Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Secret Agent #18

TITLE: Fix Your Life!
GENRE: MG Contemporary Fantasy

April vacation starts the second the bell rings. The whole sixth grade streams out the door whooping and laughing and high-fiving. Groups of kids peel off in different directions. At my corner, I wave goodbye to my friends and head down my street alone. I stop to tie a flapping shoelace and when I straighten up, there’s a strange little man right in front of my face.

Yikes! I jump back. Where did he come from? I look up. Did he fall out of a tree?

“Greetings!” he says. “I’m Dexter, the host of Fix Your Life! The reality TV show that says what it does, and does what it says.”

Even my five-year-old sister Taylor knows you’re not supposed to speak to strangers, but I can’t stop myself.

“You don’t look like a TV host.”

He looks like a deranged elf; scrawny and a little hunched over, not much taller than me. He’s wearing a green, satin baseball jacket, tan chinos, high top Converse sneakers and a Yankees cap with the visor in the back. I do a quick visual sweep of the neighborhood. There’s no one else around, no cameramen, no production crew, no people.

He pokes his long, skinny nose in my face. “As you’ll soon find out, what you get is not always what you see, Little Lady.”

I lean backwards. This guy is not making sense. And if he is who he says he is how did he get here? People don’t just appear.


  1. I should preface my entry by saying I have virtually no experience with MG. That said, this is an interesting premise so far!

    To me, this reads really fast. Our MC comes out of school, we get a brief snippet of her environment and then BOOM--strange guy appears and we learn he's a TV show host. I don't feel grounded enough in this scene to care one way or the other for the MC. If this guy turned out to be a kidnapper, for example, I'm not sure I'd care that he took her away. As a reader, I need a little more in terms of character and scene development to really appreciate our MC, so that when Dexter does pop up, I can feel concerned with her.

    But I'm curious to know what kind of show Fix Your Life! is, so you have me there.

    Best wishes!

  2. I actually love the quick pace this beginning offers. it definitely pulled me in with the uniqueness of this man and the situation. But I do agree with the other comment that just a little bit extra information about the MC would be helpful. Right now she seems like your average character, a little forgettable. Can you give us something that would make her standout a little more? Perhaps describe how she leaves the school. Does she race out thinking about vacation? Is she excited to read a specific book? Is she dragging her feet because she dreads being stuck at home with her family? Would she rather be in school? Etc. At this point I'm more interested in the TV host than the MC and don't really know what kind of person she is. I am definitely intrigued and as i said, I love the quick pace and that it isn't complicated with description and details. I just feel like a tiny bit extra would help. (Please note, I also have zero experience with MG so could be way off base here).

  3. I like the voice here.

    I'm a little confused by the start of this. Is she already outside when the bell rings because it sounds like she's standing at the corner watching the entire sixth grade exit at once?

    My only other comment is that she's describing the kind of hat he's wearing but then says it's facing backwards. How would she know what's on the back of his head?

    Good luck!

  4. This is an interesting premise, but things are happening too fast for me to gain my footing as a reader. I’d love to build a stronger connection to the main character before the host appears, so that I can care what happens to her. And also get a greater sense of the world and why this host may be appearing to her now. What could she have going on in her life that might be in need of fixing? Contemporary fantasy is one of my favorite genres, but careful details are essential so that the reader understands how magic is fitting into a world that is otherwise our world as we know it.