Wednesday, May 16, 2018

May Secret Agent Contest #16

TITLE: Forest of the Sea
GENRE: MG Fantasy

Yesterday was the last time I’d see Grandma. The mermaid story Grandma told last night was the last one I’d ever hear.

“Mom, I’m going to draw,” I said before turning the knob on the door.

Two steps and I’d be out of the house. Away from the gloom and tears. No more murmurs of the fire or how horrible it was that Grandma was no longer with us. Ten minutes to the beach where I’d spend the summer drawing, sketching, perfecting my charcoal skills.

“No. We have guests. You’ll stay until everyone is gone.”

I shook my head. “Please. I don’t want to stay. You and Dad know these people. I don’t. Please let me go.”

While I waited for Mom’s answer I shifted the backpack hanging on my back. The straps pressed into my shoulders since it was stuffed full of art supplies. Spending the rest of the day at the two-thousand year-old forest buried by the sands of the sea sounded a lot better than constantly thinking about Grandma.  No one liked to do it, especially me. Besides, I was pretty sure she’d rather I picnic on the rock near the beach and make up stories about what happened to the forest than bury my head in my hands and cry all day.

One of my favorites was the story about how the tree trunks reached far beneath the land into the sea. They were a passageway to the world of mermaids Grandma liked to talk about.


  1. I like the mermaid hints here, but some of this feels a little repetitive. You have "last" in the first paragraph three times. You also repeat the part about crying a couple of times.

    Personally, I think this would make a great first sentence: "Spending the rest of the day at the two-thousand year-old forest buried by the sands of the sea sounded a lot better than constantly thinking about Grandma." I would also make it clear from the start that Grandma has died, since the first sentence doesn't make that clear.

    Also, I wasn't quite sure what this sentence meant: " No one liked to do it, especially me." Do you mean no one likes mourning? I'd make that a little clearer as well.

    But other than that, it held my interest and I like where I think this is going. Good luck!

  2. I think it would be stronger to open with what's happening to the MC right now instead of yesterday (you could cut the first paragraph, for example). I like that the MC wants to get away and grieve in her own way - that feels like how a kid would react. The MC mentioned she doesn't want to think about Grandma, but she seems to be going to a place she connects with Grandma.

  3. This story is so good. It starts off right away and has a clear indication that the inciting incident is coming. LOVE

    I would change the I shook my head. do something a little different. like I put on my saddest face.

  4. This reminds me of when I was a little girl and my grandma died. Very emotional for me

  5. sad for the MC but love how vivid it gets, with the feels. Also might i suggest replace art supplies with something else, it kinda pulled me out and made me feel the writer's presence.
    ...think you missed a word here? I was pretty sure she’d rather I picnic....
    The story already has a deeper sense of reasoning and who doesnt love mermaids!! Good luck

  6. I really like how you handled her grief. It seems very authentic for how a child would act and feel in this situation. Also, it's not so overwhelming as to weigh down the opening and turn readers off.

  7. This was a nice first page, but the flashback at the very beginning felt forced, as if it came from you the author rather than from the main character. Maybe consider opening with the 3rd paragraph, which hints nicely at grief while creating some intrigue and planting some curiosity.

    I see a lot of mermaid manuscripts and I would be curious to see how this one stands out.

    Thank you so much for sharing!