Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Secret Agent #15

GENRE: MG Contemporary

A hurricane roared outside, but the storm brewing inside was the one Rook longed to fly away from.
"I talked to Miss Elizabeth," Mom said.

Rook tied back her long, black hair and rested her elbows on top of the couch. The rough fabric made her skin itch. Plywood covered the living room window, so Rook pointed her binoculars through a knothole and focused them on the bent trees outside, dark against the steel-grey clouds.

"Are you listening to me, young lady?"

Not if she could help it. But Mom's words kept pecking at her.

Rook tapped the leather patch on her shoulder. Orion spread his brown wings, showing the white feathers underneath, and flapped over from his perch in the corner. He gripped the patch—Dad had made it so Orion's talons didn't wreck all of Rook's shirts—and rubbed the smooth curve of his beak against Rook's cheek. She tried not to laugh. That tickled.

"I said I talked to Miss Elizabeth."


Rook didn't know any Miss Elizabeth. She squeezed one eye shut and squinted through the other. Every so often a raindrop streaked through the hole in the plywood and splatted in front of Rook, as if trying to hit her. Hurricane Carol had been lashing out at the Georgia coast for several hours now. Carol might only be a category one, but a hurricane was a hurricane.

Orion made a soft noise and bent his head to preen his wing, his feathers brushing against Rook's cheek.


  1. I like the first line, but what follows doesn't support it. I like what follows, she's snarky and has a pet with talons, so I'm intrigued, and there's a storm, which is great, but in this case, I'd lose the first line. (Don't start with Mom's dialogue, though! You'll need to move that, too.)

  2. Could you start with Rook poking her binoculars through the knothole? That would intrigue me and could naturally flow into the hurricane brewing outside. I love how Mom's words "peck" at her - perfect verb for a bird-loving kid! I also like the bird - fun and unique. Could you include some interiority from Rook on how she feels about the hurricane? Is it worrying her or does she have a purely scientific interest in it?

  3. I like this line, "the storm brewing inside was the one Rook longed to fly away from" but I don't feel like what follows in any way shows this storm. Aside from the "young lady", Mom seems perfectly calm and I can't see any other evidence of a storm brewing.

    Also, this may be picky but the physical actions in the beginning confused me. Where are the binoculars when she's tying back her hair and leaning on her elbows? The problem with giving such a detailed outline of a character's actions is that you're implying that you're giving us everything so when we miss something like her picking up the binoculars, it's confusing.

    Good luck!

  4. I liked this, I liked the line about the mom's words pecking at her. I am also intrigued with the hurricane outside, and I wonder who Miss Elizabeth is and how it's all going to play out.