Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May Secret Agent #41

TITLE: The Wheeler Chronicles
GENRE: MG Adventure/Fantasy

Standing in the clearing, I looked past the stream and stared in the direction of the waterfall. It was too far away to see, but I thought I heard its howling rapids. Haunting me. Then I heard Mikey's voice.

But that couldn't be. He was gone. Had been for more than a month. I could still see scraps of the yellow police tape that had once stretched from one end of the woods to the other like a steroid-induced boa constrictor.

When the buzzer sounded, Mikey's voice fell silent and so did the raging waterfall. Rambo collapsed and sprawled out on the ground. I shook my dark thoughts and moved close to my four-legged point man. Focus was needed.

"Let's go to work, Lancelot. You ready to prove you're a retriever?"

Rambo raised his right paw, a trick I'd taught him to indicate a yes.

My golden soldier crawled on his belly. Then he pointed his nose to the left and froze.

I positioned myself behind a tree, grabbed a gooseberry from the jar that was belted around my waist, and loaded it in my crossbow. When I made a clicking sound with my mouth, Rambo broke into a canine seizure. His yellow fur served as camouflage on the ground, but his wriggling body lured my enemy closer. Might as well have been a worm on a hook.

I pulled the trigger and the green bullet found a home between rolls of back fat. "Ah, man! Who got me?"


  1. I'm hooked. I'm not a MG reader, but I really thought this was cute.

    Good luck with SA!

  2. I loved this one. Great writing, but I was a little confused who spoke at the end. If it was the Mc, why did he say who got him when he was the one that aimed? Maybe the next sentence explains it.

    Love the voice though.

    Good luck.

  3. I was the dog's name Rambo or Lancelot?
    I get the impression the MC is playing a game with another person, a kind of gooseberry paintball...but it didn't really grab my attention. I too was thrown off by who spoke at the end. The voice is pretty good, but nothing grabbed me to move on.
    Good luck!

  4. Some great lines and easy humor makes me feel I'm in the hands of a pro.
    Second last para is a touch confusing for me. How does Rambo's wriggling body lure the enemy closer?
    Good stuff overall and good luck!

  5. This was a bit confusing for me. I get a good sense of voice, but the setting and the references to the dog are unclear. Also, I have no idea what the boy is doing and what he's trying to accomplish. I'm sure that becomes apparent a bit further in, but I'd like to be oriented a little sooner as a reader.

  6. I really liked the feel of this story. I got a good sense of the longing for someone he's lost but I am having a hard time connecting why he's playing with his dog right near a place that is taped off. This all could be explained later of course, but it did leave me confused for the moment.

  7. I think it was well written, but I was totally thrown off by my confusion surrounding the dog's name, and I was unable to get back on track after that. Was his name Rambo? Focus? Lancelot? (I finally figured out it was Rambo, but the derailment was already accomplished.)

  8. I like your writing (you had some good metaphors), but the opening felt disjointed to me. I have some questions as well:
    - what is the buzzer you refer to in the 3rd par?
    - is the dog's name Lancelot or Rambo?
    -why/how did the waterfall go silent?

    Question, I wonder if you would consider opening with: I positioned myself behind a tree...

    You could have him have that memory while he's hiding behind the tree.

    Good luck!!

  9. Buzzer? What buzzer? And some phrases that didn't quite work, for me:

    steroid-induced boa constrictor
    four-legged point man
    my golden soldier
    jar belted around my waist
    canine seizure
    green bullet found a home

    And if the enemy is being lured closer by Rambo, how does he get hit in the back? He'd have to be walking backwards.

    I'd read more, primarily because I want to know what happened to Mikey and why the MC hears his voice.

  10. Sorry. I was lost and confused.

    Police tape stretching from one end of the forest to the other? That's one big piece.

    Why does he want to play where his brother died?

    A buzzer sounds. Where/who is it coming from. Why is it sounding. What does it have to do with anything?

    The dog's name, as already mentioned.

    A jar belted on his waist? In a world where almost everything is plastic.

    How do all these things connect? I couldn't figure it out.

  11. You need to engage more. Dropping in onto this cold turkey, there needs to be more urgency. More sense of drama.
    Usually when this happens, I find it is because the novel starts in the wrong place.
    The best hook is a piece of action. Even possible with the last sentence here "I pulled the trigger and..."
    And then you rearrange the conversation between you and the retriever. See how that works. You don't have to commit to it if it doesn't
    Good luck.

  12. Unfortunately I'm not as hooked as I'd like to be. There's a little disconnect for me from the MC and a few items are jarring, like is the dog's name Lancelot or Rambo?