Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May Secret Agent #34

TITLE: Drew Horrible
GENRE: MG fantasy

Drew Horrible pulled his robe tighter around him, clutching a small crumpled paper in his left hand. A chill snaked down his spine. The light from the cave ceilings above had dimmed to a soft glow, taking its warmth with it. But it was more than the frosty night air that set his teeth chattering.

“Fangs of Apollo,” Drew sighed, surveying his war-torn appearance. His father would not approve, and now he’d have to sneak into the castle through the kitchens to avoid a vicious scolding, and he was already late as it was.

He clutched his paper tighter, taking cover behind a precariously leaning orange tree. Its fruit looked more purple-ish than orange.


Something else for his dad to yell about.

From Drew’s spot in the garden behind the fruit trees, the castle’s eastern wall stood clearly visible. Light poured from the row of windows, where the banquet was surely almost underway.

Ugh. The banquet.

Drew brushed his hair from his eyes. The paper in his left hand peeked up at him innocently. Ever since he’d received the note that afternoon, a dull ache had clamped on to his head with relentless tenacity. Un-crumpling the note, he read his father’s words for the hundredth time:


All eyes will be on you tonight, so look sharp, and take care not to slouch like a Commoner, as you are so often in the habit of doing. Also, I have a surprise announcement concerning you, so you’d do well to pay attention.


  1. Is Drew in a fancy robe or a bathrobe? I initially thought bathrobe - which intrigued me.

    You drew me in with the announcement at the banquet. I would keep reading, although I don't really get into fantasy.

  2. This beginning grabs the interest of the reader. It has good flow, an interesting character and a nice voice. At the end of the second paragraph, I would put a period after 'scolding' and make the next sentence, 'He was already late'. I'd like to continue reading this one!

  3. I liked this and the ending with the note ensured I would read on.

    A few small points to consider changing -- “Fangs of Apollo,” Drew sighed -- There should be a period after 'Apollo' as 'Drew sighed' is not a proper dialogue tag.

    You have an echo with the word clutch close together -- 'clutching a small crumpled paper' and 'He clutched his paper tighter'

    I'm not sure a middle grader would use the word 'precariously'

    Beside this small nitpicks, I'm in. Thanks for sharing and good luck.

  4. Love the name. LOVE. LOVE LOVE. Commoner isn't a race unless you made it one so not capitalized. No saying ugh about things. Because--no. don't.

  5. This was excellent.

    I liked the name too. And to have it as your first two words was a smart choice; a potential conflict, straight up, to hook me in.

    I was a bit puzzled as to how he could survey his war torn appearance. Was there a mirror in the cave, or was he looking down at himself? It might help to make that clear. Otherwise, I thought you were describing something that wasn't actually possible (so far as I could tell).

    Robes, magic, boy magician - I'd want it to be distinctly different from the existing, well-known MG fantasies of our time.

    Otherwise, I loved it. I'd keep reading.

  6. I really like this. Terrific name and his robe caught my attention. Fangs of Apollo made me smile. Just wondering where he is though. I pictured him in a cave bc of the cave ceiling above him but then he was behind an orange tree. Had he left the cave to sneak in the castle? No big deal, it's a minor issue. I'd definitely keep reading. Nice work!

  7. I really enjoyed this, and I would definitely keep reading.

    I was confused about where Drew actually is -- in a cave, but there's an orange tree? And then he's in a garden?

    I'd love more detail on this: surveying his war-torn appearance. Can you play with this moment to give it more impact?

    You could also probably pare back a bit on the mentions of the paper in Drew's hand.

    I'm so curious to know what happens next!

  8. Good job establishing the genre and showing the dread the main character feels about the banquet. The reader might like the main character even more if we saw what mischief he was up to that created the war-torn appearance.