Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May Secret Agent #25

TITLE: The Walk of Haly Hypnea
GENRE: MG Fantasy

On the first morning of summer vacation, Grandpa told me that learning to walk was like riding a bike – once you learn you never forget. But I didn't know what a bike was. And I didn't have any legs.

That afternoon, seahorses floated out from the seagrasses and clicked around us. Red algae streamed and danced up from the floor in various shades. And dolphins carried Oceaners of all ages back and forth along the coral reef that couldn't fall asleep. The party felt like a real carnival.

I hung tight to the largest octopus this end of the reef. He wrapped me in one of his bumpy arms and swooped me up, down, around. Not since Kindercoral had I had such a thrill. When my little sister Gelli and I were younger Oceaners, he would swing us to and from the seagrasses while our parents hunted and gathered. We called him Brasfort.

Gelli swam by us at my third swirl around and grabbed onto Brasfort's last free arm. She laughed so hard whipping by me that she couldn't shut her mouth. Excitement shined in her eyes as we swooped past each other and in between our friends, head over tail fluke.

Brasfort slowed his motion as grasps loosened and our slick, grey tails spun away dizzy. Mom and Dad swayed proudly while friends and relatives commented on my good grades. I had succeeded... in Primary Coral.


  1. The first line about riding a bike threw me off. I thought there would be humans in the story. Maybe reveal the part about the tail fluke earlier so the reader has a sense of what creature it is? I guessed jelly fish from the name, "Gelli." Then, maybe a stingray? I'm still not sure.

    "forth along the coral reef . . ." The part about "couldn't fall asleep" modifies coral reef the way it's phrased here. Move it after "oceaners."

    "Brasfot slowed his motion as grasps loosened" needs to be rephrased.

    If it's the first day of summer, would others still be mentioning his good grades. Made me think that this was a graduation party or ceremony.

    I think if you set this up from the very beginning to give the reader a clear idea of the characters being sea creatures, it will work better.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Liz!
    The coral reef is alive and indeed can't fall asleep as it usually does because of the graduation party going on. So, I'm glad that came across. :)

  3. Hi Michelle,
    I enjoyed reading your first 250 words but I was confused by the beginning. I do not understand if the MC is a sea creature why her grandfather would be talking about walking and about it being like riding a bike as they would not do either!

    I liked the story and if the beginning was altered feel the rest would flow better. Hope this helps. Good luck!

  4. I agree with the others; the line about riding the bike doesn't fit with the rest of the story. In fact, when I read the first paragraph alone, and saw 'And I didn't have any legs', I thought it might be a story about a child amputee. Then I was confused when you started talking about seahorses.

    I think you should remove the "And" from "And dolphins carried Oceaners ..."

    I do like the word 'Kindercoral'! Very cute :)

    Take out/alter that first jarring paragraph and I think this would be very good!

  5. I'm a sucker for under the sea stories... so it was nice to come across this one.

    As others mentioned the bike and walking references made the beginning a little confusing. Like EHayes, I thought you were talking about an amputee, then I realize what you were going for.

    Anyway, I think that as long as you fix that confusion, the beginning will read much better and allow the reader to really get into the tale.

    Best Wishes,

  6. I agree with the comments of the other readers. One thing that threw me was the Disney fun like feel of this being interrupted by the statement that her parents "Hunt and gather".

    Which makes me wonder what type of undersea creatures they are to have an octopus as a friend.

    Good luck the story.

  7. The first paragraph got my interest-- I thought it was going to be about a poor kid (who never saw a bike) learning to walk on artificial legs--but the second threw me. I find out the MC isn't human, so why did grandpa talk to him/her about walking and bikes??

    The title makes me think this going to be a Little-Mermaid-gets-legs kind of story, but the walking/bikes could come in later.

    Also, there's no transition between talking to grandpa in the morning and the reef party in the afternoon. Just start with the party and work in the bikes and legs later, if they're going to be part of the story.

    What does "the coral reef that couldn't fall asleep" mean? It's only afternoon.

    The third paragraph is mostly telling us information.

    Tail fluke is the first indication of what the MC is. So what are they grasping with in the last paragraph. Did you mean Brasfort's grasp?

    "slowed his motion" is an odd way to say it.

    We don't find out until the last line what the party is for.

    Maybe some rearranging and tightening will smooth out your story. Good luck!

  8. Like others. I thought the story would be about a human girl without legs, and I thought, 'What a great opening.' But as I read on, it seems the opening doesn't work for the story you're telling because bikes and legs aren't part of your MC's world.

    Perhaps start with letting us know she's at a party and that she is a sea creature, and tell us what that creature is, and then go on from there. If she wishes she was human and had legs, or dreams of riding a bike, then let us know that, but set up the basics first.

  9. An undersea MG sounds fun, but some of the language here felt a bit wonky, and I had difficulty following the flow (no pun intended) in places.

    I know I'm reiterating the comments above, but the first line did throw me for a loop. (I also kept wondering why this mermaid's grandfather would talk about legs and bikes with no follow-up explanation. Was he deliberately trying to confuse her? What context was this conversation in?)

    This line is also a bit confusing: "And dolphins carried Oceaners of all ages back and forth along the coral reef that couldn't fall asleep." The syntax is a bit awkward, and I was left wondering- is it the Oceaners who can't fall asleep? What does their sleeplessness have to do with this scene. Is it taking place late at night?

    Last point: Perhaps introduce Brasfort by his name, as that's the way the narrator thinks of him, rather than "the largest octopus this end of the reef." As is, the 'graph makes it seem as if Gelli and the narrator used to call him Brasfort, but no longer do.