Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September Secret Agent #37

TITLE: Elena's Pen
GENRE: MG Fantasy

Mr. McMichaels hated me after confiscating a story I wrote during class last week. A story about a wicked goblin warlord. Named McMichaels.

I guess I can't blame him, but wouldn't most English teachers love a student who wanted to be an author? Not this one. I was lucky he only threatened me with detention.

I took my time walking to my eighth grade English class, not looking forward to Mr. McMichaels and his evil-eye glare.

The crowded hallway slowly thinned out as sixth, seventh and eighth-graders swapped classrooms. A kid slammed his puke green locker shut, wafting the scent of body odor and days-old sweaty gym clothes toward me. I gagged and hurried past.


I turned and spotted Artex, the new guy, down the hall. He waved a piece of paper in his hand. His lopsided smile was so inviting that I smiled back. "Hi." Why was he talking to me? I forced myself to not shuffle my feet or play with my hair.

He jogged over. Dark hair fell across his forehead and made him look oh-so-cute. "I think this is yours." He handed me the story I had started during science.

"Thanks." I shoved it into a notebook. "I guess I forgot to grab it."

"Poor Roderick. Fighting without his armor and his horse against three bloody pirates. I'm not sure he can handle them." He fell into step beside me.

My cheeks grew hot. "You read it?"


  1. This is so cute! I have been dying to write MG and now I am truly intimidated because yours is excellent. The voice is spot on, already I'm intrigued with Elena and this cute new boy, Artex (awesome name, btw) and how their relationship will grow. I also like the way you describe things--I feel like I'm there but it's not overly descriptive so it still feels like it's written for pre-teens. Great job and wonderful opening with the McMichaels story--cute! I'd read more :)

  2. Fun voice.

    The second paragraph had a minor tense shift, easily fixable. The writing could be tightened in a few places to help flow.

    Definitely good pacing, vivid descriptions and engaging characters so far. I'd read a few more pages to see where this is going.

  3. Hooked. Nice job. I hope there's a good explanation coming for why "the new guy" is the one who happens to find the story she somehow left in science class. I.e., did she leave it where he would find it?

  4. Seems more YA than MG, e.g., Poor Roderick." and a lot of sentences start with I. Try to vary this.

    Also, "My cheeks grew hot," sounds Elizabethan, not conversational.

    Keep revising.

  5. I could see this as upper end MG. I like it a lot, I felt right back in Jr. High.

    Definitely hooked - good job!

  6. I like the concept that she's a writer. But the writing definitely needs a little work; some tense shifts and pretty awkward sentences as well as some repetition.

    Also, I like language to be precise. Is she *literally* gagging from the smell? Most likely not, it takes a lot to make most people gag.

    I do like the description of her story at the end and her reaction seems authentic and kind of charming.

  7. I like this. I would change "the new guy" to "the cute new guy" and this way I wouldn't think of awkward at first, and then have to modify to cute. Plus then you don't have to say it looks cute when his hair falls over his forehead, just how it makes her feel. I'd read more good opening scene.

  8. It's a nice start for a MG story. The voice seems to be just right. The beginning could be tightened a bit.