Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Secret Agent #44

TITLE: Fair Investigations!
GENRE: MG Historical Fiction

     Henry adjusted his round wire-rimmed glasses and studied the mural of constellations on the domed ceiling above. Unaware of passengers below, bustling their way through Grand Central Depot, he was transfixed. And feeling very small. Smaller than small. An insignificant dot in the Milky Way of life.

     A voice shook him from his pondering.

     “Henry! Can you believe this masterpiece?" said Henry’s big sister, gazing up beside him.

     “It's reversed,” he said in a monotone voice.

     “Reversed?” Alice raised her hands in question, then let them snap to her side. “What do you mean, Henry?” 

     “Not from our perspective. From His.” Henry pointed skyward, a smirk growing on his lips. “Human error.”

     “Oh, Henry. Don't spoil things again. Can't we enjoy a thing without finding fault with it? It's magnificent!” His sister gazed up with a look of awe, lips parted, her sea-blue eyes wide.

     The chime sounded on the four-faced clock on the main floor below. It was 5:30pm. In one hour, their journey would begin. Alice deemed it the very best thing. But to Henry, it was absolutely the worst.

     He hated change. All those destinations on the schedule board made him nervous. Why leave the comfort of home and routine to face new foes?

It wasn't his idea to go to Chicago. It was their uncle’s idea.

     Pulling a small brown leather book from his pocket, Henry penned his angst in his journal. Change equals disaster. 



  1. I liked that you started with the story, and I got the sense that the mural, and the fact that it's reversed, will be important later.

    The sister came off as an older, teenaged, sister. I don't know if she is or not. Henry sounded MG. Perhaps a 12 year old.

    While I'm thinking Grand Central Depot might be Grand Central Station, placing them in New York, I don't know if that's correct or not. And I have no idea 'when' this is taking place. Perhaps give us some clues so we have a better sense of time and place. I'd give it a few more pages to see if a problem became more evident.

  2. You've given a great sense of Henry's personality with your descriptive details and his replies. You may want to be careful of using his name so often. In most real life dialogue, people do not use each others names. For instance, when his sister says "What do you mean?" No need to add Henry. The reader will know and it will sound more natural. Nice start and I'd read on to find out more about their trip. Good job!

  3. Love this! So true about the way a MG kid would think. I love Henry

  4. This is a great introduction of a strong MG character. Here's what I understand about Henry so far: he isn't happy about being forced to do things he doesn't want to; he doesn't believe his age should mean others can dictate his life; he believes he's smarter than most - even adults; he's lonely; he loves to torment his sister, although he actually adores her; he's passive aggressive. Is this your character at the beginning of his arc? If so, you've done a great job of setting it up for us. If not, what can you do to clarify the motivations behind his actions?

    Your setting is well presented. Does the train station play a significant role in the story anywhere else? This first page is a promise to the reader, so make the setting vital in some way. I'm getting the impression that the change itself isn't necessarily what he hates, but rather that he's being forced to change. I would cut the 3 sentences starting at 'He hated change.' They are quite telling. Show us instead - like in his journal entry. Which by the way, I wondered, would he write "Change equals disaster." or would he write "Change = disaster." ?

    I always love a brainy character. I hope to read more someday!

  5. Nice job of establishing the setting and time period. Some vocab words might throw contemporary mg reader: pondering, angst. Consider dialogue action tags: Henry's big sister gazed up beside him. Suggest you cut: He hated change. You show it with the comment about schedules, leaving home, and writing in his journal. Wondering if the uncle is with them? why are they traveling to Chicago?

  6. I love the contrast between Henry and Alice's characters. The conflict is clear and I am already interested in Henry and want to know more about him and how he responds to this journey. Nice job!

  7. When I read Grand Central Depot I assumed that was the old name for it and that this was happening a long time ago. I love the opening with Henry feeling small and being an insignificant dot in the Milky Way of life. I also love the contrast between the two characters and I don't think you need to spell out that Henry hated change. Lots of really good stuff here!

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  9. This is good. I like the voice, the sense of forward progression, and the family dynamics being set up. I would love to see more of this one. Very well done.