Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March Secret Agent #28

GENRE: MG Fantasy Adventure

It’s not like I made a habit of listening to other people’s phone conversations, but there was nothing normal about my dad talking on the phone. Not anymore. I froze on the stairs at the sound of his voice. It was still as heavy and dark as a thundercloud, but there was something different about it.

“Thanks for calling me back. No, I’m sure that won’t be necessary. No, she’s not a problem. Well, no, I haven’t…I know it’s been four months, June.”

My Aunt June. The woman thought I was a freak and never failed to make me feel like one. She believed my mom—her own sister—had ruined me with her “strange, artistic ways” and “stubborn insistence” on home-schooling.

“Well, I hadn’t thought of that,” my dad said.

I sat on the next to last step and tried to figure out why he wanted to talk to her when he’d ignored calls from everyone else. But there was no good reason I could think of. And all of the bad reasons were making me feel a little sick.

“Let me talk it over with Calli and I’ll get back to you.”

When he came through the kitchen doorway and saw me, he didn’t look mad that I’d been listening. More like, relieved.

“You shaved!” The words burst out of me. Then I noticed his clothes. Real clothes. The first time since the funeral that he wasn’t wearing that pitiful, brown bathrobe. It probably walked away on its own.


  1. I enjoyed this passage. The first paragraph makes me wonder why her dad doesn't talk on the phone, which keeps me reading. I got clear sense of character and situation. You tucked in some back story without it feeling heavy.
    A couple observations
    1. some sentences could be tightened which would give them more punch. You could take out "her own sister" and tell us it's her maternal aunt later. Turning "tried to figure out why..." into a question--"Why did he want to talk to her..." brings us closer to the character
    2. Perhaps define "sick" a knotted stomach? A headache?
    All minor stuff. Well done!

  2. I really like how you've started your story. You've managed to get so much across but all 'show not tell.'
    And Calli's voice is really coming over too - your first lines, and then again with 'You've shaved!' It felt like such a natural comment for their situation.
    Good luck

  3. I enjoyed this. Wondering why her dad never spoke on the phone drew me in. The phone conversation kept me intrigued. I would read on.

  4. I'm intrigued! Well done on nailing your protagonist's voice.

    My nit-picky comment is the fact that the metaphor doesn't work for me with the dad's voice being "as heavy and dark as a thundercloud."

    I hear his voice being heavy and dark... but comparing it to a thundercloud might be over-the-top?

    Great work.

  5. There seems to be an implied tragedy in the background, possibly the loss of a mother who raised her kid as an artist. I'd want to read more.

    I'm also sentimental about Cerulean Blue, which was my favorite color when I was dabbling in oils in college. It was the perfect color for a clear sky just after the sun went down.

  6. Got me from the beginning and the last paragraph would have kept me reading.

  7. I'd keep reading to see where this is going. I like the title. And I like that there's an aunt who probably wants to take her away or pay for her to go to school or something.

    But I'm wondering what will make this story different from others. It's sounding pretty familiar so far. So I'd read on, but I'd hope to see some fresh twist pretty soon.

  8. I'm hooked. I like the character. I feel the tension about the phone call from the unpopular Aunt June, and the concern about what it might mean. And then the fact that the dad is making a change, at last. Is this good or not? Definitely I'd want to read on to find out.

  9. I like the homeschooling angle. I wish I knew the age of the character. I like that there's a conflict with Aunt June. Very interesting. I'd read on.