Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September Secret Agent #15

TITLE: Winicker
GENRE: Early Middle Grade, Chapter Book

Winicker Wallace hated Paris. She was eight years old and used to wear her butter-blonde hair in two buns on either side of her head. For the last two weeks however, Winicker had worn her hair in one single solitary bun at the back of her head. This was her Mourning Bun. She was mourning the loss of her favorite town (Three Rivers) in her favorite state (Massachusetts) in her favorite country (The United States of America). Two weeks ago, Winicker’s mother started her new job in Paris (which was not in Three Rivers or Massachusetts or The United States of America). Now Winicker’s family lived in France, and Winicker did not speak French. She hated Paris and she hated being away from Three Rivers, but she liked that her family was in Paris with her. Especially Grandma Balthazar.

At breakfast on Sunday morning, Grandma Balthazar poured black coffee out of their new French coffee press into her new French coffee cup. “Winicker, you will love Paris. You just need to give it a chance.” Grandma Balthazar dressed differently in Paris. She didn’t wear her pink jogging suit, or her pink sweatshirt with the puffy white cat on the front. (Winicker loved her grandmother’s puffy white cat sweatshirt.) Now she wore loose, buttoned shirts with leggings and scarves and sunglasses.


  1. I like the line 'loss of her town, state and country' then said Paris 'not in the same town or state or country.' That made me smile right away.

    I don't think you need the line 'but she liked that her family was in Paris with her.' Of course her family is with her, she's eight years old.
    Why is she talking about grandma pouring coffee when most likely at eight years old she isn't drinking any of it?

  2. I like your perky, homesick MC! Her adorable little voice comes right through. Here are some thoughts:

    -you use parantheticals a lot. I love them too. But they lose emphasis, and in some places (eg. the 2nd paragraph) aren't needed because they're a bit repetative of information that's already clear. Consider omitting the grandma's cat sweatshir paranthetical and see if the story comes through cleaner. That will help you get more out of your first 250.

    -MC feels maybe a bit mature for 8 years old... consider upping her age? Maybe she's 10 instead?

    -Try reading this first 250 out loud, and see if there are any spots that trip you up as you read. It doesn't feel quite natural...

    This was a fun read. Thank you!

  3. I like the voice on this. It was fun and sound just like I imagine an 8 year old girl might.

    I'm a little confused about Grandma. Was she already living in Paris and dressed differently when she visited the MC? Did she already live with the family and move to Paris with them? And, if so, Grandma's style changed within 2 weeks of moving there? Maybe, but that doesn't quite ring true to me.

  4. I love this. Nice Opening. Great voice. I immediately love Winicker! Fun concept too- an American in Paris for the middle grade set. I have no criticism except I wish I had more to read. Good luck!

  5. Such a fun, playful voice. Lose the first sentence and open with the line about the buns. Also, it may just be the blog formatting, but those paragraphs look chunky for a kids' book. But generally this is great.

  6. I love the voice in this. The writing is clean, precise, and funny. I can imagine Winicker and her Grandma Balthazar. I sure hope something happens here, starting at the 251st word, because you did a good job hooking the reader with this character in words 1 through 250.