Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March Secret Agent #13

GENRE: Upper Middle Grade Sci-fi

I’m ready to talk about the explosion now. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to say that, especially after it first happened. It was too painful then. The pain is still with me and probably always will be, like a broken bone that healed, but aches whenever it rains. I don’t pity myself. There was a time when I did, but I got over that. I had to, if I wanted to survive.

It happened on a pretty day. Blue sky. Clouds like meringue. The school bus had just let off at our apartment complex. Sunlight sparkled off the broken bottles that lined the sidewalks. I walked home along those sidewalks with my friends Serena and April, like I always did. April walked ahead because she was in seventh grade and didn’t want to be seen with Serena and me. We were in sixth. The familiar stench of rotten eggs from Chemtech, the neighboring chemical plant, spooked the air. The scent was more acrid than usual. We should have known that something was wrong, but we didn’t. No one did.

We passed the courtyard where a clan of small children watered each other with a hose. They were wearing their underwear because no one in our complex owned a bathing suit. The older boys played soccer in the nearby field, kicking their ball at the young bathers every now and then, to remind them of whose turf they were on.


  1. Your writing and descriptions are wonderful! I would keep reading just for that, but I'm also intrigued with what happened.
    A little thing...You might make your 2 sentences into one: "...didn’t want to be seen with sixth graders like Serena and me. {We were in sixth. DELETE]
    Good luck!

  2. I really like this story already especially paragraphs two and three. I actually think you could delete paragraph 1 and start with 2 so you get right into the story and unveil the explosion a little bit further in on the next page or two rather than telling right up front.

  3. This is going to be a very powerful piece. It reminded me of Chernobyl, Texas, Louisiana, where all these plants were exploding. I am intrigued. I loved the use of your descriptive writing. I would definitely read this.

  4. I liked the opening paragraph. I was drawn in from that first line. You have a good clear voice. I was hooked and would read on.

  5. First paragraph is great. Hooked right away. The voice is very likable and I want to read more through the voice's eyes.
    One tiny tidbit, it was already mentioned, but I think it would be good to connect the two sentences about April being a seventh grader and Serena and the MC being in the sixth. Otherwise, this is strong writing.

  6. I'd be more interested if this was in some kind of context, like an interrogation. So far, it's just describing someone's recollection of an event that occurred on an ordinary day.


  7. I like this...

    It flows, and tells you where the story is going upfront.

    Great descriptions.

  8. I thought this worked well. Nice writing, mood, rhythm, an instant problem. My only suggestion would be to be careful of telling the story. The MC is, in fact, telling it, so that can't be helped, so try to do as much showing as possible.

    Nicely done!

  9. This is intriguing! You've definitely got me interested in reading more. My only concern is that it doesn't feel especially middle-grade-ish to me...I think it's the descriptions, which are lovely, but maybe not things someone that age would say (the bones that ache when it rains, the "acrid" smell, meringue clouds). But, that could just be me, and I would definitely enjoy seeing where this story goes.

  10. I like it and I would read on.

    I love the "clan of small children watering each other" and I love that they are in their underwear because no one owns a swimsuit. Great phrasing and great details.