Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March Secret Agent #40

TITLE: The Firefly Field
GENRE: Younger MG: Fiction Adventure

Creeped out by rustling in the bushes, Herby whizzes over a branch and glances over his left wing.

Wham!

Herby plunges to the ground. Dizzy, he looks up at Alex hovering above him. Herby’s light goes into full flicker spasm.

“Watch where you’re flyin,” Alex shouts. “Freaky fly can’t control his miserable yellow light. Francine has got to be as blind as a moth to like you!” He yanks Herby’s antennae and darts off.

Herby twitches his feelers and flips over. Crawling home, he questions out loud, “What’s with that new fly, Alex? Doesn’t he know Francine and I’ve been friends since glow worm stage? Why isn’t my light green like everyone else’s? And will I ever control this embarrassing nervous-light disorder? ”

With thoughts churning, Herby arrives at his cozy home that lies deep within the folds of the grass. He scuttles over to his mother, Claire, “Why’s my light yellow?”

“I knew that question was coming,” his mom says while rocking her glowworm twins. “You inherited it.”

“From who?”

“Your great-great grandfather,” says his mom.

“What do you know about him?”

“Not much, he had a yellow light, and died in a spider’s web.”

“I learned today in school, fireflies never escape spider webs. And now you tell me my great-great-grandfather, who I look like, died in one. Next, you’ll say it was a deadly Stryper.”

“I’m afraid so, Herby, but his light barely glimmered when it happened – he was old.”

“You mean a firefly doesn’t matter when its light starts fading?”

12 comments:

  1. This has got some cute potential! It needs to be smoothed out a little though. The dialog is a little choppy and rough, but if you work on that and your sentence construction I think you'd have an adorable story that young readers will love. Good Luck!!

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  2. What a fun premise! Kid fireflies - love it!

    There were a few passages that tripped me up:

    Herby twitches his feelers and flips over. Crawling home, he questions out loud, “What’s with that new fly, Alex? Doesn’t he know Francine and I’ve been friends since glow worm stage? Why isn’t my light green like everyone else’s? And will I ever control this embarrassing nervous-light disorder? ”

    --- In that passage, I think the last question is a little advanced perhaps for the age group. I also don't think you need the framing of him questioning aloud, unless this is a specific personality quirk of his (ie if he's an autistic firefly). I'd just keep it IM (Internal Monologue).

    I admit I haven't read in this genre in a while, so I may not be the best to give advice on this, but the last part read a little "telly" and a bit flat "oh, by the way your grandpa was eaten by a spider, no big deal" ... though I totally get that it's a good idea not to make thigns too scary in MG, I wanted a touch more emotion there maybe.

    Also - and again probably b/c I haven't read in this genre much of late - the 3rd person POV read strangely to me when mixed with present tense. I find 3rd past, 1st past, or 1st present much easier to read, but that might just be personal opinion.

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  3. What a great concept! I would suggest a couple of changes: Have you considered perhaps starting the story right where Herby asks his mom why his light is yellow? I'm suggesting this, because as the reader that is the first line that grabbed my attention and made me wonder 'why is his light yellow?", you know? I think that the beginning few paragraphs could be worked in elsewhere as I found all the names a little confusing for the first page. I'd like to meet Herby and his mom first and then be gradually introduced to his friends and home. I hope this helps ;-) Good luck!

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  4. The story peeked my interest with the start of “Watch where you’re flyin,”

    Good luck, it seems fun!!!

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  5. The story peeked my interest with the start of “Watch where you’re flyin,”

    Good luck, it seems fun!!!

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. Thanks everyone for taking the time to critique my work.

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  8. You have a cute concept here, but I think your pacing is a bit faster than I would have liked. It would be nice if you developed the world and characters a bit more. You're also cramming in a lot of information through the dialogue, which means you're missing the chance to let your reader watch it unfold. My advice to you is slow down and have fun letting it all develop. Know that you don't have to explain everything. Even the lower middle grade reader will understand that a firefly being stuck in a spider's web is dangerous for the firefly. Good luck!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Danielle, you've given me something think about for my next revision session.

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  9. I liked how you established right away that they were firefiles and it had a really nice feel to it - the dialogue and the action was easy to follow. I found myself instantly oriented to their little world and I would want to keep reading.

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    1. Great to know! Thanks so much, Daniel.

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