In Which I Judge My Own Writing Part XVI

It is time to judge the book I wrote when I was ten again! This book is called Spy Academy and the Secret of Ethelbertha Harrison, so as you can tell it takes place at a spy school. In this weekly feature I recap a chapter and provide you with sarcastic commentary. 

Part I | Part II | Part IIIPart IV Part VPart VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IX | Part X | Part XI | Part XII | Part XIII | Part XIV | Part XV

Ah I remember this chapter. All the first years are going on their ‘first mission’, but um. Most of them aren’t really ‘spy missions’. If any at all. Zoey, Laila and Bryan need to babysit one of the teachers children, but apparently there are criminals trying to kidnap her (though I think they’re just saying that to justify child labour). Patricia, Reane and Tim need to pick up the janitor from the hospital. Once again the argument ‘he could be kidnapped!!’ is used, because he used to be ‘an excellent spy with a lot of enemies’. Yeah okay but why would anyone go after an old man, when there’s nothing to gain #logic.

Oh and Ricky and his teammates are trying to catch one of the teacher’s dogs who had run from home. And basically it’s just another filler chapter, because nothing happens. Literally nothing. Wow that would make a short post. Let’s continue on to chapter 14 then, shall we? This one’s called ‘The Dream’. So I’m guessing Zoey’s going to have the same dream from the prologue. Yep she does. And I’m pretty sure I just copy pasted it from the prologue because it’s exactly the same. Zoey now finally remembers the dream from two years ago and thinks it might be a kind of vision of the past. About Ethelbertha

Because of Zoey’s dream, they now know what happened to Ethelbertha (Sheffield Sr. had locked her up inside the secret room inside the secret room) and where the secret room in the secret room was (damn secret-room-ception): in a wardrobe. But said wardrobe was locked last time they were there, and when they try to open it with a bobby pin that evening, it won’t work. They’ll have to find the key…

And turns out chapter 14 was super short, so that’s it for this week! Next week’s chapter is called ‘the prediction comes true’. Is it too much to add that dum dum dummm gif again here or…

Okay I can’t think up any questions for you guys, so just talk to me about your writing! Do you have any fun anecdotes for me? Let me know in the comments!


In Which I Judge My Own Writing Part XV

It is time to judge the book I wrote when I was ten again! This book is called Spy Academy and the Secret of Ethelbertha Harrison, so as you can tell it takes place at a spy school. In this weekly feature I recap a chapter and provide you with sarcastic commentary. 

Part I | Part II | Part IIIPart IV Part VPart VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IX | Part X | Part XI | Part XII | Part XIII | Part XIV

The conversation between Bryan and Chris Leblanc, Ethelbertha’s old teammate, continues. Bryan asks if he thinks if Edmund Sheffield, the grandson of Ethelbertha’s archenemy could be behind her disappearance. It turns out that there’s something Sheffield wanted, but Ethelbertha managed to get her hands on it before him: a brooch that’s worth 100 million. It was a very special brooch: it belonged to…

Mona Lisa

Bryan wonders what Sheffield would want with it. Chris says he thinks he wants to sell it. ”Lots of criminals do that with valuable things they steal.” Update: I’ve died of laughter.

After the conversation the friends talk about what they’ve just learned and wonder where the brooch could be. Then Zoey has a breakthrough: she opens Ethelbertha’s medallion (which they had found in the locked room in a previous chapter) and finds the brooch behind the picture of Ethelbertha. Reane is impressed: ‘That really belonged to Mona Lisa. I read about it!’ That’s impossible Reane, because ‘Mona Lisa’ is not a person, it’s the name of the painting. Damn Reane you’re supposed to know stuff.

Then Zoey has another breakthrough: she realises that she’s the girl falling through the trap door on the tarot card, because Sheffield knows she has the medallion. But Zoey how does he even know the brooch is in there #logic. Zoey tells Reane to keep the medallion for her, because he can’t get his hands on it. PEOPLE IT’S JUST A BROOCH IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD IF HE DOES GET HIS HANDS ON IT. IT’S AN EXPENSIVE BROOCH THAT’S NOT GOING TO DESTROY THE WORLD.

Sometime later Reane is looking up information about the Sheffields in the library. Conveniently she finds a book called ‘Criminals of The Netherlands’. Oh boy this man meant business. When he was a smol baby, he stole cookies from the cookie jar. The book’s like: ‘all criminals start small’. PRETTY MUCH EVERY CHILD STEALS COOKIES FROM THE COOKIE JAR BOOK. When he was a bit older he started to steal money, went to juvie at 13, escaped a year later and then two years later he tried to freeze the country. See? business. He ended up in juvie again, but this time escaped after two months. They found him again in Mexico, where he tried to flood the country #what. He tried to blow up the prison in which they kept him afterwards, but Ethelbertha stopped him. He was already dying in 1990, but he still tried to steal Mona Lisa’s brooch (*screaming*). Like Chris already mentioned, Ethelbertha found it before he did and hid it. But she disappeared in 1991. Sheffield died a week later. Reane concludes that it had to be Sheffield who made her disappear, but where was she know? (I love how it doesn’t occur to anyone that she could have been murdered – the innocence of a ten-year old author)

Did you steal cookies from the cookie jar? Are you know a criminal mastermind? Let me know in the comments!



In Which I Judge My Own Writing Part XIV

It is time to judge the book I wrote when I was ten again! This book is called Spy Academy and the Secret of Ethelbertha Harrison, so as you can tell it takes place at a spy school. In this weekly feature I recap a chapter and provide you with sarcastic commentary. 

Part I | Part II | Part IIIPart IV Part VPart VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IX | Part X | Part XI | Part XII | Part XIII

Last chapter was completely pointless, but chapter 11 is called ‘the secret room’ so surely some important stuff happens in this one right? Let’s dive in.

They’re all in the mysterious no longer locked room, pondering about what Door said about Ethelbertha being locked inside a secret room in a secret room, when Laila accidentally finds one of said secret rooms by pulling a torch on the the wall (don’t ask me why there is a torch in a modern 21st century school). There was now a hallway and a stairway leading up. Pictures of Ethelbertha are hanging on the walls. Why. That makes no sense. I should really rename the book to ‘Spy Academy And It Makes No Sense’. Upstairs they find themselves in a dome entirely made out of glass (HOW HAS NO ONE NOTICED THIS FROM THE OUTSIDE THIS ISN’T HOGWARTS)

After an hour of ~investigating~ Tim finds a diary. Zoey decides to read it later that evening after dinner (Tim can’t read the handwriting). They also find more pictures, in which they also see Heyligers. Reane just happens to carry the yearbook she had found in the library with her (doesn’t she have to return that at some point soon) and it turns out that Heyligers and Ethelbertha were classmates. They also deduce that they were friends.

Once Zoey is back in her room she starts reading the diary. Turns out that Ethelbertha and Heyligers were in the same team along with a guy named Chris LeBlanc (nah I didn’t come up with that last name because of Friends *cough cough*). On her second day of school Ethelbertha went to explore the school and found the same locked door as our protagonists, which she immediately opened because she is prepared and always carries a bobby pin with her, unlike some ‘spies’. She claimed the room as hers, because #logic. She put up her dresses there, because she’ll ‘know they’ll be safe there’. What. Why wouldn’t they be safe in your room. She writes about how some other students can’t stand her because she’s ‘always wearing dresses’?? ‘But it’s who I am. And I won’t change for them!’

After a week Ethelbertha has really claimed the room as her own, stating that it’s like she’s living there. She’s been busy exploring it, because she feels ‘as if there’s more to it’

A few weeks later she and Heyligers have found a secret room (the same one the protagonists just found). But after that entry Zoey was done and fell asleep.

Like true spies the friends decide to try and find Chris LeBlanc’s phone number and call him. They are very good at being spies of course, and they go to Heyligers’ office to take a look in her planner. Sure enough, his number is in there. So Zoey starts calling and a woman, with the same last name as Chris, picks up.

”Hello, this is Zoey Lamour. I go to Spy Academy and I have a few questions for your husband.”

Zoey your parents aren’t even allowed to know where you actually go to school what do you not understand about ‘secrecy’. Once Zoey tells Chris that she’s investigating Ethelbertha’s disappearance (girl you need to work on your keeping things secret skills what if he’s got something to do with it) and he immediately freaks out and asks if she spoke to the police. Apparently they had him down as a suspect, at least years ago. Suspicious. (spoiler: he had nothing to do with it, but I feel like that’s a lost opportunity). Zoey puts Bryan on the phone to tell Chris about his kidnappers and he describes them as ‘tall, thin, black hair and brown-green eyes’ and ‘short, fat, bald and grey eyes’. This is enough for Chris to deduce that the tall one is most likely Edmund Sheffield, the archenemy of Ethelbertha

Did you dream of having your own secret room as a kid? I feel like everyone did, but maybe I’m wrong. Also who am I kidding don’t we all still dream about having one? Preferably in a big library. Though it would be annoying if you just want to grab a book to read and BAM. You’re on the other side in your secret room. 


In Which I Judge My Own Writing Part XIII

It is time to judge the book I wrote when I was ten again! This book is called Spy Academy and the Secret of Ethelbertha Harrison, so as you can tell it takes place at a spy school. In this weekly feature I recap a chapter and provide you with sarcastic commentary. 

Part I | Part II | Part IIIPart IV Part VPart VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IX | Part X | Part XI | Part XII

Chapter ten is called ‘Ria’s revenge’, so naturally it’s time to reintroduce Ria. Ria is one of Ricky’s teammates. She wears big glasses and isn’t that nice since she and Johnny, Ricky’s other teammate, didn’t want to hang out with him. And now she wants revenge for something.

Ricky overhears her and Johnny whispering about something: ‘Be in the woods at five’. What could they be planning? The two of them are late for class, and Ricky doesn’t want to enter after them in fear of Heyligers’ wrath. Luckily for him he comes up with a great excuse: ‘They locked me up in the bathroom!’ Heyligers thinks this is awful, so she punishes Ria and Johnny without even listening to their side of the story.

Later Ricky tells the others about what he overheard. He thinks Ria’s going to take revenge on him for putting on a bear costume and pretending to be a bear (this was on their first day of classes). Turns out he’s right, because in the next paragraph Miranda (one of the teachers) is helping Ria into a bear costume, but it turns out someone is listening in… Who could it be?!

Turns out it was Ricky. He now knows about the revenge plot (why is no one wondering why Miranda is in on this because I am). He goes along with it when Johnny asks him to meet in the woods though, but naturally when Johnny yells ‘A BEAR’ he doesn’t fall for it. But then…

”Um, that’s not a costume.” they turn around to find Ria, so the bear in front of them must be real.

Except it’s not because it’s Miranda. Turns out she and her sister Melinda (another sister) had a plan of their own, to scare the entire team. Except not. Because Melinda told Ricky about the plan. And that was this chapter

What a pointless filler chapter.

Have you ever written a filler chapter that adds NOTHING? Not to the plot, subplots, character arcs, character development, relationships etc.? Let me know in the comments!

Ps. Help I’m going back to school tomorrow and it’s not Hogwarts


In Which I Judge My Own Writing XII

It is time to judge the book I wrote when I was ten again! This book is called Spy Academy and the Secret of Ethelbertha Harrison, so as you can tell it takes place at a spy school. In this weekly feature I recap a chapter and provide you with sarcastic commentary. 

Part I | Part II | Part IIIPart IV Part VPart VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IX | Part X | Part XI

We’re at chapter 9 already! Can you believe it? This chapter is called ‘the prediction’. I wonder what that prediction is about? (no seriously I’m not just saying that I’m actually wondering)

Last chapter ended on a cliffhanger, with the squad in Patricia and Reane’s room after curfew and hearing footsteps. It was Heyligers patrolling, but they all hid in time so no harm done. They decide to quickly try out the tarot cards so they can go to bed. Apparently Reane didn’t just steal the cards, but also the instructions (loool). Reane turns three cards and this is what’s on them:

A full moon. A girl falling through a trap door. An office, with a woman behind the desk and a boy and a girl on the other side.

I definitely did NOT know how tarot cards worked. They deduce that when it’s a full moon, a girl will fall through a trap door and a boy and a girl will tell a woman. They also deduce that this woman is most likely supposed to be the headmistress. They decide that they need to know what her office looks like, so it’s time to trade food for information with Door again. She’s fallen out of love with chicken, now it’s ‘puddingbroodjes’ (I looked it up and ‘bread pudding’ comes pretty close to it but it’s still not the same) (damn now I want some). They wonder how they can get those (I dunno maybe the kitchen or maybe at a bakery just some suggestions), so in case they can’t get any their plan B is to ask Melinda (she was one of the teachers that recruited the girls). Of course they could also just go up and ask her right away, since that would be easier and quicker but okay

Ah okay, so Door only likes the ‘puddingbroodjes’ from a certain bakery, all the way in Amsterdam. Door sure is picky. Zoey, Laila and Ricky don’t think they can pay for it, because damn those shipping costs. And the pudding bread itself is super expensive too. But have no fear Tim is here! Turns out Tim’s father is rich and he easily takes out two notes of fifty euro and hands them over. HOW MANY ‘PUDDINGBROODJES’ ARE THEY PLANNING ON BUYING THAT THEY NEED 100 EUROS

After Tim is gone, Reane enters and shows them what she wanted to show them before Heyligers caught them (see Part XI). Turns out she found a yearbook of 1984 and in it she found a picture of Door. She also found a picture of Ethelbertha Harrison (okay last time I said she went to the school in the 1990’s but she did graduate during that time, so). So turns out that Door had gone to the school at the same time as Ethelbertha. They decide to ask her about it that same evening when they’ll give her the ‘puddingbroodjes’. Ah no, turns out they only ordered one. Did they seriously spend 100 euros on one ‘puddingbroodje’ and the shipping costs.

Anyway, Door is delighted at the sight of her current favourite food. Reane shows her the tarot card with the office on it and Door confirms that it looks like the headmistress’ office. She doesn’t remember Ethelbertha though, but she does remembers when they show her the yearbook picture. She tells them that no one knows why she disappeared, but some people suspect that she’s still at the school, locked inside a secret room. A secret room in a secret room.

Later that night they take another look at the tarot cards, which apparently aren’t missed by Heyligers even though she uses them every day (more #logic). They turn three other cards, and one of them shows two girls and a boy wearing the SpyUniform (don’t ask me what this is because I have no clue). Above them it says ‘1’. It’s supposed to be Team 1, so they figure that either Zoey or Laila will fall through a trap door. *internally screaming that this is not how tarot cards work*

The next card shows a bird laying an egg. In The Netherlands we have the saying ‘in mei leggen alle vogels een ei’, which means ‘in May all birds lay an egg’ (it sounds better in Dutch). So they deduce that the girl falling through a trap door will happen in May. The last card shows a man, who Bryan recognises as one of the man that kidnapped him.

Sorry but not sorry I really love this gif thus why I use it in almost all of these posts

Would you be willing to spend 100 euros on food. In one day. On one frickin’ meal. Because I love food but I’m not. Also have you been writing? How’s it going? Let me know in the comments!


In Which I Judge My Own Writing XI

It is time to judge the book I wrote when I was ten again! This book is called Spy Academy and the Secret of Ethelbertha Harrison, so as you can tell it takes place at a spy school. In this supposed to be weekly feature  I recap a chapter and provide you with sarcastic commentary.

Part I Part II | Part III | Part IV Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX | Part X

Since last post was getting a bit long I decided to split the chapter up. What’s most important from last time is that they decide to open the mysterious locked door that night. Not everyone is coming along: Patricia doesn’t want to break the rules since she’s a team leader (so is Zoey but she doesn’t care) and Bryan is still recovering of course.

So anyway, the others all sneak out of their rooms to the eight floor where the door is. Zoey uses the bobby pin from Door to open it and they find themselves in a small round room, which disappoints them. Reane ponders that there might be a secret room (is this my attempt of foreshadowing?), but since they have a lot of classes the next morning and have to get up early, they decide to come back after class. It makes me wonder what the point of going at night was.

If you’ve read the last part you may remember that there’s no hospital wing or ER Room or anything like that. Nor are there any doctors at the school, even though they’re training for spies. Now Zoey and Laila are both suffering from a headache and decide to get some aspirin. You know where they’re going to get that? At the kitchen. That makes no sense, but okay. This adds nothing to the plot, but I like to share everything that makes no sense with you guys.

Zoey, Laila and Ricky’s classes are done with classes before the others so they decided to investigate while the others have class. Zoey says ‘maybe we’ll find a diary or something’ – I doubt I knew what foreshadowing was at that age but look, my second attempt in one chapter. In the end Laila finds a portrait of a woman who Zoey recognises her from the statue in the fountain in the school’s garden (second day of school: Zoey, Laila and Bryan explored the school and Zoey thought the statue looked familiar – though she doesn’t remember it’s the woman she dreamed about in the prologue).

At dinner they decide to go back when they’re done eating. Reane leaves them to go the library and will meet up with them later. The friends think she’s going to look for a book about the history of the school, because Reane loves history. But as Zoey mysteriously points out: ”I don’t think she’s just looking for it because she loves history’. Oooh more foreshadowing.

Zoey and Patricia investigate the wardrobe in the secret room. Who knows why Ethelbertha had a wardrobe (and a portrait of herself?) in that room, when she had a dorm room at the school. It’s full with old clothes. I think I imagined them as dresses from the early 20th century, even though Ethelbertha was at the school in the 1990’s #logic

In the pocket of one of the dresses Zoey finds a medallion, in which there’s a picture of a small girl and the name ‘Ethelbertha’ scratched in it. I’m starting to think that Ethelbertha was a bit in love with herself.

There are some knocks on the door – Reane. She exclaims ‘you’ll never believe this!’, to which Heyligers, who appears behind her out of nowhere responds ‘Indeed I won’t believe this! Can’t you read? It says ‘forbidden!’.

Okay so a bunch of nonsense happens that is completely irrelevant to the plot and the characters’ development – so let’s skip that. They’ve all gotten individual punishments, and Reane’s is to clean Heyligers’ office, which she’s investigating naturally. Because she’s a spy (I almost wrote spie oh my god). She just takes Heyligers’ tarot cards with her (it’s not like she’ll miss them right) and makes copies of letters from Heyligers’ friend André and Heyligers’ diary (um rude)

When Reane’s back in her room she starts to read all the letters, but none of them are important and really should’ve been left out. 10-year old me needs to learn what editing is.

Okay so remember when Heyligers tried to steal Door’s chicken? Apparently that wasn’t just my attempt at comedy. In one of the letter André talks about a ritual that he thinks they should perform – Christmas Day, midnight. And this is what she’ll need:

  • 1 chicken
  • 9 onions around the chicken
  • Lemonade to cover the chicken in
  • Orange juice for in the chicken


Okay so apparently it was a ritual to summon ghosts. What.

The letter:

It worked! The ritual worked! The ghosts spoke to us. At least with mom, dad, uncle Joop, aunt Kelly and me. I hope they spoke with you as well, Lil. If not, let me know, then I’ll tell you what they said in the next letter. Happy New Years by the way!

Ah, summoning ghosts over dinner (because that’s not the ingredients for a ritual okay), what a great way to bond with your family.

In his last letter André writes that according to ‘the cards’ the room will be opened that same month (aay that happened), but he warns her to not go in there herself, because according to the headmistress it’s ‘dangerous’. What. I really wonder why it’s dangerous? How fun I, the author, have no clue either.

The chapter ends with the entire squad (including Bryan who refused to stay behind) in Reane and Patricia’s room, talking about their newest discovery. But then they hear footsteps…

And that’s it for this week. Hopefully I’ll be back next week so I can actually call this a weekly feature haha.

Have you ever tried to summon a chicken? Be honest guys. Share your rituals. 


In Which I Judge My Own Writing Part X

It is time to judge the book I wrote when I was ten again! This book is called Spy Academy and the Secret of Ethelbertha Harrison, so as you can tell it takes place at a spy school. In this weekly feature  I recap a chapter and provide you with sarcastic commentary. 

Part I | Part II | Part IIIPart IV Part VPart VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IX

Let’s recap what’s happened so far, because boy am I getting confused.

Our four main characters (Zoey, Laila, Reane and Patricia) have arrived at Spy Academy where they made new friends and have been divided into teams: Zoey, Laila and Bryan are Team 1. Reane, Patricia and Tim are Team 7. They’ve also made friends with their classmate Ricky and one of the school’s chef Door. Now Door does everything for food (i.e. threatening people over the phone), so when the teens discover a locked door and need a bobby pin that Door happens to have, they decide they need to get their hands on Door’s current favourite meal: chicken. Zoey bought a chicken all the way in a Dutch village called Castricum at the start of the Christmas holidays, so that must taste good *ahum*. Oh and Team 1 found a letter addressed to their teacher miss Heyligers from a man named André and the entire letter doesn’t make much sense, but there’s a mystery surrounding a woman called Ethelbertha Harrison, which of course the teens want to solve because they’re training to become spies after all. Oh and Bryan was in London during his Christmas break and was chased by some shady guys who were dressed as the Royal National Guard. Okay, so let’s start chapter 8: The Forbidden Chamber (actually ‘room’ but ‘chamber’ sounds prettier)

All the kids are back at school, hugging and talking about their break… Except Bryan.

They figure he’s just late and get inside after an older student tells them to. They immediately notice that one of the teachers, Mei Lin, is missing and naturally they immediately become suspicious. They are spies after all. The headmistress tells them that  Mei Lin will be away for a few days so they won’t have ‘fight training’ and that she doesn’t know how long she’ll be gone. At that moment the doors open and Mei Lin walks in with Bryan, who are both severely wounded (well Bryan is, Mei Lin only has a black eye). Instead of taking Bryan to the hospital wing or ER Room or something sensible that a school for spies should have, Heyligers takes him to her office where she has some creams to help. TAKE THE BOY TO A HOSPITAL.

The friends are worried for their friend of course and wonder what happened. They conclude that it must have happened in London, and for some reason Tim suggests that the Royal National Guards might be behind it?? Did I even know who they were and what they did at that age?

Zoey and Laila, as Bryan’s teammates, are the only ones the headmistress has allowed to ask Bryan what happened. Bryan is sleeping when they get to his room though, so Laila decides to check if his closet is neat?? At least that’s what she tells him because we all know she was just snooping around. Bryan wakes up and they ask him what happened. Turns out that two days ago the shady guys managed to finally get him. See, one of them had disguised himself as a man handing out free drinks and of course Bryan took one. BRYAN YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE A SPY IN TRAINING I KNOW YOU’RE ATTENDING SPY ACADEMY TO LEARN BUT ARE YOU SERIOUSLY THIS STUPID.

Of course the guy had put something in it and Bryan fainted. When he came to, he found himself in a dark room tied to a chair and gagged. He found out the men hadn’t been Royal National Guards after all (duh. Though it still makes no sense that Tim suspected them). He still doesn’t know who they are though. They asked him what he knew of Ethelbertha Harrison (dum dum duuuummmm) and when Bryan told him ‘nothing’ (which is technically true because he only knows there’s a mystery surrounding her) the guy beat his face in. He had been held hostage until that day, when Mei Lin stormed in and beat the shady guys. Bryan’s parents were waiting outside and now know about Spy Academy (which they should’ve known of anyway, because the parents not knowing where they sent their kids too is really creepy? Also I can’t believe they let him go back?? He had been kidnapped, held hostage and beaten, but they let him go back just like that??). Mei Lin decided that they should go to the Great Hall straightaway to make a dramatic entrance because she thought Heyligers could help. You know who could help? A DOCTOR.

Oh and guess what. Mei Lin is going to talk to the headmistress, because a hospital wing ‘hadn’t been necessary in the past’, but Mei Lin is afraid that Bryan won’t be the last victim. THEY’RE TRAINING TO BE SPIES HOW WAS A HOSPITAL WING NOT NECESSARY BEFORE.

Anyway, that evening the friends go to visit Door and Zoey and Laila tell everyone what happened to Bryan. They also end up telling Door all about the locked door, the letter etc. Basically everything they’ve ‘discovered’ the past months. Door and Zoey exchange the bobby pin for the chicken. Zoey tells her that she needs to put it in the microwave since it’s cold. You know what it also is Zoey? Two weeks old.

Okay since this chapter is pretty long, I’m going to split it up again. But I’ll leave you with a cliffhanger: they’re going to unlock the mysterious locked door tonight. Because why not.

Do you ever read your old writing and feel like the above gif? I mean, I find reading this book hilarious, but oh my God please tell me I won’t be looking back on my current WIPs like this in a few years. Anyway, talk to me about your old writing (our current writing! Just writing in general!) in the comments! Oh and speaking of writing: tonight’s Young Writers Chat will be about tropes and is at 9 PM CEST/3 PM EST!


In Which I Judge My Own Writing Part IX

It is time to judge the book I wrote when I was ten again! This book is called Spy Academy and the Secret of Ethelbertha Harrison, so as you can tell it takes place at a spy school. In this weekly feature  I recap a chapter and provide you with sarcastic commentary. 

Part I | Part IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VI | Part VII | Part VIII

So in the last chapter the kids decide that they have to open the locked door at the eight floor, which means they’ll need a bobby pin, which means they’ll need a chicken (as in food not a live one) to give to Door, who so happens to own a bobby pin (because bobby pins are so are guys this is their only option). But now it’s time for Christmas! And apparently according to the chapter title it’s a very funny Christmas. Why? Let’s find out shall we.

Both Laila and Ricky stayed at the school for the break, because Ricky didn’t want to go home and Laila’s parents had to go to Paris for work. Then there’s a recap of where everyone else went in one entire sentence which is horrible to read. Anyway, the two who stayed behind decide to go to Door, who’s murdering a chicken. BECAUSE SHE’S A CHEF WHO WORKS IN A KITCHEN IT’S REALLY NOT THAT HARD TO GET A CHICKEN GUYS. Oh never mind she’s not actually murdering a chicken. It’s already dead. I have no idea why she’s screaming ‘HAJAAH! GET THAT CHICKEN! TONIGHT YOU’RE IN MY STOMACH’ if it’s already dead but okay. Let’s not question my ten-year old self’s logic.

So I’m starting to remember this chapter and I think nothing really happens. I just wrote about how all the characters spend their holidays. So interesting. Much important for the plot. So while Ricky, Laila and Door just eat a lot, Zoey is sitting on a bench in Castricum (okay this is sort of important because there’s a ‘famous poulterer’s shop’ there where she’ll buy a chicken for Door but since this plot line is ridiculous and makes no sense it really isn’t that important) and sighs because she misses the school and her friends. Then she goes inside the shop and buys a chicken. IT’S THE FIRST DAY OF THE HOLIDAYS. WHY ARE YOU GIVING DOOR A TWO WEEKS OLD CHICKEN OH MY GOD.

Omg. Patricia’s paragraph is so important to the plot. She’s at the dolphinarium and is feeding a dolphin. Oh and the dolphin makes her wet. That’s pretty much it.

So Reane is snowboarding. First paragraph is about her worried parents because she’s missing. Second is of her lying in the snow with a bruised ankle, but have no fear! Her father finds her and brings her back to the hotel. Omg that’s like super important to the plot. Big foreshadowing right there.

Back to Laila and Ricky, who are going to the Great Hall for dinner. And oh my, do I see something relevant happening there? They conveniently overhear Professor Flubbertjes (still not okay that I named a teacher that. Or a character in general) and Heyligers (who glares at Laila) talking. Flubbertjes says that he ‘said that I might believe you’ and ‘Lil, listen, it’s probably a lot of fun, reading those tarot cards, but it’s nonsense! How was I supposed to know that you were listening.’

And then Laila and Ricky show off their spy skills. They figure out that Heyligers was listening to the tour and now thought Flubbertjes believed her (this is really vague, but from a letter that Zoey, Laila and Bryan found last chapter it is deducted that because first years figured out the ‘secret of the projector’, first years will also solve the mystery of Ethelbertha Harrison. Heyligers got this from tarot cards) – what a deduction. And once again 10-year old me calls Heyligers, who is in her forty old: ”Don’t mind professor Heyligers, she’s getting old and has nothing to do, so she keeps herself busy with divination’. I wonder if this too was inspired by Harry Potter (the answer is most likely yes).

Omg I can’t believe how long this chapter is when practically nothing happens. I mean it’s irrelevant that Zoey finds a flier of a petting zoo. Or that Reane is sitting on the couch moping because she’s no longer allowed to snowboard. Or that Patricia gets wet again, but this time it’s the fault of a walrus. Okay but the paragraph after that is actually hilarious. Because it’s so bad.

Laila and Ricky are wandering the empty halls and are just talking about how boring it’s getting, when a screaming figure runs by them. It is Door, running away from Heyligers, holding another chicken (again, one ready to cook, not a live one) because apparently chicken nowadays is really hard to get by: ”I NEED THAT CHICKEN! GIVE ME THAT CHICKEN!” Heyligers yells. Okay then.

”FORGET IT” – Door
”NO! I WON’T FORGET IT!” – Heyligers
”FALL DEAD!” – Door
”NO I WON’T FALL DEAD!” – Heyligers (lol great comeback)
”RUN AFTER ME!” – Door, probably trying some reverse psychology or something
”YES YOU ARE!” – Door
”WHATEVER!” – Door
”NO!” – Door

Aaaand the award for best dialogue goes to…

While Patricia is searching for stranded porpoises (more foreshadowing! not), Bryan is running for his live. He had just been strolling through London, when all of a sudden Royal National Guards started chasing him (why). He reaches a dead end, but he jumps into the air, makes a backward salto and ends up behind the Guards. And then he outruns them. I think they weren’t actual Guards, but some bad guys in disguise, though I don’t know if it’s ever explained.

At the other side of the world Zoey is feeding animals at the petting zoo. For some reason she’s working for the owner, even though she had to pay an entrance fee?? What the hell?

And then it ends with Laila and Ricky reflecting on their holidays and looking forward to their classes and friends returning. What a great chapter. Really couldn’t be left out. That would be such a huge impact on the plot.

Sooo… If someone were to ask for your food, would you run away too? Let me know in the comments!


In Which I Judge My Own Writing Part VIII

It is time to judge the book I wrote when I was ten again! In this weekly feature (though I took a break from blogging and when I returned I kind of forgot woops) I recap a chapter  and provide you with sarcastic commentary. It takes place at an academy for spies and they have started their first day of class.

Part I | Part IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VI | VII

So it’s time for chapter six, which is called ‘punishment’. Wow. I wonder what will happen??

In the last chapter Bryan decided to go and ask professor Heyligers’ first name, because she could be Lilian. So Bryan goes towards her before class starts and asks her what her first name is. Heyligers doesn’t take this very well:

”My first name?”
”How dare you! If I want to tell you my first name I would do so when I introduce myself! You can’t immediately ask my first name as soon as you step inside the classroom?”

Zoey and Laila decide to get up and help Bryan, by telling Heyligers that they made him do it. And this is where the chapter title comes in: Heyligers tells them that they have to clean the classroom after classes are over. Because that makes sense (none of this makes sense what is this oh yeah my ten-year old self’s attempt at ‘conflict’).

Team 1’s next class is ‘cracking safes’ (I just literally translated it I can’t believe the class was actually called that – no wait yes I can). Disclaimer: I had (and still don’t) have any idea how you do this. So in the story they take a stethoscope, put it to the door and listen. I’ve seen them do this on tv, but I’m sure this won’t work on every safe. I’ve also seen them use finger prints to decipher the code. But all of this knowledge is based on tv and playing Ace Attorney sooo… Bryan immediately knows what he needs to do and succeeds pretty quickly. Even when the teacher has just told them that it’s incredibly difficult. SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE.
No one else wants to try it, so the teacher just decides to end the lesson there. Wow. All of these teachers are so good at their job. And the entire class runs out of the room cheering like little kids instead of almost adults. What. I honestly can’t picture this. Maybe it’s because I’m thinking of my old class, but still.

It’s time for ‘fighting training’. I was so good at naming things like wow. Also the teacher for some reason uses the formal you (in Dutch) to the students, which is super weird because the formal you is used when speaking to your elders/someone you respect or need to respect, not by teachers speaking to their students.

Anyway, nothing interesting about that class, so it’s time for team 1’s punishment. They divided the work, but not in a fair way: Zoey is dusting, Laila is cleaning the blackboard and watering the plants and Bryan is sweeping and cleaning the windows. Um. That makes no sense. But nothing in this book does so let’s move on.

Once they’re done, Zoey decides to snoop around a bit (because let’s not forget that they’re spies in training). She finds a letter in the desk drawer addressed to Lilian:

Dear Lilian, if it’s true what you said (that these first years figured out the secret of the projector), it is possible that this year the mystery of Ethelbertha Harrison will be solved by first years!
I’m happy that the tarot cards I’ve given you spoke the truth, since it’s difficult to find good cards.
If you find first years trying to open the door at the eight floor, don’t punish them too severely and don’t continuously keep an eye on them, let them be!
I can’t write anymore than this, in case the letter is intercepted.

I don’t know where to start. The projector is mentioned here. Once again this entire letter makes no sense. Tarot cards?? Where was I going with this? Combined with the visions Zoey got (see the prologue) this is getting way too fantasy/paranormal, which it wasn’t supposed to be. And is it difficult to find good cards? Can just anyone use them? Who knows, not ten-year old me (nor current me). Why research right.

Zoey goes to copy the letter and then it’s time for talking about their day again (whyyyy). Zoey reads them the letter and they decide that they need to open the door on the eight floor, which means they need a bobby pin, which means they need a chicken. Quick recap: they don’t have the right kind of bobby pin, and instead of thinking ‘ay maybe we could buy one’, they remember that Door has own (probably several) and thus they decide to make another deal with her in exchange for food (this time chicken because she’s no longer into meatballs). And it’s not like they can get a chicken at say, the schools’ kitchen. Gosh no that’s ridiculous. Renaming this book: Spy Academy and the Plot Holes and No Sense.

Would you do anything in exchange for food? (don’t lie I know all of you love food at least as much as I do) Let me know in the comments!


In Which I Judge My Own Writing Part VII

It is time to judge the book I wrote when I was ten again! In this weekly feature I recap a chapter (this time the second half of chapter 5, since it was getting a bit long last week) and provide you with sarcastic commentary. It takes place at an academy for spies and they have started their first day of class.

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI

Last week I skipped ahead a bit to talk about the insta love between Patricia and Tim (they knew each other for less than two days and barely spoke, it took only one chemistry class for them to get together. The pun was not intended, because I’m pretty sure I didn’t know that much English yet at that age). Anyway, I left chapter 5 in the middle of lunch.

The friends split up again after lunch. Patricia, Reane and Tim head to history. Basically I had no idea what classes they would teach at an academy for spies so I just went with the regular secondary school classes. Of course history is useful for spies, when you talk about the relationships between countries, but the first class is about how the earth came into existence (isn’t that more geography anyway?). The teacher was so excited that he didn’t notice that except for Reane everyone had fallen asleep. No this wasn’t inspired by Professor Binns hahaha where did you get that idea.

Anyway, guess what the next class will be about? Dinosaurs. Because that is very important for future spies. What if they’re sent out to Jurassic Park? Or Godzilla appears out of nowhere?

Meanwhile Zoey, Laila and Bryan have a class called ‘Training’ which is like P.E. but with more preparations for spies or something like they climb mountains and stuff (not really, they climb walls). We later learn, as they tell the others, that Bryan let go of the robe. We are not shown this. We are told. Of course. This also leads to a brilliant piece of dialogue:

”We had to practice mountaineering. I accidentally let go of the robe on my first time,” Bryan said.
”And the second time?” Reane asked.
”Kim helped me,” Bryan answered.
”Kim?” Tim asked.
”One of the teachers,”
”We’re allowed to call them by their first name?”
”What’s the next class?” Laila asked.

Because why bother asking if Bryan is alright, right? Poor kid. Go find some new friends along with Ricky.

Their next class is ‘recognising tracks’. Yep that’s what it’s cleverly called. And it’s taught by Melinda, one of the teachers who recruited the girls earlier on. So the girls are very excited for her class. Also it’s time to fill in a plot hole from earlier on in the chapter (because why edit am I right). Zoey asks Melinda why they didn’t have to wear any gym clothes during training, and Melinda vaguely tells them that the teachers forgot about the watches. Melinda will tell the teachers that they forgot, so the kids will find out later on. I’m going to tell you guys right now though. There’s an option that lets you change your clothes. Don’t ask me how it works. I don’t know. And there are super weird options too. Like a dolphin suit. You know, for when they need to infiltrate the dolphins.


During this class they’ll also need their watches, to scan the tracks. It’s not clear if the watch does all the work for you or if you have to make notes on the watch yourself.

It’s time for more great friendship. Reane comments that the watch is perfect for Laila, probably because of her bad memory? Laila gets angry (it’s not really something to get angry about, but they’re always looking down on her, so can you blame her?) and tells her to shut up. This turns into an argument:

”No, not for you!” Reane yelled.
”Reane, you!” Laila yelled angrily (lol)
”Yes, that’s me. Something wrong?” (I don’t know, maybe the fact that you’re a horrible friend)

Oh another brilliant piece of dialogue in the next paragraph when the class has started:

”In our forest we have rabbits, all kinds of birds and if I get permission from the headmistress deer as well!” Melinda enthusiastically told them about which animals lived in the forest.

Oh so that’s what she was saying! Boy, good thing I explained that one.

Oh more foreshadowing! Ria (she’s in Ricky’s team) thinks she’s found bear tracks, but ”Ria, there are no bears in our forest, and if that was the case we would have brought them to the zoo a long time ago, so don’t be an idiot.” You know who said that? Melinda. Wow, such a nice teacher.

Laila hopes that their next class will be Miranda’s, Melinda’s sister, and of course it is! In Miranda’s class they’ll learn how to survive in the wilderness. Aaaay an actual useful class. Oh and once again, Miranda literally tells them what they’ll do in her class, and then I found the need to write ‘Miranda told them what they’ll do in her class’.

Good question Ryan.

For their first survival class they have to find the cave in the forest, and the team that finds it first won’t have to do any homework (don’t you hate assignments like that like why would you do that it’s so unfair).

And now time for some comedy gold (not really). Remember the foreshadowing about the bear? Ria finds one standing in front of her! (yeah all of a sudden I wrote from her POV) Except… It’s not a bear. It’s Ricky wearing a costume. Ricky is dying of laughter, but then Ria’s eyes widen and Ricky turns around, finding an actual gigantic bear standing in front of him. He, Ria and Johnny (who had come running as soon as he heard Ria screaming before) scream. Miranda hears them, and immediately deduces that it’s the three of them (lol how). She runs towards them and finds the three of them hiding from ‘Melina in a bear costume’. Because apparently Miranda immediately knows it’s her sister. How seems to be the general question today.

So apparently Melinda had put on the costume when the teenagers weren’t paying attention, which is odd because Ricky had only removed the head. PLOT HOLE. But that’s nothing new. I should rename it ‘Spy Academy and the Plot Holes’ instead of ‘Spy Academy and the Secret of Ethelbertha Harrison’.

Anyway, Zoey, Bryan and Laila found the cave so they won and now it’s evening and thus time for the friends to talk about their day like they’re sitting in a circle in kindergarten.

OH MY GOD. I AM DYING. Patricia asks them if they’ve met a teacher whose first name is Lillian yet, since a few days ago professor Flubbertjes said ”Maybe I’ll believe that old Lillian after all!”. They come to the conclusion that it’s an old teacher (no shit Sherlock), so it’s not SaskiaMelinda or Miranda. NO OF COURSE NOT BECAUSE YOU JUST CALLED THEM BY THEIR FIRST NAMES.

They then wonder if it’s Professor Heyligers, who isn’t that old, but she is one of the oldest female teachers (she’s 40 I’m so sorry to all those 40-year-olds out there that my ten-year-old self called you old). Heyligers teaches biology and since Bryan and his Team (Zoey and Laila) have biology tomorrow, he decides to ask her her first name the next day. LOOK AT THEM DOING SPY STUFF. They’ll come so far.

How will that go? Is Heyligers Lillian? Find out next time!

So I feel like this chapter (or at least the second half since I barely remember the first half) was full of plot holes. Do you remember if there were many plot holes in the stories you wrote as a kid? Also, would you infiltrate dolphins if you could? Let me know in the comments!