Wednesday, May 16, 2018

May Secret Agent Contest #38

TITLE: Me and My Drum
GENRE: MG Contemporary

I didn’t learn a thing in science class. The bar-b-que ribs Mommy promised for dinner took over my brain. I hope she’s not too tired after work to cook. She was running around this morning like a scared puppy. I’m not surprised she overslept though. I went to the bathroom late last night and her light was on. That was the second night in a row. I’ll have to ask her about it while we’re in ribs heaven.

For now, I’m stuck on rib-less earth, waiting for Shelly. I bet she’s at her locker blabbing with somebody. I threaten to leave her everyday, but she knows I won’t.

The school buses drive off and most of walkers are halfway down the hill. Shelly finally comes outside with her bright smile and long braids swinging.

“Ready, Mika!” she says, pulling her bookbag tight against her back.

“You bet.” I shift my bag on my shoulders. “Ready…set…go!”

We race down the hill that leads away from the school. My stick legs can’t keep up, but my laughing isn’t helping either. Racing to the old brick house is the best part of my week—even if I lose.

“Smoked you again, girlfriend,” Shelly teases.

“That soda bottle tripped me up!” I say, breathing like I ran a mile instead of a block.

Shelly twists her mouth to the side. “Please, girlfriend, every Friday you got some excuse. I’m faster, that’s all. Don’t let these thick legs fool ya.”


  1. Sorry, but I found the first paragraph confusing because of the way it jumps around in time and place. In 8 sentences you describe a science class (past: earlier today), a dinner (future: tonight), a current hope (present) about tiredness after mom's work (future), a running-around mom (past: this morning), oversleeping mom (past: this morning), going to the bathroom (past: last night), "second night in a row" (past: the previous night), and having to ask mom while in ribs heaven (future: tonight's dinner). Whew! You might want to think about reducing the number of places and keeping the time to only one or two times in the past. Just my 2 cents. Oh, and maybe use "barbecue" instead of "Bar-b-que"?

  2. I think the two girl's friendship will be sweet, but most of the time I felt like I was being jerked for one topic to another without anything cohesive to give them a meaning.

  3. I'm having trouble really connecting with your MC. I agree this needs to be tightened up. My recommendation would be to give us more insight to Mika. Either focus on Mom or bring some more details on who Shelly is. Also, how old is your MC? This may just be me, but using mommy makes me think younger (5-8) but there there's talk of lockers and walkers and buses, so I'm thinking maybe your MC is in middle school (11-13).

  4. The voice in this is great.I love the first two sentences, but I think the rest of the first paragraph could be tightened. I'm not sure that comparing Mom to a scared puppy works, for instance. I think you really capture the relationship between the two girls. Good job!

  5. This opening didn't work for me. The meandering thoughts and general lack of focus on a story line felt disorienting. I found myself skimming until I hit: The school buses...

    I felt this was a better starting point for the story.

    From there, maybe focus on one of two directions: Mika and Shelly’s relationship versus concern for Mika’s mother. Which one is more important for the opening? Take that thread and run with it, weaving the other thread in a bit more subtly.

    Thank you so much for sharing!