As you might recall, I am attempting NaNoWriMo this year, and it's going to claim almost all of my available attention. In lieu of regular blog activities, therefore, I am going to post extracts of my novel in progress, which is a middle-grade girl-detective story, It's off to a flying start - 2 November and I'm sitting on 6,000 words - it's just flying off my fingers at the moment (long may it continue!)
So here is the introduction to my attempt at a middle-grade novel - Frankie Loveday, Girl Detective. Feedback is most welcome and invited!
You know, the worst thing about being a detective and being a girl is being called a Girl Detective.
I don’t know why it bothers me. I mean, it’s just a description, right? I am, in fact, and actually, a girl, and by some freaks of coincidence, I seem to have ended up as a detective. Kind of, anyway. It’s just, I don’t know, it feels a bit like I’m being taken down a peg when people say it that way. Like they want to point out that I am FIRST a girl, and THEN a “detective”, with what my Mum calls “sarcastic curly quotes” around the detective part. Like, well, she’s as much of a detective as you could expect a girl to be. Which isn’t that much.
When my brother Seb helps me out with cases, people don’t call him a Boy Detective, do they? Well, usually they call him You Know, That Little Kid With the Glasses, Frankie’s Brother? Which annoys him to no end, truth be told. It’s what comes of being the assistant, I tell him. And two years younger, and a full head shorter, and quieter, better-behaved and not, um, plus-sized like me. People just notice him less. This can be good thing, I tell him. Especially in our line of work. Blending in to the background is a real advantage when you need to check stuff out on the QT, which is a lot of the time. He can go places, hear things, that I’d never hear, because people just don’t notice he’s there. Think of it as like your superpower, I tell him. You are Mr Invisible. He never looks all that convinced.
Me, I don’t blend. At all, ever, really. When you’re 11 years old, taller than all the boys in your class, possessed of what my Dad calls “a magnificent head of mahogany ringlets” (for which read, Frizzy Bright Red Hair and Lots of It), and fat, standing out is pretty much a given. Of course, the fact that I am also a loudmouth, extremely smart, and not particularly bothered what the cool kids think assists in the non-blending-in, too. I am never invisible.
Maybe I’m over-thinking it all, though. I have a tendency to do that. After all, there are lots of strong, fantastic girl detectives around, right? Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, and so forth. (Truth be told, I’m not too much of a Nancy fan, even though we share the blessing / curse of red hair. She’s so much more put-together than me, pretty much Miss Perfect, which, hello? So Not Me. Trixie, though, I like. She mucks things up all the time, but she’s brave and she keeps on trying and she gets there in the end. That I can work with).
So, all right, I guess I can cope with it.
Hi. I’m Frankie Loveday, Girl Detective. Pleased to meet you.
16 minutes ago