Wednesday, April 15, 2009

25 Secret Agent

TITLE: No Pet is Worth All This!
GENRE: MG Contemporary Fantasy

It all started with a cold.

I had just climbed out of bed to get more Kleenex when I stepped on something painfully hot. I bit back a scream, flicked on the light and cringed. My big toe looked like a ripe tomato.

I scanned my floor. Dirty jeans, a box of graham crackers, Claire’s watch, some cough drops. I didn’t see anything that could turn my toe into a swollen vegetable until I poked through the piles of used, soggy Kleenex. The rock Aunt Myk had given me five days before was buried under the third wad. It was glowing.

That’s right, glowing. Like the glow sticks police officers give to little kids on Halloween. Except this light was neon blue. And now that I’d uncovered it, it was bright enough to light up my room.

Even though my toe sent a thousand warnings to my brain, I reached for the rock. Seconds later, my hand felt like it had scraped the sun.

I rushed to the bathroom and ran cold water over both burns. It didn’t help. Instead, the icy spray almost made me puke.


Sick enough to fall asleep less than three minutes later in a mysteriously lit-up room while my hand and foot continued to throb. Obviously too sick for school the next day.

I decided to go anyway. I had to show that rock to Jared. He was the only one I knew who might understand how a rock could light up rooms and burn people.


  1. I like this. You've hooked me.

    My big question is, though, how did she transport the rock to school? Wouldn't it burn through whatever it touched? Yikes! This protagonist will have to have some ingenuity to figure out how to do that.

    I also like your description of the room, naming the objects on the floor. I love those kinds of details.

    Good job and good luck!

  2. It's an interesting story. I would get rid of some of the passive writing. Such as. . . It was glowing and was bright enough to light up my room. I would also take out the lone word Sick. It would be interesting to read on and find out what's going on with the glowing rock.

  3. I liked all the details. I'm really surprised she picked it up with her hand after burning her toe on it though.

    I didn't understand why the icy spray made her feel sick. Why did she fall asleep so fast - didn't she just wake up? I couldn't tell if it was the rock or if she really was sick.

  4. This raised enough questions for me that I would turn the page.

  5. Hooked.
    Who is this Jared? I'm looking forward to meeting him and discovering why they're friends.

    After the rock burned her toe, would she maybe just put the tip of her finger on it instead of her whole hand? She seems to have severe burns, which alarm me. Maybe have it such that she has the cold and is sick, but the burn isn't something she can't contend with in the morning. Otherwise, I can't see her putting on shoes and using her hand.
    ..A lot about a burn, sorry.

    Yes, I'm hooked and would read on. This supernatural mystery in a real setting intrigues me. Good luck.

  6. This hooked me, with some concerns.

    If the rock was hot enough to burn her instantly, and seriously, wouldn't it catch whatever covered it on fire? And if she was burned that quickly, it seems to be it would have been a serious burn, requiring medical attention maybe. You pushed the heat of the rock so far, the results don't seem to match up.

    But, I still liked it.

  7. Intriguing idea, but I think it needs a bit of work to be believable. If the rock is that hot, it's going to ignite the kleenex - can't have it both ways.

    Also, would she know she fell asleep within three minutes?

    Not quite sure if I'm hooked yet.

  8. This is an interesting, idea, but I think the writing needs some work. It felt really choppy to me for some reason. I think some of the details made me ask too many questions before I could move on--how could her toe immediately be as big as a tomato? Why would she touch it again?
    Why didn't the water help?

  9. Interesting...would DEFINITELY turn the page. I like the first line, too. I wondered why she had to search for the rock, though, if its glow was bright enough to light up the room. Seems like it would be easy to find. And due to a messy mishap in middle school, I know for a fact that kleenex is very flammable.

    And I can't wait to meet Jared.

  10. Loved the details!! I'm turning the page!!

  11. For MG fantasy...all the rock problems mentioned above can be cleared out with a couple of explanatory sentences. I get that the big as a tomatoe is the way kids talk, in that is your out. Your protagonist has a way of overstating say so up front...something like mom and dad are always accusing me of making nearly half the things I say up!? or something like that. Then evetrything flows from the imaginative mind of your protagonist.
    I would be hooked if i was a kid. Best of luck.

  12. This reminded me - somewhat - of Eragon.

    The descriptions and writing were good. I'm semi-interested.

    I agree with the other comments about the heat from the 'rock' and that someone just burned might be more cautious in attempting to touch the glowing rock.

  13. This sounds fresh and interesting. I'm curious and would turn the page.

  14. This is interesting and I would definitely read on to see what happens.

    I agree with Locksley above about maybe mentioning on the first page that the protagonist overstates things - if that is the case.

    Good luck.

  15. I was good until the last two paragraphs. Then I started to get a bit confused. The first time I read 'mysteriously lit-up room', I thought the mc was in a hospital! Silly me.

    You have a succinct voice at times which is good for the younger crowd.

  16. Not hooked yet. I think you have something good here, but it feels a little rushed. Settle down and expand and develop a little bit.

  17. I definitely like this. The voice feels appropriate for an MG and the plotline with the rock feels like it's definitely going somewhere. I'd read on!

  18. Pet rock? Seems to move a bit fast, but MG often does!

  19. This is cute. Middle grad readers would love the mystery of the rock. Good luck.

  20. Nope. The writing doesn't work for me.

    The flow from the penultimate to the final paragraph feels particularly off.

  21. Mildly interested but there's not enough set up. Ill person gets burned doesn't do it for me.

  22. I'm curious about the rock, but there are a few rough spots in the writing that keep me from being completely hooked.

    **Even though my toe sent a thousand warnings to my brain, I reached for the rock. Seconds later, my hand felt like it had scraped the sun.**--I think this could be rephrased differently somehow to make it stronger, the action more immediate to match the pace of the previous paragraphs.

    Sick enough to fall asleep less than three minutes later in a mysteriously lit-up room while my hand and foot continued to throb.**--This was confusing to me. You said he was almost-puking in the bathroom, but then he's suddenly falling asleep in the lit-up bedroom. And is the 'sick' supposed to indicate he is puking, or something else? I think you should just state it clearly, something like: I stumbled back to my mysteriously lit-up bedroom and fell asleep...

    I did like your next transition: **Obviously too sick for school the next day.
    I decided to go anyway.** But maybe you should start a new paragraph with 'Obviously'.

  23. I think it's a little rushed. The first few paragraphs cover a few minutes, while the last few cover a good twelve hours or so. Can the MC discover the rock in the morning, just before school? If it's glowing that brightly it won't matter that it's daylight, the glow will still be visible.

  24. Okay, read this one for amusement! I think I'm getting punch drunk and it is time to stop reading. How do agents do this day, after day, after day, minute, after minute?

    So I see the title, "No pet is worth this." Which I like. Then I note it's MG.

    Then as a life long dog lover and owner the image of the toe coming out of bed and stepping on something? You get my drift here? LOL

    With the title, I really would have liked to meet the pet up front in the opening--or whatever present it left.

    Also how come the toe didn't burn and cause the illness rather than later with the hand?

    So I'd love to see a re-write. I really do want to know what type of pet you've got going here!

  25. This seemed to have a lot of detail that wasn't necessary. Also, even though it was told humorously, I still can't believe that the mc would pick up the rock after being in so much pain. I think it would be better to cut that entirely and get on with it. The idea sounds interesting but not hooked yet.

  26. A keeper. I have a feeling I would like this one very much.