Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Secret Agent #35

GENRE: MG Light Fantasy

Shivering in my pajamas, I whispered Mom in counts of eleven. My fingers wriggled in rhythm as I completed the sequence. I inched open my parents’ bedroom door, hovering in a moment of possibility—Mom sleeping, ready to wake and turn my twelfth birthday into the best one ever.
Moonlight peeked through the blinds, reflecting onto the neatly made bed. A scent of furniture polish added to the unused air. My bubble of hope popped, leaving a sour taste at the back of my throat. Such an idiot to think she’d be here after a year of absence.

I hugged my arms tight and crept toward the bedroom I shared with my big sister. Nora had her own space until Dad brought his friend Emily into our home last month. He figured we needed a live-in nanny while he traveled on business. Emily’s son, Tony the Terrible, got Nora’s room. According to Dad, having a boy my age living with us would be fun.

He was wrong about that. And wrong about Emily caring for us. Last time I woke her before the alarm screeched at seven, she banned my dog from sleeping on my bed. Emily’s superpower? To create the worst possible punishments.

I sneaked past her room, moving like a shadow, the wooden floorboards sticky under my bare toes.
Not silent enough to fool my dog. Peggy’s good-morning dance exploded into the predawn calm, her thumping tail banging in joyful beats against the wall.


  1. I'm interested in this, but confused by the beginning: I whispered Mom in counts of eleven. My fingers wriggled in rhythm as I completed the sequence.

    Does it take to the count of 11 to whisper mom? I just don't get it.

    I like this: Emily’s superpower? To create the worst possible punishments. But I'd put it before the "Last time I woke..."

    Good luck.

  2. I have nothing negative to say about this. I think you've done a great job setting the scene for us. Well done!

  3. You novel starts in a good place. I love that you're letting the reader know his mom has been missing.

    I think the term 'unused air' is a weird one. Maybe 'stale air' instead?

    Also, I wonder if the background info about his family could come later. I feel like it takes us out of what's currently happening in the scene. I don't think it should be on the very first page agents see.

    Besides that, your writing is really polished, so good luck!

  4. A couple things:
    -I was confused by the counts of eleven. Is he taking 11 counts to say the word Mom or saying it after counting to 11? And you say countS. How many times does he do this?
    -"My fingers wriggled" -> This is giving the action to the fingers instead of him. It needs to be his action.
    -"my dog" and "my big sister" are telling. He knows who these people/animals are.

    Good luck!

  5. I really like this opening! The counts of eleven intrigued me and I’m assuming this will be explained later. Because this is fantasy it may have to do with magic? Or perhaps just a personal tick? Either way, I’m happy to hold off knowing. I do like the detail of “Last time I woke her...possible punishments.” But it disrupts the flow. If it is possible to include that detail later, I would. For the time being, knowing that their dad was wrong about Emily caring for them is enough to set a general expectation. Overall, really, really great job! I love the voice and I’m very interested. I would certainly read on!

  6. I love your title - very intriguing. And I love your description of the dog's greeting lol. Well done, made me smile.