Wednesday, June 10, 2009

4 Are You Hooked?

GENRE: MG Adventure

Anna threw open the barn door, smiling at her horse. She smelled Fancy's hay-fresh breath as they began their usual early morning mission to outstare each other. Anna jabbed her boots in the dirt, determined to win. Fancy toughened her stance, and swished her tail. Her stare pierced through her black mane that hung down to her eyelashes. When Anna thought she'd finally won, her eleven year old brother walked in, with his hands stuffed in his back pockets.

"Whatcha doin?"

"I was trying to win my stare-off, until you disturbed me." Anna giggled so hard that she was forced to look away. "You win Fancy! I have to get to work."

She pushed the wheelbarrow into a stall and started mucking. "I gotta get my chores done, before Claire gets here." Anna said, as she picked up a fork full of poop.

"Wouldn't you rather be talking to Claire?" Ian pointed toward the door.

Claire walked in and said, "Is that all you do? You were mucking stalls the day I left. Mucking and crying, remember?"

"Claire!" Anna raced over and gave her best friend a big hug. The two started talking and laughing together. "I've missed you so much!"

Ian smiled at Anna and grabbed the rake from her hands, pushing her out the stall door. "I'll finish, go on."

"Thanks, I owe you one." Anna took Claire into the tack room to look at the saddlebags. "They've been packed for two days."


  1. Can't say that I'm hooked because it's just not what I'd read but thats me NOT your writing or book.

    Everything flowed nicely and it was well written. Goodluck

  2. Like Sayde, it's not my genre but...I do like the writing.

    Like the others, I'd suggest pushing the writing into the present. It will give it more kick and engage the reader. Granted some of the sentences are structured that way, but I think it could use more.

    Good luck.

  3. I think this would grab me more if there were a little more tension here, either a bit of conflict or some anticipation of what's about to happen that will make this book interesting. Her staring contest, her chores, her banter with her brother all feel very comfortable and day-to-day, but the saddlebags packed suggest that she's waiting to leave on a trip. If she's excited, could you play that up with some nerves showing throughout her ordinary tasks, perhaps?

  4. I'd keep reading, but because I'm curious about what makes this an adventure and the fact that I love horses more than anything. :) You do write well though and I especially enjoy the dialogue.

  5. Just because it's a middle grade story doesn't mean to write too simply.

    I'm not hooked because I don't care about Anna, Ian or Claire. And it's your job to make me care.

    I think that this scene is more backstory than a good beginning.

  6. Oh, I forgot to point out that Anna was hugging Claire with a rake in her hands.

  7. I thought this was cute. The only thing that brought me up was when Anna said she had to get her chores done, then Ian asked if she would rather be talking to Claire. He knows she would rather be talking to Claire, she's just implied that. If it was my story, I would change Ian's line to "Speaking of Claire..." then have him point to the door. It's not a biggie though.

  8. I'm a little curious about the characters and their world...probably because I used to like girl stories with horses...but I'm not hooked. I think this story might not be starting in the right place, because this scene is establishing the world, rather than starting with a hook. BUT...I've noticed that quite a few MG books that my girls read do that, so maybe starting with a hook isn't as necessary for MG? I don't know.

    (Oh... and when a direction quotation is a declarative sentence, ending with a change the period to a comma before you tack on Anna said. ie: "...before Claire gets here," Anna said, as she picked up...

  9. I'm not hooked. I'd probably give up, because I'm not a fan of horse stories.

    Also, there seem to be some issues with comma usage.

  10. This is cute, but I don't know much about MG. It seemed a little younger than that to me. And maybe I wouldn't use the word mission in sentence two, I'd use competition or something along that line. Good luck!

  11. No my genre either, but good clear writing, except for a bit of a hitch when Ian mentioned that Anna would rather be talking with Claire and then Claire showed up. The flow of the story gets interrupted with the way it was written. But another critter pointed that out already with a good alternative fix for it.

    I'd like a little tension to keep me reading on for the next page. But the story is cute, the mc is very energetic. It's a fast read, and I'd read a little further to at least see what the bags were about.

  12. Honestly? I'm bored, and I know that middle grade readers would be too. The first page HAS to matter, and if this is it, it doesn't matter. Maybe the horse is dying? or something more tense can flashback in a prologue. I cannot think of a single MG reader I know who would pick this up and keep going. Sorry.