my seat behind him, Mrs. Cooper can’t see me. At least, I don't think she can.

Today I scrunch down so far my butt isn't even on the chair. I can’t wait to get out of here. I’ve been waiting forever for this day. Or eight months. Which might as well be forever. The first day of baseball practice.

I can already hear the ump yelling from behind the plate.

Batter up!

Every year it's the same. March never ever gets here fast enough. Sometimes I think I’m the only kid that cares more about the first day of baseball season than Christmas or my birthday. By January I'm so antsy to play that I put my mitt under my pillow when I go to sleep and dream of playing every night.

Strike three! You're out!

I stare at the clock.

Tic. Tic. Tic.

I swear the minute hand on the doggone thing couldn't crawl any slower.

Tic. Tic. Tic.

Practice is in thirty long minutes and counting.

I peer two inches to the right, around Harrison's bushy brown hair.

"Can anyone tell me from what point of view the Red Badge of Courage is written?" Mrs. Cooper asks, pacing in front of the white board wielding a dry erase marker like a bayonet.


  1. I love the opening line here-- it has a great tone and humor for MG. You could possibly try to tighten the first two paragraphs a tad so we get to the narrator's dreams of baseball sooner.

    I like how the narrator imagines the sounds of the game-- though maybe instead of "strike three, you're out," you could use one like "Safe!" Unless the narrator is a pitcher, hearing "strike 3" would be a bad thing. (minor point).

    I am left wondering if the narrator is male or female. If it's female, that would add to the intrigue. I know (from experience) that it's hard to reveal this in first person. But it might be good to try so we know right away.

    Some tightening of the sentences would make this snappier-- like the sentence; "Practice is in thirty long minutes..."

    You could just say "Thirty long minutes and counting."

    This is an intriguing opening and the use of the ticking clock helps pull me along.

  2. I like everything about this. It plunges me into your setting and gives a great introduction to your character. I feel like I know him/her already. The short paragraphs make for an approachable read. I'd keep going. Great job! The only stumbling spot for me was mentioned above. "Practice is in thirty long minutes." The rest is so snappy, just tightening that up a tad would align it with the rest of the passage.

  3. What a great start - 'Harrison templeton has a big fat head.' Made me smile straight away. Lovely, and your MC's voice is really clear.

    Good luck.

  4. Great voice. I love the pacing.

    I'm wondering what Big Question/Big Idea this story is going to ask/show us, and I assume that when we turn the page, we're going to dive into a juicy, inciting incident.

    I also wasn't sure if the protagonist was a boy or a girl (and would love to see a girl!)... and as Patti said, I also know from experience how tough this is to show right off...well, right off the bat!

  5. I love the start. The pacing and voice are clear and easy to follow. I felt myself getting antsy for baseball practice to start too, very realistic and a nice contrast to what's going on in the scene. I would turn the page for more.

  6. I like the opening line.

    I think you can cut some of this. It feels to me like he's repeating himself.

    I see here a kid who loves baseball, but I don't really have a voice that I love in this one. There's nothing wrong with the writing--it's strong. But nothing is pushing this one over the top for me, sorry. I'd like to see the voice of the character strengthened. He's just a boy still. Not yet a really compelling boy, I don't think.

    Can he stare at the clock and see the second hands crawl like a slug moving through wet cement?--no, that's not a good example, but my point is: Use figures of speech to make the voice pop. Use picturesque words. Don't say the the second hand could crawl any slower. Don't waste the opportunity you have there to spice up the writing with a great metaphor or simile.