Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September Secret Agent #24

TITLE: The Graveyard Five
GENRE: MG Coming of Age

Bags cringed at the sight of the red phone peeking out from a pile of papers. He didn’t want everyone to have to call their parents. The principal’s office was cramped with two oversized wooden chairs and diplomas filled the walls. The bars on the small window blocked any view of the outside and the scent of cheap cologne lingered. Nerves and all of the junk food he ate throughout the day were causing his stomach to shake like a washing machine off balance.

Friends always watch each other’s backs. His father’s words filled his head.

“So, you all thought it would be fun to skip school before entering high-school?” Mr. Bentley towered over the kids. He banged his fist against the desk. His emerald eyes widened and his jaw pulsated like a beating heart.

“I am disappointed that some of my best students are being dragged down into the ditches with you two.” He stared into Bags eyes and Bags was surprised at the disgust he seemed to have for him and Sarge.

Bags glanced at his four friends. Penny’s lanky frame leaned against the wall furthest away from the principal’s desk. She did not look nervous like Dubray or scared like Simone, she looked bored. The words Rules Are Meant to be Broken splattered across her t-shirt summed up Penny in a nutshell. She was taunting Mr. Bentley without even having to open her mouth. As if she prepared her wardrobe knowing they might get caught.


  1. I remember someone posted on another thread that she accidentally sent in just the first line rather than the first page, and she hoped it wouldn't be picked. I assume this is hers.

  2. The name of the main character threw me off immediately. Is 'Bags' a nickname? If so, make that clear so that the name is easier to adjust to.

    Is the phrase 'Friends always watch each other's backs' his father's phrase? If so, that second paragraph needs to be completely re-worded because that didn't come across.

    It's not clear from the start that 'Bags' is a student and the principal's conversation with the students is dry and underwhelming.

    The errors in sentence structure and grammar also don't help.

  3. Just to clarify the first two comments for anyone reading, the original entry in this slot was different. I assume the entry here now is one of the two alternates.

    I agree with swestie's comment. This entry was hard to follow, and I know more about Penny than I do about your protag. There's also very little variation in sentence structure and several grammar errors on this page. I wouldn't read on.

  4. I know Penny better too, but I really like her. I think it's an interesting situation. I'd keep reading.

  5. I know Penny better too, but I really like her. I think it's an interesting situation. I'd keep reading.

  6. I like your use of metaphors, but I think you need to establish the character more in this first 250. There's too much description of the room before we figure out what's going on. Yes, we know where he is, but it takes too long to figure out what's really going on. I like the way you describe Penny but agree with the others. Work on establishing Bags before you move on to the other characters. Good luck!

  7. I really like the character of Penny. If the other characters are as well defined, you'll have a great ensemble cast.

    The opening paragraph threw me a bit. I assumed Bags was the main character and (given that it's an MG) that he was a student. But the second line threw me. Perhaps say something like, "He hoped the principal wouldn't make him or any of his friends call home." I think that would make it clearer from the start that Bags is indeed a kid, and "everyone" refers to his friends who are also in trouble.

    I'd keep reading because I'm curious what they did to get in trouble.

  8. I agree with the above comments about needing more character name to start with and then establish a nickname, and paring down some description to move into the action sooner. I do, however, like the cheap cologne. But I don't see a principal wearing cheap cologne having emerald eyes. That color seems something you'd use to describe a beautiful woman. :)
    I'd like to get to know some of these characters more, they seem like a fun mix. Good luck!

  9. I think when you have a large cast of characters the challenge is to establish them one by one before you throw them together in a lump. Think of it like dominoes - one leads to the other to the other to the other etc until all fall neatly in a row. As it is, we don't know Bags well enough yet to bring in someone else (Penny and Sarge in particular - and the other 2 gilrs in the room). The principal sounds a bit stilted and to get his knickers in a twist over simply skipping school seems like an anti-climax. His reaction seems more appropriate to a much larger trangression - as does Penny's T-shirt. I mean skipping school is so minor that if this is her idea of rebellion then she needs some more dangerous kids ot hang out with :) Also, Bags is so weird that the name needs some explanation before it is thrown at the reader.

  10. At first I thought Bags was the principal so some revision is needed in the beginning paragraph. There are also tense issues and other grammar problems throughout this piece.

    I feel more connected to Penny's character than anything else. Work with that and I think you can make this great. GOod luck :)

  11. I think you are off to a decent start story wise. I'd condense it a bit. The first paragraph is heavy on description. I'd focus more on the stress Bags feels than what the office looks like.

    The description of Penny is great. Can you do this for Bag's? I don't have a clue who he is other than maybe he's a trouble maker?

    I love the idea of a small friendship pact type story. I'm interested in the plot. Good luck!

  12. I found the third paragraph's first sentence to be confusing--it made me wonder whether they were skipping the first day of high school, or were still in middle school. I was also surprised that Penny was presumably included in the principal's "best students" comment given that you've gone to pains to make her sound like a rebel.