Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Middle Grade Are You Hooked? #10

GENRE: MG Magical Realism

The best day of my life and I can't believe I'm wearing smiley face pajamas.

Crap. They're gonna take one look, turn me around, and lead me back through wherever the heck we are, to my house. The army pants would have been much cooler.

Man. I mean camouflage. You can't go wrong with camouflage. No one would make fun of me for camouflage.

I left the window open like every other guy my age this whole week, hoping they'd pick me. It's Friday. I gave up. Figured they'd get me next year or the year after or whenever or never, maybe. But no, they waited until the last day. Waited until my mom took the cool pj's to wash and doomed me with these bright yellow stinking pants with every type of smiley you could imagine.

I sighed. Of course, I can't even tell if anyone's laughing right now. Everything seems so far away with the ear plugs they planted in my ears. Sound is muffled, like when you put your ear up next to a seashell. The blindfold covering them doesn't help either.

So, just to recap here for everybody, I can't hear or see. But I can smell. It's not pleasant. Something tells me we're in the forest. The smell reminds me of the mud pies I used to make when I was younger. Alright, alright, it was last year. You knew I was wearing smiley face pajamas, did you even have to guess?


  1. I love the first line! Made me laugh. But after that, it gets a bit repetitive. I'd drop everything about the cammo pants and the later description of the smiley face pants. Maybe make it, "But no, they waited until my mom took my cool pj's to wash and doomed me to these." Also, the description of the blindfold and earplugs seems drawn out. You say you're blindfolded and earplugged and then, you recap. Just unnecessary. You could say something like, "They're outfitted me with a blindfold and earplugs, so the only sense I have left is smell. That's how I know we're in the forest."

    I'm interested to know who "they" are, why they're taking boys, why the boys want to be taken, and what happens next. I'd just like to get to all that a little quicker.

  2. I have no idea of what's going on in this opening and I love it! I can feel your protagonist's excitement at being chosen (and his embarrassment at the clothes he's wearing). Obviously I'd like to read on to find out what the big deal is all about, but I do agree with the above comment that some of the description is repetitive.

  3. I actually loved the detail about wishing he was wearing him cammo pants on instead, but I agree that some of it could be cut. I was thrown a bit when he started talking to the readers in the last parg, but I would most definatly read on.

  4. This is a good start.

    I love the situation that you begin with. I so want to know where these boys are being taken and why they want to go! I also really feel for the MC...he finally gets picked but is totally embarrassed by the pjs!!

    You lost me with the last paragraph. I don't think you should address the audience. Just keep in the action. Otherwise, the reader is pulled out of your story.

    Nice work!

  5. I thought you had a great opening line, but after that, it just kind of wanders. The story's about this group he's with, or this place he's going, or maybe something else, but it's not about his pajamas. Instead of dwelling on that, show him stumbling through the forest blindfolded, with his ears plugged.

    WHere does he think they're going? What does he believe is happening to him and the others? That's where you want to go, I think. Not with the pajamas. The first line says it all, and it's enough. Get us right into the story.

    And I agree with everyone else. Don't talk to the reader. The reader isn't part of the story.

  6. This has great voice and I'd like to know where he is and what he has to do.

    As others mentioned, talking to the reader probably isn't going to work. It's kind of confronting and made me disconnect.

    You also need to watch your tense. Some of this is present tense and some of it is past tense. The first line is present tense. But "I sighed" is past tense. Then followed by present tense: I can't even tell if anyone's laughing right now. Definitely clear up those tense issues. All best!

  7. I loved the first line but do agree that you could tighten up some of the references to the pyjamas. I really liked the way you spoke directly to the reader - it worked for me! Hooked!

  8. Good first line, but I want to know immediately afterwards that he can't see/hear anything. Because of that, your character would be feeling relieved that no one can see the pants.

    It interests me that he seems to have no fear of going... wherever he's going and with whoever it is. I would read on because of that, but the blindfold better come of real quickly.