Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October Secret Agent #6

TITLE: AbeGale Force
GENRE: Upper MG Magical Realism Adventure

It’s not as if I want to keep secrets from my best friend, and I sure don’t want to meet her new landlady—privately, or at all, the way Mrs. Egremony stares at me. She doesn’t even stop when I catch her doing it.

But I have to speak with her before Stephanie gets home, and find out what she meant saying my “grandmother Rose is near, but far.” Yeah—far, she disappeared in the Andes three years ago—that’s pretty far.

I better hurry.

The Maiden Villas sit at the highest peak of Pine Crest, hiding under a shadow of trees. Why Mrs. Egremony named them Villas, when they’re more like shacks, is a little weird. Three years ago, they were Donald’s Cliff Cabins.

I sometimes imagine Mrs. Egremony up there in her nest of twisting vines, waiting for some unwilling creatures…

Ridiculous. She’s just an old woman -- I know, but there’s something not right. Like the way she dresses in those Little House on the Prairie skirts dragging along the ground, and wearing a full body apron. And why she call herself Mrs. when she’s not married? Stephanie tells me she sees her sometimes, working in her garden late at night. Creepy, if you ask me. Now Mrs. Egremony tells me she knew my grandmother, and said I should come first thing this morning, alone, which is why I’m racing over.


  1. The title of this manuscript is confusing, as is the first paragraph. After re-reading, I caught most of what it was saying, but what I suspect is meant to inspire a feeling of mystery ends up causing confusion.

    I'd really suggest working on voice, here, because doesn't come across as authentically young. This isn't intended as an insult but as an explanation: It reads like an adult speaking with some of the words and phrasing dumbed down for a kid.

    While I'm sure that's not the intention, it makes me wonder if the author wouldn't be better suited to writing for an adult audience. Writing really is a process of trial and error. And sometimes error is the best teacher, as it shows us what we don't do as well so we can mark that off the list and move on to what does work.

    I could be totally wrong here, as this is only the first page, but my original point stands. Voice is one of the most essential elements of storytelling, and one that is most often pushed to the side in favor of other aspects of writing because it's so hard to define.

  2. Thank you secret agent.(and Authoress) I now have a new first page, even though, this wasn't the entire first page. I can see what you mean.
    That first page is almost an after thought, it needs it's own kind of attention. I appreciate the comments, though they stung at first. And didn't mind the challenge--wasn't too much to deal with to make it better. Thanks!

  3. Great attitude! Your piece is interesting and has real promise, keep working on it. Think about simplifying a bit. For example, do we need to know this: Three years ago, they were Donald’s Cliff Cabins. If not, take it out. It's adding to "name soup," too much info to process in such a short space.

  4. The secret agent has some good advice. And I have a suggestion on how it might be easier to show the character's voice. What if you start with the character actually meeting Mrs. Egremony face to face? Then you can describe Mrs. Egremony through the character's eyes. And that way, you would start with a scene where something is actually happening, instead of the character just saying what she has to do. What you have here seems more like telling instead of showing. Something a lot of writers have a problem with, including me.

    I disagree with the agent about the title though. It sounds pretty cool to me. I'm guessing the character's name is Abegale? And I would have to know what the story is about to understand the 'Force' part.