Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May Secret Agent #29

TITLE: The adventures of Finn Farrow and the Intrepid Time Travelers
GENRE: Middle Grade Fantasy

Finn Farrow had found the old comb in his sock drawer. The silver was dark with tarnish and the teeth were brittle and discolored. His dad had told him it was a miniature time machine. Probably so he wouldn't throw the disgusting thing out.

The boy angrily threw his socks into his suitcase. He should be outside with his friends! They had ridden down to the creek to go fishing, celebrating the arrival of summer. And next year they would be freshman in high school. They were practically adults!

But not Finn. No, he was packing. He couldn't believe his dad was making him go to Egypt for the summer to dig for old useless artifacts!

A ray of sun peeked through his curtains lighting up the intricate design etched in the fine silver. A woman in long dress brandishing a sword covered the handle of the comb.

Finn remembered his dad telling him not to touch it. "It's not a toy. It very old. It has been passed down generation to generation. And someday it will be yours. I wonder where it will take you. I wonder who you will meet."

Finn tossed the comb on his desk. His dad always irritated him with his ridiculous stories of his travels to Ancient Egypt.


  1. Maybe: "He should be outside with his friends, who had ridden." It may be a smoother transition to the, "but not finn"

    "go to Egypt for the summer for his dad to dig useless artifacts." I don't think the trip is for Finn to dig - he is just dragged along. Instead of "useless artifacts" you could mention the dad's job as a professor or name the university or whatever.

    "fine silver of the comb. The design was a woman in a. . ."

    If the comb is old and valuable, etc, why would Dad let him keep it in his sock drawer?

    I like where this is going and I would continue reading.

  2. Time traveling and Egyptian artifacts sound like great set-up for an MG fantasy/adventure. But I feel like this starts off with some weak verbs (to be/to have) and a seemingly out-of-place reference to a magical comb.

    We don't yet know Finn well enough to know why he isn't at least a little excited to be going to Egypt...I mean, to see the pyramids and mummies? Sounds like it would be more interesting to a 13 year old than riding bikes. So give us a real sense of why he's not excited, what's so alluring about what his friends have planned (what he's missing out on) and what his relationship is with his father so that we really believe that this trip is going to be a real drag. Because of course it's not going to be a drag--it's going to be an awesome time-traveling adventure! Best of luck.

    1. Why is it so hard to write the beginning of a book. The book is written. The time travelers return safely, well not all of them, but I can't find the opening three paragraphs. Thanks for the feedback. Maybe one day I will figure this out!

    2. In both of my books, I've revamped the opening chapters more than any others in the manuscript! Getting it right is so hard, but once you do, you can be confident that you'll have something that demands readers to keep turning pages :) Good luck!

  3. Okay I love a time-traveling comb--what a hoot. I don't like angry people so when he throws angry clothes into the suitcase you lost me. Kids are seldom really angry. They are afraid or bewildered of frustrated but not angry unless they are being attacked verbally. Starting out angry makes me not want to spend hours of my life with him.
    Keep the comb.

  4. This is a great start--I'd reduce to one well-placed exclamation mark, but show the anger with another example of body language. (Throwing the socks in the suitcase works well.) I like the detail on the comb, too.

  5. This is a strong start. Finn sounds 12 to me, though. Not 13/14. Also, you'll really have to be sure you differentiate your story from the others out there about digging for artifacts in Egypt + Magic.

    Overall, good work so far.