Wednesday, May 16, 2018

May Secret Agent Contest #32

GENRE: MG Paranormal

Derek figured there might be far worse things in life than being raised in a funeral home. For example… um…

Okay, here’s one. You could have your brains eaten alive and slurped down by cranky, overworked zombies who haven’t had their morning coffee.

Or how about this? You could be stuffed into a spin dryer at Leo’s Laundromat & Hideous Stain Removal Service and set to Extra Dry/Huge Load.

But Derek Hyde wasn’t eaten and he wasn’t spin dried, either. Just driven to the narcoleptic town of Littleburp in the family car (actually, an old yellow school bus), and then to a really undesirable address: 1313 Slimeytoes Lane.

As the bus splashed its way through a thunderstorm on the worst day of Derek’s life (so far), his mom and dad worked at keeping his spirits up by singing their favorite, most embarrassing song: Poopy Head, Poopy Head, Don’t You Be a Poopy Head.

It didn’t help.

It was bad enough his parents dragged Derek out of his seventh grade class and away from all his friends to limp across the country in a broken-down bus on this Journey to Nowhere. Much worse was the notion of moving him into a spooky old manor house they planned to convert into a funeral home.

Because his parents were funeral directors. Morticians. Undertakers.

On this blustery autumn day, Derek watched through rain-streaked windows as they screeched to a halt in front of the scariest mansion he’d ever seen.

It had towers. With turrets.


  1. I really like the set-up and Derek has a memorable voice so far. The opening line starts out very good, but then ends pretty awkward when it gets to the "for example" part. My suggestion is to put, "For example, here's one." Then conjoin the first two paragraphs :)

  2. I like the concept and opening, especially narcoleptic town. It gets a little choppy once his family picks him up. The poopy song has the potential to be funny but it just reads like gratuitous potty humor.

  3. I like where you're going with this, but I think the opening tells too much. The last two lines really caught my attention. Is that where this should start?

  4. I really like Derek’s voice-good job! And I like the premise but I have a few suggestions:
    The living in a spooky house to be used as a funeral home seems cliche to me. Consider changing to something unexpected.
    I am not sure why the story starts with his parents picking him up. I got confused because at first I thought he already lives in a funeral home and then when he gets picked up coupled with the fact I know it’s paranormal, I thought he was dead and he was going to haunt people somehow. So I agree that the story does not start in the right place.

  5. Did the parents really sing a song with Poopy Head as lyrics? I imagine it is Derek's most embarrassing song. He may have more problems than being the son of morticians. : - )

    You did a good job describing how much Derek resents moving across the country.It might also be nice to know something about the friends he left behind.

    But having said that, getting him to the castle with turrets a bit sooner would be good.

  6. When I was reading this, I mostly felt it to be a little cliche. The "moves to a spooky house" thing has been done many times before. It is possible that you are making a more lighthearted ghost story, or poking fun at the genre. If this is so, you might want to give a few more clues. If not, you could spice up the details about the new home--make it sound a little less derivative.

  7. This concept is fun! Love the voice. At the mention of zombies, I was sure the next paragraph should have read "which could actually happen in a funeral home."

    I'm not sure what the premise is, and I'd love a better hint at the plot from the title, which feels too vague to me. Maybe consider a title with a bit more promise to make this stand out from the horde of haunted house stories.

    Thank you for sharing!