Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April Secret Agent #45

TITLE: The Girl in the Moon
GENRE: MG Science Fiction

I’ll never forget the day I left Earth. If I had known where I’d be going or how long I’d be gone, I would have begged—BEGGED—Grandpa to hide instead of run.

That morning, Keala, my totally crazy cat, started licking my face before the sun was up. I call Keala crazy because she’s blind but she acts like she’s not. I’ve seen her smash her face straight into walls and then bounce off like it’s no big deal.

There’s no point ignoring Keala—she’ll just keep licking your face no matter how many times you wave her away—so I got up and headed to the kitchen. By the time I’d put the flour, eggs, milk, and butter into the MealMaker 2200, Grandpa shuffled into the kitchen.

“Good morning, Alex.”

“Today’s the day, Grandpa.”

“You say that every morning.”

“I know, but today I’m sure of it. Grandma’s coming home.”

Grandpa hit a button on the Beverage Depot Deluxe, and a cup of steaming hot coffee dropped down. “It’s hard to believe it’s been two years.”

I’d seen Grandpa close to crying a handful of times. It always gave me a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. Adults aren’t supposed to cry in front of you, are they?

“Well, something’s going to happen today.” I picked up Keala and rubbed my face against her soft fur. “Maybe today will be the first day Keala doesn’t get stuck in a tree.”

Grandpa snorted. “Yeah, right.”


  1. This was an okay opening. It didn't WOW me, but I was able to read on. There are a few cliches you may want to fix. Example:

    "I’ll never forget the day I left Earth."

    "I'll never forget the day. . ." openings are over dramatic and OLD. Omit this.

    You'll probably be better having your opening line like this:

    If I had known where I’d be going or how long I’d be gone when I left Earth, I would have BEGGED Grandpa to hide instead of run.

    I hope this helps.

  2. You also might consider shortening the sections about the cat. Maybe drop the line that starts with "There's no ignoring . . . "

    Good luck

  3. I thought this was excellent. Wonderful rhythm to your sentences. I'd definitely keep reading.

  4. Good, simple voice. I wouldn't put so much about the cat in the first couple of pages. Maybe just a few sentences.

    I would read on.

  5. I liked this although all the information about the cat distracted me a little. Unless the cat is going to be a huge part of the book, I'd focus more on the people.

  6. I would definitely read on. I agree that you dind't need as much information about the cat but other than that, it is a great start!

  7. I felt like the first sentence was a bit of a false hook because you immediately skip to description of a mundane morning and leave the reader hanging.

    Too much cat, and I really like cats.

    Something about the voice felt too young to me, like an adult trying to sound kidish.

    If I'm honest, this sample wouldn't be enough to keep me reading.

  8. You know, I liked this. To me the opening line let me know there was more coming than just a cozy breakfast scene between grandpa/grandchild. Also I knew immediately in what direction you were headed. I'd read more definitely. Reminded me of Anne McCaffery's freedom landing series, except for the young crowd. I'm a sucker for alien abduction stories.

    Good job!

  9. I like this too. But I agree w/Woods about rewording the first sentence.

    You can tell something more is about to happen. Not just because the MC says so, but your sentences build a tension. If you cut a little of the cat, I think we could build it better.

    I'm also intrigued about the running v. hiding. Run from what?

  10. I'm not really grabbed by this one. We start with the MC reminising. Would it be better just to jump right into the story without the first sentance? There's also a little too much with the cat, unless s/he is really important later on in the story.

  11. I like the "voice" of the main character, and the gentle relationship between the girl and her grandfather. There's a nice cadence and rhythm to this opening. She sounds a bit younger than middle grade, perhaps grade 4/5? This is a story that will lull me in, but I do want to get to the substance of it fairly quickly, perhaps in the next section. I like the hints in this opening and the first line, and the title itself, which will also keep me reading, but again, based on this sample and the concept, perhaps targeted to upper elementary. Because this is a first person narrative told by a child and targeted to children, it may be okay to start with a clichĂ©, “I’ll never forget the day I left earth,” because it sounds conversational, and the way she might tell a friend.

  12. Great first line and then two paragraphs about a cat. Is the cat a really important piece of this story? Is the cat going too? That really made me wonder. I don't know much about this MC, and I want to know a lot more.

    I think a new beginning would be great. This one is cat and Grandpa-focused and I don't really care about either of them. I want to know why the MC is leaving earth and why she thinks her Grandfather could have stopped it.

  13. The title and first few sentences intrigued me, but the cat and breakfast scene slowed down the story too much. I think you should consider either cutting a lot of this out, or starting the story in another place.