Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May Secret Agent #28

TITLE: Eve of Destruction
GENRE: Middle Grade Historical Fiction

July 1967

I sat on the edge of my bed reluctant to begin the day. Had I dreamt yesterday? Mary Elaine's pool party had been the best in every way - from the postcard-perfect weather to the walk home with Stephen. Wait, did Stephen really promise to drop by later in the week? He seemed happy when he left - jumping down the stairs and running up the street. In all my thirteen years nothing this cool has ever happened to me, Meggie Fallon!

But that was yesterday. Today will not be so cool, guaranteed. I don't know exactly what it will bring - maybe more of Dad's unpredictable rants or Mom's stubborn silence. But one thing I know for sure, yesterday's coolness is about to be replaced by reality.

I looked across the room at my older sister, Bernadette. She turned fifteen in May. Bernie was still asleep - or pretended to be. The clock radio on our bureau read 7:05. No wonder I could hear the twins downstairs. They never slept beyond 6:30. Their three-year-old footsteps clambered up the steps.

"Meggie, Meggie, Mommy said you have to get us breakfast." Robbie and Joan burst into my room.

"Knock first, please," I whispered to them." And don't wake up Bernie."

Robbie stepped back over the threshold and banged the door frame with his toy hammer. "Knock like this Meggie?" He asked with a mischievous grin. I gave him "the look," then smiled in spite of it.


  1. I am intrigued by a story set in 1967 - I was a kid then. . .

    I think you might want to lead off with the "Meggie, Meggie," and then let her sit on her bed and think. It gives a little more energy to the scene.

    I am not sure many people had alarm clock radios in those days - it would have been rare.

    From the description of the mom and dad I am picturing a couple in marital angst, trying to live the suburban dream of the 60s.

    I would keep reading.

  2. Maybe consider changing the wording of "Had I dreamt yesterday?" I had to read it twice to get what you were saying. To eliminate the question you could try something like...Yesterday was too good to be true. It must have been a dream.

  3. I really like this. However after trying to write a story from a 13 year old point of view, I'm not sure someone this age group would say postcard perfect day or promise to drop by later.
    You have my attention!

  4. I think starting with the twins banging on the door will make this feel more like a scene. The first three paragraphs feel a bit like info-dump--who Meggie's family is, what happened yesterday, what her life is like. It would be stronger to show us this. Is she daydreaming about Stephen when the twins interject with their chaos? Does she have a ton of chores to do (or homework, or ???) that are now going to take her away from going over the details of the exciting party in her head? Weaving in the details of her life more subtly as some action happens will strengthen this and maybe give it a stronger sense of period-appropriate voice. Best of luck.

  5. Read it aloud. There are some bits where the tenses were off. Or have someone read it to you. It didn't feel 13 for some reason. Maybe because she started out remembering the past--even if it was just yesterday. Onward and upward!

  6. I like that you started off with a juicy good pool party and the mention of her crush, then did a 180 back to reality. That sequence, combined with your good mix between Meggie's inner life and the boisterous twins keeps this vibrant and active. You've set the mood. Good job!

  7. Nice tension...Meggie wakes up after dreaming of a fun party and her new crush, Stephen, and the worrying begins. Will he come back as promised? Will her dad wreck the day with his ranting? I'd like to see the twins barge in earlier though. Perhaps start with the energetic twins and weave in Meggie's thoughts as she goes about her morning? Lots of good here...I'd like to know what happens next.

  8. There's a lovely quality to your voice; nice work.

    For me, there's too much telling in the opening paragraphs, and you're possibly overloading your reader with information that can come later, especially about the parents. I recommend playing with these paragraphs and incorporating more showing.

    Keep refining!