Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September Secret Agent #26

GENRE: MG Contemporary

Harrison Templeton has a big fat head. Thankfully I sit right behind him. When I slouch, Mrs. Cooper, my seventh-period Language Arts Teacher, can't see a single hair on my entirely normal sized one.

My right knee taps in time with each second - thirty minutes to go. I've been waiting for-freaking-ever for the first day of baseball practice. This year, with my pitching arm, we might go all the way to the Little League World Series.

"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.

Ugh. I'd rather eat moldy broccoli than read this book.

They should let us read something cool, like The Boy Who Saved Baseball or The Wild Pitch. Heck, I kind of even liked Holes. All this talk of themes and symbolism makes me want to poke my eye out with my number two pencil.

I duck out of her line of sight. She's going to call on someone to read out loud soon.

My eyes blur and I can smell the grass on the field as I wind up to pitch. "Strike!" the ump yells.

“Jake?” I snap my head forward as my heart hammers.

“What?” My voice comes out high, like a girl.

Next to me, Kyle Filbert snickers, his black hair flopping forward and covering one of his eyes like a pirate's eye patch. I shoot my arch-enemy a dirty look.


  1. I like it! I take it the awkward transition is part of the story?

    Anyway, this reminds me of the Dan Gutman Weird School books a little, but for a slightly older crowd.

  2. Excellent! I can only come up with one quibble: I didn't like "arch-enemy," it threw me a little and broke up the nice flow you had going.

  3. Great voice, but probably the wrong starting place. You might want to move the start forward to a more interesting moment.

  4. Great MG voice, but this a generic MG classroom scene, the kind of thing that's been done too often. So, I'd either start in another place, or give it a unique twist. Also, there needs to be at least a hint of what the story is going to be, of what the character wants. Just wanting to play ball instead of sitting in class is again too generic. But I like this kid and the voice is good.

  5. I like your opening lines, but I think to pull off a story that begins in a common classroom setting, you have to really ramp up the humor, the voice or the dialogue - or all three. Everything, really. Try to rise above the ordinary. It's not that the start isn't working, but I've heard many editors and agents complain of seeing too many novels that open in run of the mill classrooms.

  6. The MG voice sounds through loud and clear! I like that you can easily tell what category is just by reading that first paragraph. Well done!

    "...can't see a single hair on my entirely normal sized one" was a little awkward for me. I had to read it again to get your meaning. I'd change "one" to "noggin" or something, so its more clear that what the teacher can't see is his head.

    Really well done, though. I love this voice! Gook luck with everything!

  7. I like your sense of humor but the voice doesn't feel authentic to me. Real kids wouldn't say, "I'd rather eat moldy broccoli," or "makes me want to poke my eye out with a number 2 pencil." That sounds like an adult, trying to sound like a kid. And your MG readers will hear that. Also, trying not to be noticed in the classroom and then being called on is so, so, so overdone. This isn't bad writing but you need to hit this with a big revision for content.