Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July Secret Agent #32

TITLE: Welcome to Duckworld
GENRE: MG realistic fantasy

“Mooooooookieeeeee! Come here, boy!”Mrs C's nervous flip-flops fluttered across the top of the deck. It sounded like she was dancing on top of my head. That's because I right there. Hiding under the deck.

And yes, Mokie, even when it's drawn out as long as a six foot leash, still rhymes with “Smokey.” To make matters worse Mokie is short for “Mokus” which is Hungarian for squirrel. I'm named for an animal that’s so stupid it'll run back in front of a car after it’s made it safely across the road. It makes “Bozo”sound smart.

And speaking of names, here’s another one for you: Capragonoleono. It sounds like a swooping butterfly looks. CAP-Ruh-GONE-oh-LEE-Ah-no. And you're seeing right. Four o’s , two a’s, and one e, jammed into a thicket of Pick-Up-Stick consonants. Mr C and Mrs C is short and simple so I'm sticking with it.

Wait a minute...just one they come...Mr C's shoes. Each step sounds like the period at the end of a sentence. And now, just for me, Mr C's siren whistle. He learned how to do that in the middle of New York City traffic. But there's nothing taller than a two story building out here in the burbs. I'll bet every dog that's watched too many Animal Planet shows about border collies and sheep will come running. All this hub-bub is over a tub. They want to give me a bath.

“Miles! Emma! Did you see which way he went?” Now Mrs C's called for back-up. The kids.


  1. I did not care for this opening. There are grammar and punctuation issues. Also, I didn't care for so much explanation of all the names. It wasn't very intriguing. I didn't even get to the end.

    perhaps reconsider where your story starts and leave out the name information for the moment. Just my opinion.

  2. Ah - so he's a dog? I'd like to know this much sooner.

    I didn't mind the first paragraph about his (her?) name. It was funny and conveyed attitude. The second, though, (about the Capragonoleonos) went on too long. Moving it to a later page would help.

  3. Congrats on writing a book! Best of luck with everything. This beginning is fun, with a light-heartedness that is intriguing.

    I do think it would help for you to tighten up things, use less words for the same meanings. Such as, flip-flops can't be nervous -- just say they fluttered and that's enough. I think you're also missing a "was" in 5th sentence.

    The explanations of the names is too much for this part of a book. I would suggest moving that (but tightened up!) to a later part of the book. For now, you need to get us into the action. I would suggest you go right from "Hiding under the deck." to the 4th paragraph, and leave the name stuff for later, once the action is going.

    Is your protagonist actually a dog? Not quite sure...he talks about dogs, but I'm not sure if that's just a joke about the whistle.

    There is some clever and fun writing in here -- it's just buried in some of the other stuff.

    Again, good luck! I hope this is helpful for you.

  4. It took me a while to figure out the MC was a dog. At least I'm 90% sure it's a dog...

    The missing word in the first paragraph threw me off a little, and the explanation of Mr and Mrs C's name went on a little long for me.

    I loved the part about the whistle and Animal Planet. I'm curious how the title plays into it all. Overall, I found it funny - just needs some tightening up here and there. Good luck!

  5. I'm guessing the blurb will mention that he's a dog. The first sentence sounded like she was talking to a dog, it just too me a second to realize that the MC was the dog!

    The missing words did throw me off. The dog has a distinct voice, but I don't think I'd be able to read this. An MG book from the POV of a dog is interesting though. It might actually work better as a chapter book, but I don't read a ton of MG so I'm definitely not an expert.

    The name explanations went on too long. It's not necessary. I think it would flow better (and erase a lot of confusion) if you moved all the stuff about the bath up.

    All this said, if I was into talking dogs and could deal with his bad grammar, this does sound like fun.

  6. Ditto on the grammar and punctuation errors. But I didn't get the MC was a dog, but I'm posting my comments around midnight, which could be adding to my confusion.

    The explanations of the words were too long and I wasn't sure about the importance. This made it difficult for me to connect to the MC.

    Also, you mention Mokie is short for Mokus, but it really isn't because they have the same number of characters. I think maybe it's a nickname for Mokus, or something, but not "short for".

    If the MC is really a dog, I think you've got a cool concept going. If you tighten up the sentences and grammar, I'd be very interested in where the story was going.

    Hope this helped. Good luck!

  7. I understood that the narrator is the dog, and I think it's cute. Like the others mentioned, proofread again for the technical errors, punctuation, missing word in the opening paragraph.

    I don't mind the first paragraph of name explanation because that's the narrator. The second, eh, it could go. I don't think an MG reader will understand the simile. I didn't.

    Good luck!

  8. I really like the voice so far! A little sarcastic combined with humor always reads well, I think. The only thing I didn’t like about this was there seemed to be too many characters. Mrs. C was walking across the deck and then Mr. C appears and before the 250 words is up there are some children involved as well. I guess I’d also like to know how the main character is related to the C’s and why they would have to hunt him down to give him a bath (unless he is a dog…), but I’d probably just keep reading to find out ☺

  9. MC is a dog? I was just beginning to like your MC boy when I found out he was a dog. Threw me a bit. Could you move the "Wait a minute" paragraph to the first then go to the first paragraph? When Mrs. C said "Come here, boy" I thought it said more about her than it did about the MC, so I was surprised to find out the MC was actually a dog she was calling. Thought she was just a crotchety old lady that called kids 'boy'.
    I would leave out the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs completely. Or move them to later after you set up that the MC is a dog and where he is and what he wants. They slow the story down. Although they do help us see the MCs attitude. Although, as a dog owner, I'm not sure I like that attitude in a dog! :-D Of course, if I were 10, I'd probably love it.

  10. I liked the humor here, and am intrigued by the idea of a book from the POV of a dog. But the information about the names is distracting here and pulls us out of the moment. You might want to cut this, or move it later in the story.

  11. I hope you all revisit this
    entry because I want to thank everyone who commented! I know it takes time to do this - your thoughts are much appreciated.

    Yes!!! The POV is a dog's. The chapter title is: Three Men in a Tub is Better Than One Dog. That probably would have helped the reader know the MC is a dog. And even though I couldn't have a chapter heading in the submission, I could have moved that line into the text of the story.

    Yes!!! I will move the paragraph about the human names a bit deeper into the story. It eats up precious intro space.

    Yes!!! If I write anything longer than my name I'll run it by a member of my writer's group because I just do not see the errors on the page. :-O

    I've learned a lot from your comments - about my piece as well as other entries. Thanks again!