Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July Secret Agent #27


If Dad hadn’t died falling from a roof when I was a baby, Mom wouldn’t have kept me chained to my room so much. She expected me to be as careless. So, I had forbidden plans to go to the reopening of Arrowhead Lake, home of the beast.

She just didn’t get me.

“Quit riding your bike fast. You'll fall and bust your skull open on a rock,” she said, as if we had boulders in our yard.

“I’m twelve.” I hit the brakes, sliding to an intentional halt.

“You getting smart with me?” Mom stood on the porch with her hands pressed against her hips. “Look what you did to my yard.”

Grass had lifted away from the dirt. Awesome! I smirked.

“Think it’s funny? Well, you can put your bike up for the day. How’s that Mr. Knievel.” She walked to the driveway, glaring at me with narrowed brows.

“Who’s Knievel?”

“Just do as I say.” She pointed to my bike’s prison.

“Whatever.” Mom always ruined my fun. Don’t run. Don’t jump. Don’t, don’t, don’t. She believed everything we did in life had dire consequences. But the only results I ever saw from my “reckless behavior” was her grounding me.

“I’ll be home late,” Mom said as she got into her silver beater-with-a-heater. “I’d better not hear talk about you running around town. Hear me?”

“Yep,” I answered while putting my bike up. She waited for me to lock the shed before backing out of the drive.


  1. This is fun. I can relate to the overprotective mom thing right away. I think just the fact that he's chained in his room is more intriguing w/o the backstory about his dad yet though. You could just lend to the fact that he's kept in his room and not say why until a few lines later. That would make me anticipate and give the opening line more punch.
    I love the interaction with the mom. She's protective but tough about it, which makes me feel for him. The "hands pressed to her hips" is a strong image.

    Not sure I like the bike's prison idea. Doesn't work as well for me.

    Nice work.

  2. Some of the words here are really strong/evocative, like being "chained" to his room, his bike's "prison," the "silver-beater-with-a-heater." It makes the voice engaging.

    Maybe because I'm a mom, but I was really annoyed/put off by him smirking about wrecking the grass. Otherwise, though, I felt bad for him being grounded all the time, and can see why he'd act out.

  3. I like the narrative voice in this one. I get a sense of the character as well as the MC's world from this opening. I also relate to the MC and root for them to get to the lake. I do worry that he'll hurt himself, but that just adds to me caring about the character.

    I also get a decent sense of story, I feel like the movement of the plot will be related to the MC trying to rebel/get out from under his mother's scrutiny.

  4. I like this. I like the MC's voice. I even like his attitude considering the fact that he's so over-protected. I'm already rooting for him to have some fun and maybe even get into a dangerous situation that makes him appreciate his mom's worry.

    Having said that, I have to say that I don't care for the mom at all. She seems on the point of being mean, rather than just over-protective. She's just too in your face and abrupt with him, and since he's lost one parent already, I'd think she'd be a bit more gentle considering, even with his attitude.

    You could possibly soften her up just a bit by having her ask him to slow down, rather than "Don't ride your bike fast." And maybe "Look what you've done to the yard that I've tended to so carefully," rather than "Look what you did to MY yard?" Just my take as a mom, I guess.

    The only thing that tripped me up was in the beginning, when you say so I had forbidden plans to go - I didn't quite get that.

    But again, the voice is quite engaging and I'd love to see more. Good luck!

  5. I loved the opening, but then quickly got confused with the forbidden plans. Did it have something to do with Dad dying? I realize not, but still, it felt jarring the first time I read it.

    I love the tone here. The only thing I might question is a few of the words don't sound natural for a boy in casual conversation. As I've said in other posts, it's not that boys don't know these words. They do. They just don't use them normally. Just my opinion.

  6. I love this. I feel like I've seen it before--maybe the Writer's Voice Contest?--and I loved it then. My opinion has not changed. The only thing I can suggest is that you clarify if your MC is actually chained with a physical chain or a metaphorical one. it gives me pause and makes me wonder.

    I also like the idea of your MC being determined to rebel.

  7. Hahaaha--- I was glad he wrecked the grass -- she deserved it!! I really got into this. You did a great job making me root for him.

    One thing, and maybe I just missed it, but you didn't mention his first name at all. I went back to look... and still didn't see it. It's late at night. I might just be delirious at this point. I forgot to put the first name of my character in the whole first chapter in my last draft...

    Good luck with your project. :)

  8. I like the voice here and am enjoying this character, so I’d read on. The first paragraph and opening lines seem to jump around a bit: after the comment about being chained to his room, I expected him to be in his room, rather than outside. The last line of the first paragraph is also confusing, but I expect this is just a typo?