Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Secret Agent #36

GENRE: MG Fantasy adventure

I have a story to tell. One you won’t believe. But I swear, not a word of it is made up. You are already skeptical. I understand. Liars often tell you that their story is true. I may be a lot of unflattering things, but I am not a liar. So do me a favor. Listen to the end, and then decide for yourself, okay?
First off, for you to understand this story, we have to establish one particularly earth-shattering fact. Here goes… Santa Claus is real. I know, I know, I’m thirteen years old – much too old to believe in Santa, but I’ve seen the bastard with my own two eyes, and he is real I tell you. Real!

Did I lose you already? Are you shaking your head, considering putting this tale down? Don’t – because you need to hear this. You need to hear the truth about Santa Claus. Your very life may depend on it, and in fact, if you are unlucky enough to see him, take my advice. Run. Run far, scream for help, and don’t look back. Because Santa is real, and that is not good news.

Again, I swear, I’m not a liar. I know I’m not a good kid – I was never good. In fact, I am a downright mean, snot-nosed, spoiled, selfish little hellion. Santa checked his list twice, and I was at the top of the naughty column both times.


  1. I like the concept, and the voice of the narrator is extremely strong! However, I'm not sure if the word "bastard" would fly in an MG novel as opposed to YA. You may want to change that. Other than that, this opening definitely wants to make me read more and learn why Santa being real is so terrible.

  2. I'm intrigued by what makes Santa a bad guy--great concept that hooks out of the gate. But there's too much of the narrator telling the reader how they are feeling. I want to get to the action faster.

    The line "Santa is real, and that is not good news" is great. What if you started there and then went into the action? In general, I'd consider starting your story with a 1-2 sentence pithy hook and then diving into the action. In this way you get the uniqueness of your concept out, but let the reader decide how to feel about it.

    Hope that helps. Best of luck with this.

  3. I agree with sstokes. The minute the narrator says he has a story to tell, I'm not interested. I know I'm going to get a piece where the narrator goes on and on and nothing happens. That's what happened here. What happened in these 250 words? Nothing. The narrator just went on and on, saying the same thing over and over.

    Perhaps come up with a hooky first sentence, then dive into the story. Show us what's happening. Let us see how bad Santa behaves and why we should fear him, rather than trying to convince us he's real. Allow something to happen on the page. Get the story going and keep it moving. Try doing it without chatting with the reader. Don't tell us a story about bad Santa. Show us what happened that week, or summer, or whever it was that he realized Santa really existed.

  4. You've got a very strong voice. Maybe combine the first two sentences by a comma. When someone tells me I'm not going to believe something I've got to hear what it is. With your last paragraph you reiterate "Again, I ...." If you start with your second sentence it tells me interesting info.

    SStokes had a good idea about starting with your fabulous line "Santa is real...."

    And the use of cuss words? Just on general, for MGs.

    Great writing!

  5. OMG...I am chuckling my way through this...humor/voice...but I do want to get on into the story. Direct address is interesting; aka Kate de Camillo. Third sentence, cut "but". Cut "here goes"; just don't need these. Cut "bastard"...not in MG. use another word. Trim list of adjectives in last par...the reader gets the point. I'm intrigued; want to hear your story!

  6. I'm never the best person to be judging second person POV, but I do like how it establishes a solid voice for you. I'm interested once I get to "Santa is real, and that is not good news." The unique perspective is interesting, and I'd like to see a synopsis to see where you're going with it. For me, second person feels telling, but other than the concern with that, I think this is a solid piece of writing with a lot of potential if the strength of voice is maintained throughout.