Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September Secret Agent #30

Title: Spaceseed
Genre: MG Science Fiction

A small blue seed with tiny red bumps floated gently to the ground, settling in the middle of the sidewalk. Then, as if uncomfortable on the hard concrete, the seed rolled until it rested in the soft grass.

* * * * * * * *

Mandy skipped down the sidewalk. Her brother, Peter, ambled along a few yards behind her. She stopped and bent down, her curly red hair falling over her face. She picked up the small seed.

“Aw, Mandy, not another seed?” Peter frowned. “All you do is plant seeds in your window box.”

"Daddy‘s always working and I‘ve got no one to play with.” Mandy looked hopefully at her brother. “You could play with me, Peter.”

"For crying out loud, Mandy. I've got my own friends. They don‘t want to hang around a six year old..." He stopped. Tears glistened in Mandy’s eyes. "I guess you don't have many friends, do you?" he said.

Mandy pushed the hair from her face. “My flowers are my friends.”

“I suppose they even talk to you.” Peter grinned. Mandy pouted. “Flowers don’t talk! Anyway, this seed is just like the one I found a few days ago.”

“How do you know it isn’t a poison ivy seed?”

Mandy turned the seed over in her hand. “Because I planted the other one and it’s growing a beautiful flower.” She tucked the seed into her pants pocket.

“Well, I don’t think it’s smart to keep planting all those seeds. What if your apple seed grows? We live on the fourth floor.


  1. What will the seed become? An intriguing beginning, a warm opening and a clear voice. Like it.

  2. What will the seed become? An intriguing beginning, a warm opening and a clear voice. Like it.

  3. I love the idea. I haven't read the back cover copy of this and yet I have an idea of what this is going to be about but from the title and what goes on and I think whatever it is I'd like it. That said:

    The opening lines feel unnecessary. On the one hand I sorta like the atmosphere they cast. On the other hand, they're not lyrical or unique enough to cast the proper spell that kind of opening needs. I wanted them to work but they didn't.

    I was let down once the dialogue started. The things they say are too on the nose. They say exactly what you're trying to tell us, not what children that age would actually say in that situation. You used dialogue to infodump and it's left me with a feeling of wooden characters and no voice.

    I'd love to see this worked out because I think it would be really cool.

  4. From the title I assume the seed has come from space, but the opening lines left that open. It didn't seem necessary to me to start that way. It could be equally interesting (and potentially less confusing) to just start with the kids collecting seeds and go from there. I like the interaction between Mandy and Peter, though I agree with the prior comment about their dialogue being too precise for kids.

    Not a bad start, I'd be interested to read on!

  5. I like the premise! I like the suggestion that this seed comes from outer space. And that this girl talks to her plants - and that they talk back. And the brother's comment about planting something that might become huge in their apartment. You've planted lots of "seeds" in a short very writing sample.

    I'm not sure a tiny blue object with red bumps would immediately look like a seed. It seems appropriate the brother might chide his younger (I'm guessing) sister about thinking that something that looks like a missing piece of McDonald's happy meal is a seed. Then she could say she's already planted one that has a flower.

    I'd definitely read on. Great beginning.

  6. Looks like your got a couple fun main characters, but your focus seems to be on Mandy (she is the first name you mention). MG's don't usually have six-year-old main characters. If Peter is the MC you need to alter the start to make that more apparent.

  7. I like the premise - this story could go so many ways!
    The seed in the beginning is a great way to set the tone, but it'd be nice to have a little more to give it a more if it's indeed from space. I'm not sure who the MC is yet, but if it's the boy, I'd let his sister's collection of the seed happen from his POV to make it clear. The sister's small remark about already planting the same seed didn't catch my attention until the 2nd read through...but it has me wondering what will happen next.

  8. I like this premise. It's interesting, I thought the girl was the MC until I read the other comments here and now I'm wondering. I do think you need a different POV if the boy is the MC. I like the characters here. I think there's a little too much backstory shoved in the beginning--though...all the stuff about Dad always working and the brother not playing with her seems somewhat forced. I'm not sure I believe a 6yo would voice her opinions that way. She seems much more likely to just say that she likes seeds and we might learn the other pieces later. I do love the fact that the reader knows it's a weird seed, so we are expecting it to do something strange, and yet she has already planted one and it's growing a flower, which is exactly what you'd expect a seed to do and yet exactly what the reader would NOT expect THIS seed to do. I thought that was a great twist. I also liked the apple tree joke. That seemed much more natural and sibling-like than the rest of the conversation.

  9. This is really intriguing. I'd definitely read on to see what this seed becomes! The thing that stuck out to me the most is that I don't know whose point of view this is from. While this is really interesting, and I like it a lot, there is nothing that indicates who the POV character is.

    In this paragraph: “I suppose they even talk to you.” Peter grinned. Mandy pouted. “Flowers don’t talk! Anyway, this seed is just like the one I found a few days ago.”

    I'm guessing you need to start a new paragraph with "Mandy pouted." For a second I was confused about who was talking when you said, "Flowers don't talk!"

    Given the title, you probably don't need the opening lines. I do love the seed rolling into the grass as if it's uncomfortable! It paints such a great picture and sets an awesome tone! But overall it doesn't feel necessary. Maybe it just needs to be a little longer?

  10. Like others here, I’m torn on the opening lines. They do give a bit of atmosphere to the section… but at the same time it reads a bit like the hook on the back cover copy of the book. It works as a hook, yes, but I’m torn if this is the best way to start the book!

    Since we’re seeing the world from Mandy’s point of view (the hair fell over her face, she skipped, she looked hopefully at her brother, etc) I feel like she’s the MC, but then I was shocked to have the age tag be six. That’s definitely too young for a MG book… unless she’s about to be aged up in the next chapter (making this a prologue). If this is a prologue, I’d say cut it and filter in things that Mandy has been collecting seeds since she was a small child and go from there.

    It somehow feels very SECRET GARDEN-esque. The writing is nice and it’s something that would have me read on a bit, if only to learn who the POV character is for certain — something that should really be evident from the start!

  11. I liked the opening paragraph. It shows us this seed has a will of its own.

    The rest seemed really young, and it’s probably because we’re in the POV of a 6 year old. If this is going to be MG, stick us in Peter’s POV and keep us there.

    The dialogue is also a bit telly. Perhaps rewrite so it comes off as natural, rather than being there to inform the reader.