Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March Secret Agent #4

TITLE: The Castle Blues Quake
GENRE: MG Paranormal

Watching o’er the gnarled limb

He does not whisper, does not stir

Time is running out for him

His only hope might lie with her

Man, that girl don’t scare, not easy, anyhow. Look how she kicks open that gate, paying no mind to that wolf spider. Big and hairy, I’d planted it there earlier, doing no good now, though. She just scrunches her nose and says, “Gross.” She strides through that creaky, rusty gate into knee-deep weeds like it was a just-mowed lawn. She’s no scaredy cat like the other girls that lived here. She could be trouble. But I’m just starting. I got plenty a other ways to scare.

This is my house. She and her family got to go.

The girl sits on the swing hanging from the tree, right below me. I’m not worried, though; no way can she see me, seeing as how I’m laid out on a branch like a snake high above her. She gives herself a good shove off the ground with her feet and glides back and forth with her legs stretched out in front a her.

She bends her head back, closes her eyes, and mumbles, “Wish you were here, Chrissie.” Then she recites a string of rhyming words, “Wish, dish, fish, squish, swish…hmmm, possibilities.”

All I’m thinking is, this girl ain’t right in the head.

She stops swinging, tugs a small notebook and pen from the back pocket of her jeans and scribbles something.


  1. Love this one. Great voice. I'm immediately hooked and want to know more about this ghost, what he wants, and how this girl is going to help him get it.

  2. I love the voice and the writing. Very intrigued. I just wasn't sure if the ghost was meant to be older or a kid. Sounded older.

  3. I love this. This reads like the ghost died on a plantation in the 1800's. I love the dialect. I love the feeling of urgency. I love that the ghost is watching. It reads like Mildred Taylor's ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY. I AM SO HOOKED ON THIS PIECE. I love it. Thanks :D

  4. This one hooked me. I really got a great sense of both characters straight away and would read on.

  5. I like this one. The voice is very likable, and it's interesting to do a story from the ghost's point of view. Also, I don't know if you planned this, but it's like who is the ghost because the girl appears to be a little creepy too. I like it.
    However, I do think the voice is a little mature for a middle grade novel, but that's just me.
    The spook factor is intriguing here and I am interested in reading more.
    Best wishes!

  6. The narrator sounds like an angry Brownie. If it isn't a person (or a ghost of a person), I buy the older voice. Without knowing who or what the narrator is, it's hard to say whether it rings true to character.

    Nice premise, and I love the subtle dig at writers. I'd keep reading.

  7. I'm definitely hooked! The voice and writing are very strong, and the opening is spooky and intriguing. I love the idea of a ghost as a narrator, and I'd read on to find out more about them!

  8. Excellent start.

    A couple things stuck out when I read it aloud:

    1) the 'that's in the first paragraph felt like one too many

    2) 'recites a string' doesn't seem to match a character that says 'front a her' to me. Wouldn't it be more of a 'rambles off a string' or somesuch?

    I'd definitely keep reading :)

  9. Nice voice, and right off the bat we're introduced to two problems and two interesting characters - an angry ghost who doesn't want anyone in 'his' house, and a strong girl who is missing perhaps a friend after a move, or a loved one who's died. I'd read more.

  10. This is very good. I'm afraid I'm a chicken so I'm not sure I would read on too long simply because I'm already creeped out. With him laid out on a branch like a snake high above her, I'm definitely creeped out. And then when she starts chanting rhyming words I'm a little creeped out wondering if she's going to call up a dead best friend or a dead sister or something. In the end I think she's a poet instead of a witch. But the whole thing was so creepy that I wasn't sure at first.

    So I'm wondering who Chrissie is. And I'm wondering if this girl and this ghost are going to be friends. I'm not really convinced it's a ghost because why would a ghost need to be stretched out on a limb, hiding from a person?

    I can guess from the opening poem that she will help him. But that is creepy, too...him watching her over the gnarled limb.

    OK so you've done a really good job, making me want to know all these things. I'd have to read on to find some answers. And you've done a great job with an active girl who is unafraid--she's an interesting character. And the narrator is actively working to solve his conflict. So...very interesting.

    One technical glitch: knee-deep weeds like they was just mowed...or...the patch of knee-deep weeds like it was a just-mowed lawn. Right now it's the creaky, rusty gate that is like a just-mowed lawn, I think. That's the last singular noun so "it" would apply to that, I think.