Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September Secret Agent #18

GENRE: MG Contemporary

When Annie and Jason first started the cemetery, Annie always hoped for rain. She thought it was more dramatic. But common sense won out. Rain turned the holes into mud baths.
Fortunately, today was perfect, clear-sky burial weather. If she had to wait any longer, it would be too late.

Annie eavesdropped from the top of the stairs. Her brother Matt and a friend droned on about healing plants for Boy Scouts. That'd keep him out of her hair.

She tip-toed down the hall and peeked in her mom's room. Busy with bills. And Kate was out of the house. Perfect.

Still, to be safe, she sneaked the phone into the hall closet where her sister's faux fur parka would muffle the sound. She speed-dialed 7 and let it ring once, then hung up and called again. Their secret code. It rang twice before Jason answered.

"It's me." Annie was all business. "I've got a body count."

Jason hedged. "I don't know. My parents are talking to this lady, and . . ."

"Jason, you're ten. Find a way. This is important." Without waiting for a response, she hung up.
Jason wouldn't find a way. Annie knew. She'd just have to go to his house and get him, like usual.
After listening at the door for several seconds, she slipped out of the closet and replaced the phone. Silently, she extracted the pre-packed bag from under her bed then ran down the stairs.


  1. Hi number 18! Fun reading, I like how Annie seems mischievous and a bit bossy. I do have a couple critiques for you:

    The first is that I think there's a little too little information. Your scene is full of interesting ideas (kids starting a cemetery?) but by the end I have no clue what is going on.

    Another issue is the wording in the first line. "When Annie and Jason first started the cemetery, Annie always hoped for rain." I don't know what you mean by "always." Was it while they were planning to start the cemetery?

    Other than that, it sounds like a lot of fun.

    Happy writing!

  2. I've seen this title and a few of its pages around the blogosphere, and love the premise and characters. The funeral scene is hard to explain in the first 250words, but knowing what comes next, I can just enjoy the voice here. Best of luck!

  3. These kids really did START a cemetary? I thought a word was missing. I think an easy fix might be to eliminate (or move) the first several sentences about the rain and mud. Maybe start with something like: When Annie checked outside, it was perfect, clear-sky burial weather.

    Love Annie...seems spunky and bossy.

    I'm intrigued to know more, especially now that I read the previous comments.

  4. I'm intrigued. Kids who start their own cemetary--my kind of people! And Annie comes across as a fun, in charge person, who will undoubtedly be getting into all kinds of trouble.

    My only suggestion is you might rework the first parg. It comes off as a narrator's POV rather than Annie's. Put it in Annie's and keep it there.

  5. I loved the premise of this...and the voice. Annie is a strong character. I loved reading her take on Jason..."She'd just have to go to his house and get him,like usual." I would love to know more about the pre-packaged bag under her bed. I'd read more to find out! Good luck. :)

  6. Hooked. This sounds like a lot of fun.

  7. I like this a lot. Was hooked. Nice spunky MC and everything flowed nicely--easy to picture. The only thing I was a bit confused about was I originally pictured Annie as a grown-up who had "started" a cemetery. I thought she had started a cemetery business.
    liked the detail of the coat muffling the phone, and the pre-packaged bag

  8. I loved the voice as well. I have to agree with Mark that I thought Annie and Jason were adults - starting a cemetery business. Now, that I now they are children - are we talking a pet cemetery? Or a make believe cemetery for people they wish were dead :) I would read more.

  9. Love the premise of them starting a cemetery and her business-like comment of having a body count.

    The first paragraph confused me and did seem out of POV. I didn't get what the pre-packaged bag implied. Is it a body bag? Is it the back that's been packaged... like pre-packaged food?

  10. Okay, I'm thinking of the age group this is intended for and being that it's MG, I would say you're going to have to go for more clarity from the get go. I don't think they like too much in the way of subtleties, and if I was getting a bit confused, you might lose them too quickly.
    I liked where you were going and the bossy britches voice, but I think I just needed more clarity. Should be an easy fix for you for sure! Good luck! : )

  11. I really liked this a great deal. The title is fantastic, which goes a very long way (I don't think authors tend to realize how much) and the concept seems very, very strong for a MG.

    The language could be a little less mature but otherwise very solid.

    I love the character of Annie and there is great sensory detail.

    I would read on.