Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March Secret Agent #26

TITLE:   A Spirit’s Dream
GENRE:   Middle Grade

I know as soon as I open my eyes, she’ll be here. She’s always here the morning after one of the dreams. A month ago she was just a shadowy image, a vague form sparkling in the light filtering through my blinds. I thought it was dust motes because I hadn’t cleaned my room in a while. Every time I had a dream, the shape became clearer. Then last week I could see it was the figure of a girl. She isn’t scary or anything, just here. I’m almost getting used to her.

Come on body, get it together. Roll over. Face the window. Open eyes. Yep, there she is. Today she seems more...substantial. Almost like a blurry picture. Ghost-like. Great! I’m not hallucinating. I’m haunted.

“Go away! Please.”

She just stares back. Then smiles. A friendly ghost.

The clock on my night stand says it’s 8:29. Mom will be here any minute to make sure I’m up. We’re going school-clothes shopping today.

Maybe if I just cover my head with my pillow, Mom - and the ghost - will get the hint and go away.

“MariAnn.” Mom pokes her head around my nearly closed door.

I peek out from under my pillow. My visitor is gone. Good.

“Time to get up, dear.”

“I’m up. I’m up.” To prove the point, I swing my legs out of bed, pushing onto the floor the stuffed bear I got when I was born twelve years ago.


  1. A real delight. And I loved the little surprise reactions: 'Great! I'm not hallucinating. I'm haunted' And 'She just stares back. Then smiles. A friendly ghost.' In addition to being friendly, her ghost companion is interactive. I love it.
    I did want the 'sparkling form' and the 'dust motes' to be expanded a bit. And there could have been a tad more build up to 'I'm almost getting used to her.'
    But, those wishes are nearly trivial. Great beginning.

  2. You have some great lines ("I'm not hallucinating. I'm haunted." ha!) At the beginning, though, it took time for me to get into the character because the phrasing "vague form sparking in the light filtering through my blinds," seemed older than middle grade. I didn't begin to hear the MG voice until "She isn't scary or anything, just here." After that, it was very entertaining!
    Good luck!

  3. Intriguing situation and descriptions. MariAnn's 'problem' is going to draw the reader along to find out more.

    The opening paragraph felt slow to me. You might disperse that info and shuffle some of your sentences to up the tension.

    I'm wondering already what kind of trouble her ghost is going to cause her! Looks like a fun ride/read.

  4. I like the character MariAnn. It sounds like a typical girl at 12 years old. Her voice has a bit of sarcasm, and I love her choice in words when she reacts to the presence of the ghost. It's not completely fearful, but more like "Okay, you need to go". I like it.

    As it has been said, in the beginning paragraph, the narration sounded a bit out of character for MariAnn. A little too prosy and mature for her. So, that can be fixed with giving a more child like persona in her descriptions there.

    I think I would read on. Best wishes!

  5. I love this entry! It's got mystery, supernatural elements, credible MC with a strong voice, and a quiet confidence in the telling of the story. The main character is believable and I particularly like her internal dialogue.

    As a mom of two middle-grade readers, I know this is exactly the type of book that would intrigue them.

    I would definitely read the full. A real contender!

    Good luck!

  6. Interesting that the ghost is getting more and more substantial and she is doing that because of dreams.

    This is well written, and the voice is good, but I'm not really solidly hooked. This could simply be because ghost stories are not my favorite stories. Sorry. But I think you might also want to amp up the voice some.

    "Mom will be here any minute to make sure I'm up" is a perfectly fine sentence. But it doesn't give me much voice. It doesn't help me know this character. Anyone could say that sentence.

    "Mom is clumping her fat a$$ down the hall to roust me out of bed," tells me something about the speaker. Cranky and disrespectful.

    "Mother will be in here any minute to wake me. She'll be all perky and bright and nodding like a bobble-head doll." sarcastic.

    If your character is not mean or sarcastic, you can still give her something to make her voice memorable. Maybe she quotes movie lines or uses metaphors or misquotes proverbs.

    Mom will be coming through that door to wake me any minute. It's as sure as the dew on the morning grass. We're going school-clothes shopping. Serious business. I'm about to start the seventh grade and Mom says it's high time I stop dressing like someone who lives in a homeless shelter.

    Also, "Time to get up, dear," sounds a little old fashioned to me. Mom doesn't really sound like a real person to me yet. I know she's only said a few words and she may come clearer as time goes on. But you have to grab your reader quickly and I think you do that with voice.