Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July Secret Agent #12

TITLE: Scrapbook of a Tomboy Princess
GENRE: Middle Grade/Humorous Mystery

Dear Diary,

It’s not easy to escape from the long arm of the law, if you’re nine. And it’s impossible to escape from Grandma. Really, it’s not my fault I ran, the cop had a mustache. Mustache = Whiskers. I am scared of whiskers. All kinds.

Now for the details. The following pages include the cold hard truth, mostly, which is a good thing because lying = trouble from grown ups, especially teachers.

June 1, 2013

Jimmy and I were hiding very innocent like and spying on a few neighbors. Way up in Grandma’s tree house, no one could see us, not even our bratty little brothers.

It was high noon and the sun made my feet hot in my sassy high-heels. The Kleenex inside helped with my sweating toes. Of course, I’d climbed the ladder carefully, not wanting the bark to scuff the cuteness of my pink heels. When I reached the top, Jimmy had the binoculars.

From the tree house we could see every house on the street. So far we knew Mr. Keimayer wore boxers. Jimmy could also see into the graveyard, behind the spooky house on the corner. “Check it out, Pinky, John Evan Winklehauser. Died December 12, 1918.”

I scratched my pink wig and grabbed the binoculars, “Who cares about John Evans anyway. I want a snow cone.” I moved the binoculars until I could see. Broken doors, windows and chipped paint. Lots of gravestones that I didn’t want to see. Dead people scare me, because they’re dead.


  1. Good grief. I love his so much. If I had this in my hands, I wouldn't be able to stop reading until it was over.

    You just nailed the voice. The descriptions are spot on. And I just can see this little girl in her heels and pink wig and I laughed out loud when she wrote, "the long arm of the law." And she's afraid of whiskers? That's just awesome. She's quirky in the best way possible.

    She reminds me of the Effie Malone in Mary Hershey's books, and that's high praise from me as Effie is one of my all time favorite characters.

    Well done and good luck!!!

  2. I loved this. The voice here is awesome. I was immediately able to see the picture you were painting. It came to life in my mind and... plain and simple, it's great.

    Your MC has totally captured me.

    Incredibly well done and good luck!

  3. Terrific 250, voice is excellent!

    I was a little confused at Jimmy's line until I realized Pinky is her name. Change that comma to an ! to make it clearer.

    Very effective opener-I want to keep reading to find out what scrape she gets into. Good luck!

  4. I adore quirky MCs and this one is too cute for words. Great voice! I bet this is a really fun read! Nice job and good luck :)

  5. I liked Pinky and her voice and her way of looking at things, so that, I think, works. The way the story is presented is what took me out of the story.

    It seems in the first two pargs. she is saying something happened, and what follows will be the story that tells us what happened. But this is in a diary format, and that, I think, doesn't work. (But who knows. It may not really matter.)

    Usually, in a diary, you put down the date of the day you are actually writing, and tell about that, or maybe the few previous days, depending on the last time you made an entry.

    But what your MC is doing is putting down dates and telling us what happened on that date. I'm not sure if I'm explaining this well, but it seems a diary is more about the present, what's happening now, whereas the MC is going back further, telling us about something that has already happened quite some time ago. ANd again, it may not even matter.

    Now for the normal stuff. In parg 3, Pinky and Jimmy are in the tree. In parg 4, it's suddenly earlier, and she's telling us how she climbed the tree. You'll need to change tenses there to make that work.

    In the last parg. it seems she's isn't interested in spying. SHe wants a snow cone, but instead of talking JImmy into getting out of the tree and getting one, she continues to spy, so what's the point of the snow cone? It seems almost like a non sequitor.

    Overall, it works well, and Pinky's personality trumps the other stuff. I'd read more.

  6. Great voice! Great character! I would read more. I think you could smooth it out just a little. You establish her character really well, and the voice is right on, but it feels a little too jumpy/disjointed with her stream of thoughts. Could tone it down a twitch and I think it would read better. Love it.

  7. I like the unique idea of epistolary story segments. It immediately feels covert. Climbing into a tree house in high heels is absolutely the goofy kind of stuff pre-teens will do. However, I don't buy that the MC is afraid of whiskers. The story already has good tension. We know something is going to happen because they are spying. I love the last line, 'Dead people scare me, because they're dead.' I would read on. Nice work.

  8. I like this a lot. The quirkiness is awesome, but I think it'd be funnier to leave the first paragraph off at "the cop had a mustache." Great job!

  9. I loved this! You nailed the voice. I love that she uses grown-up phrases that she's probably learned from movies (like the "cold hard truth"!) in the same sentence as "lying = trouble from grown ups." It's a great balance that you pull off well! Everything about this is wonderful and I have no critiques! Awesome job! :)

  10. Had a hard time continuing reading when I read about climbing a ladder in ill-fitting heels. Would kids really do this?

    o The comment 'lying=trouble' seems a little too blatant a life lesson at the very beginning.

    o The comment about the snow cone comes out of the blue. It doesn't seem attached to anything. She seemed pretty eager to climb the ladder. Wouldn't she have mentioned it before she climbed up?

    o The sentence about moving the binoculars until she can see confused me. Did you mean she adjusted the focus? Was she staring at the sky first and needed to point them at the ground?

    I did like the diary structure of this and thought the voice was good.

  11. I love it. It's absolutely MG and my favourite so far. Very well done. I can't even find anything to nitpick. ;-)

  12. I adored this entry!! And I want to read it. Now. Please! Enough said!

  13. Charming title. I laughed at your last line! The voice here is great for MG. I love the idea of two friends trying to be legitimate spies and having nothing of interest to actually spy on.

    The diary set-up is interesting and certainly a popular one at the moment. I’m unclear when Pinky is writing the opening entry, though I suppose she could have taken her diary with her when she ran from the police. There are many quirky, funny details here, but I’m not sure I can quite see a nine year old spying and climbing trees in high heels. If pink is her signature color (as I suspect from her name) I would make mention of that early on so the costume makes sense. Would love to hear more about her run-in with the law, but I’m sure that will be revealed soon enough.