Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Secret Agent #13


“Patsy, stop that infernal daydreaming,” Mother said. The words whooshed out of her like air from a punctured bicycle tire. Then after a sharp inhale, “Don’t you drop that sheet in the dirt!”

“Yes, ma’am.” I grabbed the wet sheet corner and sniffed the unmistakable scent of Clorox. She would have a hissy-fit for sure if I let go of the sheet.

Boy howdy, Mother always interrupted my daydreams. I conjured up another. I was tramping through mounds of snow. Nice, cold snow up to my knees…

                   “Patsy?”  Mother called my name with an arched eyebrow.

                    Dang it! Busted again.  How does she do it? I swiped away a sweat mustache with the back of my free hand, then licked the salt from my lips. Lordy mordy. Mother thinks August
and chores go together like bread and mayonnaise.

                   Perspiration dripped onto the lenses of my glasses. Do they make glasses with windshield wipers? I pushed the mother-of-pearl frames up for the umpteenth time and wished I’d
pulled my hair into a ponytail this morning. It hung thick around my neck and shoulders like the Cowardly Lion’s mane in The Wizard of Oz.

       The sweet scent of honeysuckle drifted towards me from branches draped over the fence behind the clothesline. Daddy’ll be home in a few hours, I thought, and pressed my lips
together. That uneasy-butterfly-feeling began in the pit of my stomach as it did every day  around 5:30.


  1. Aw I feel for Patsy. We daydreamers hate chores;) I feel like you show her well, but maybe show the heat/setting before going into the cold fantasy. I do get a good sense of her conflict already, with both parents. Check your formatting and extra spaces. And I wonder if 'hissy-fit' was a saying in the 50s? I know it was in the 80s but that threw me off a bit. Good luck :)

    1. thanks, Jan Flora. Yes, we did say hissyfit in 1959, at least in the south. I am so sorry about the spacings and format. I tried three times to copy/paste/post this and correct the problem. My computer and the program would not cooperate. So, I just went with it. I know it looks unprofessional, but I am a dim bulb when it comes to technology. Apologize. thanks for your read. Good luck with your ms.

  2. I liked Patsy right away, and I agree about getting the setting in sooner. I'd like to know where she lives (what state?) Alabama in August would be much different than Maine or Montana.

    Nice job at hinting at a problem with her dad without coming right out and saying it. It draws me in making me want to read more.

    I did think comparing her hair to the cowardly lion's mane was a bit much, but that's probably subjective.

    1. Barbara: appreciate your comments and catches. Easy to add location in earlier. Maybe I should rethink the cowardly lion detail...attempt at a detail to reflect the time period. But lots of other ways to say that. Thank you for reading and good luck with your ms.

  3. Patsy came right across as a strong MG character. What I know of her so far is that she is a daydreamer. Is that to escape reality or to escape boredom? With her father reference, you hint at much bigger problems, but her humor makes me lean towards escaping boredom, not reality. Is this correct for the beginning of her arc? Or will I soon see a shift into darker thoughts? Be sure her motivations are driven accurately from the very first page.

    Your sense of place is very strong, and the details put me right into her world. You have a strong voice here. Well done!

  4. Nice, fast pace to the writing, and it sets up the sense of progression quickly, which is nice for this readership. While I'm not connecting with the character's voice, I do find that it has done it's job and set enough of a contrast that I do get an instant feeling of dread when I get to the last line, though. So, even though I didn't *feel* connected, I do care what's going to happen to this character and I'm intrigued to learn more about her story.

    Things I liked:
    • writing style and pace fitting for readership
    • unique voice
    • offers a nice balance of internal motivation with external setting interaction

    • begins with a quote (which, again, I've learned is a pet peeve of many, so often best avoided if possible)
    • voice seems a bit forced at times (a very subjective comment, I know)