Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May Secret Agent #2

GENRE: Upper Middle Grade Mystery

You wouldn’t call me “gifted” unless awesome video game skill counted. According to Mom, it didn’t. But here I was, headed to a camp for math and science nerds.

The bus bumped up a steep, narrow road and stopped in front of a small building surrounded by trees. Hartland Mountain Science Academy. The camp was run by this private school for smart kids.

The thought of spending a week surrounded by brainiacs made my hands clammy. But I’d signed up to take my favorite thing in life to the next level by creating games. I couldn’t back out now. And anyway, my best friend and gaming bud, Aaron, was here too. Together, we’d defeated Endermen, armies of space marines, and the Orcs of Mordor. We could handle camp full of geeks.


I followed the backpack in front of me off the bus and looked around. To my right, campers and counselors stood in the shade near the tree line. To my left, a smaller group stood by the walkway that led to the building. “I bet those are the gamers.”

Aaron and I walked over. I was about to say “hi” to a chunky, red-headed guy when a sleek convertible rolled up.

A guy wearing dark, mirrored rock-star sunglasses got out of the passenger seat. He had a scowl on his face, black hair that stuck out in every direction, and the thinnest, most beautiful MacBook I’d ever seen tucked protectively under his arm.

Red elbowed me. “That’s Brent Kagon,” he whispered.


  1. The voice in this first page is wonderful, and you weave in details naturally. I enjoyed reading it, especially because it reminded me of my son's discussions of games. I think a mystery set against a science and math camp with a protagonist who is a gamer will definitely appeal to MG readers. And, I want to read on and find out who Brent Kagon is.

    Good Luck!

  2. This was a good opening. I like the shout-out to Minecraft, of course. Lots of great suspense, with the superstar, Brent Kagon, at the end, and it makes me want to read more to find out who this kid is and what he's about. STEM themes are popular too.

  3. Thanks for the nice comments! If you are in the contest and would like comments back, please leave your #! I'm critiquing for a cp today, but will be commenting tomorrow!

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  5. Oh, I like this!

    I think the whole thing could use a bit of polish, but the premise is great! And every kid understands the power of the sleep MacBook even if they aren't impressed with the convertible.

    I think boys would keep reading. Good job!!

  6. Really great voice and that would be enough for me to keep reading, even if I felt some of the information was woven in kind of clunkily. I'd be interested to see if this kid leaves camp as obsessed with gaming as he seems to be going in...

  7. I like the voice here. The premise sounds like a fun and it has a solid setting for a mystery. I would continue reading. Just a few nitpicks.

    You are missing the word 'a' in -- We could handle . . . camp full of geeks.

    There is an echo with the word 'Stood' -- 'To my right, campers and counselors stood in the shade near the tree line. To my left, a smaller group stood by the walkway that led to the building.' -- Consider replacing the second one with 'mingled'

    Another echo with guy -- 'I was about to say “hi” to a chunky, red-headed guy when a sleek convertible rolled up.
    A guy wearing dark,' -- Consider replacing the second 'guy' with 'dude'.

    Thanks for sharing, I'm post #33 and good Luck.

  8. Cut the first two lines. The story starts as they exit the bus.

  9. I love the voice! This is definitely the eight to probably fifteen-year-old's ideas on video games. You do a great job with scenery and descriptions. I am intrigued at Brent Kagon and what type of mystery will surround them! Thanks!

  10. This promises to be fun and a great read for middle grade boys with a fun topic and snappy voice. The first paragraph isn't there yet. The final sentence might benefit from a punch line - his nickname perhaps? Something that hints at a problem that will arise? Otherwise you've got me interested! Your readers will love this.

  11. Love your pitch perfect middle grade boy voice! You may want to work the info from the first two sentences into paragraph two and three. I'm intrigued about what's going to happen with Mr. Fancy Schmancy Brent Kagon! Good Luck!

  12. The premise is strong and love the concept of video game summer camp. The one thing I'm hung up on is why the MC doesn't think that gaming is geeky either. Does he hate science or just suck at it? Wouldn't some of the nerdy kids also be good at gaming? Why are they segregated? Or are all of the MC's gaming friends also just not nerdy?

  13. I enjoyed reading your entry. I'm interested in seeing the development of the MC, his friend Aaron and how it plays out with the arrival of Brent Kagon. I love the premise of the camp of math and science nerds and the “gamers.”

    Thanks you for your post, I'm post #32. Best of luck in the contest.

  14. I enjoyed the voice and felt this was a strong set up and opening page. Someone else suggested cutting the first two lines and I tend to agree. Otherwise it looks like the making of an awesome book. Best of luck!

  15. This was an enjoyable read.

    I don't have too much to offer by way of constructive feedback. I wondered only if this is indeed the perfect place to start your story. (It very well might be, but this ran through my mind.)

    Also, in general, this opening could use some polishing; some tightening and refining here and there.

    Overall, nice work!