Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September Secret Agent #39

Genre: MG Fantasy

Being the only boggart in a forest village full of elves had its perks. They had no prior knowledge of his kind, so the boggart did as he pleased while the others went about their chores. Not that he was useless. Awkward, maybe. Overbearing, certainly.

Misunderstood...always. But Festy thought in another fifty years or so, he’d fit right in. The squirrel-sized boggart flew around the cluster of tree hole homes to slurp water from the nearby creek. A bucktooth hung out of either side of his snout as he caught a whiff of excitement—the last day of summer—a celebration with food, fun, and an extraordinary play (with only one actor).

Festy drew his bat-like wings in front of him like a stage curtain. His big round eyes peeked out as he flung his arms open for his first scene: “Hark! Who goes there?” he said in his thick British accent.

His lean blue body leapt over a fallen tree limb and landed on a pair of pointy feet attached to an irritated elf. Festy froze. Two of the elf leaders stood in his path.

Rue crossed her leafy arms. The bristly yellow flowers that grew out of her body sprung up and down impatiently as if they too were annoyed with him. “Festy, we do not have time to endure,” she paused, “that is, enjoy, your entertainment this evening.” She pruned a dead branch off of a nearby fern with one quick snap.


  1. This is so great. I love the description that's hidden in the narrative. Nicely done!

  2. This is so great. I love the description that's hidden in the narrative. Nicely done!

  3. Hello!

    This seems like an interesting concept for MG (I've not seen any boggart protagonists). It's a little hard to get a grip on what is happening at this point, though, which it would be good to clarify. In particular, I'm not sure about how the first paragraph, where the forest-dwellers don't know about boggarts, connects to the last, where the forest dwellers DO no about him and DON'T let him just do whatever he wants.

    I think part of the confusion also comes from the rapid transition from just flying around the forest to there being a summer celebration -- which is only brought up in that one line, so it's hard to get a picture of what is happening.

    Cool character concepts and a fun setting. Good luck!

  4. This sounds like a cute story. I have a one critique for you though: I think the third paragraph should be your opening paragraph. It gives me more of a sense of who Festy is and starting with some sort of action will draw the reader in right away. Other than that, it was great!

  5. Love everything about this boggart from his name to his appearance.

    I was a little confused by the elves reaction to him. If they had no knowledge of boggarts, wouldn't they at least be curious about him?

  6. This is fun! I had the same question about the shift from not knowing about him to knowing him by name. Also, I kind of wondered about the character himself (keeping in mind that all I really know about boggarts is from HP), but don't they scare creatures by assuming their worst fear? Or can they chose not to do that? I found myself wondering that as I read :)

  7. I love the name "festy" and the setup of being the only boggart in a village of elves. I would love to get more into that, maybe, and/or start with more action and learn about later. To me, it seems like an abrupt change from a musing about being the only boggart to suddenly confronting elves, and I don't really know why he is confronting them or why they aren't amused by him. Also, even though it starts with Festy's thoughts about being the only boggart, I can't tell what he is thinking about Rue. Does he know her? My concern with this intro is that it tries to do too much--set a stage about the culture, while also introducing an immediately conflict--but because of that maybe doesn't do either quite as effectively as it might. What if you tried to separate intros to see which one you liked best? One could start with the musings, but give us more information: "being the only boggart had its perks, like flying in secret"... or whatever boggarts do...maybe most people know what they do, but I only know the HP boggarts. :) OR the intro could start with the 3rd/4th paragraphs and then put the background in later? Anyway, just a thought but I love the premise! Good luck!

  8. I’m going to be the contrary one here and say that I like where this starts. Ah, this business is just so subjective isn’t it? It gives a nice background setting and, thinking of folks who may only be familiar with a Boggart thanks to Harry Potter, it’s a quick way of showing other folklore versions of them. Since Boggarts do exist in pop culture and in such a prevalent way — who is going to forget Alan Rickman in a dress any time soon — I like having the clarification of his look and things about Festy so his character is clear.

    The only couple of lines that didn’t make much sense to me were the “extraordinary play (with only one actor)” and Rue’s last line about enjoying his entertainment that evening. I don’t know why the elves don’t have time to endure, etc.

    I do, though, love the idea of a boggart as a narrator and, I’m hoping that he’s a bit of a trickster and will prove to be a bit of an unreliable narrator. Well done and I’d read on!

  9. This felt young to me. I felt I was getting a picture book plot in the form of a MG book. Will the adventures of Festy be entertaining enough for MG kids, or will they appeal more to a younger crowd? If Festy is a cute little boggart who keeps getting in trouble because he’s clumsy and misunderstood, MG is probably not your audience.

    If whatever happens to Festy is on a par with a MG audience, get some of that onto the page.

    I also wondered why the elves had no time for Festy’s play since this was a day of food, fun, and celebration. What else did they have to do?