Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Middle Grade Are You Hooked? #11

TITLE: Thunderbird Dreams
GENRE: MG Historical Fantasy

Pretending to be someone else every day made it possible for me to forget me, Crystal Miller. But at night, in my dreams, there is no running away. I shudder even though I'm covered with a quilt and laying next to my two sisters. Bethany snores from her place on the inside of the bed. Megan lay in the middle, clutching her teddy bear. Maybe I won't dream if I think of nothing before falling asleep. I close my eyes. Nothing, think of nothing. Don't think.


My eyes pop open. Did someone call my name? Or is it my nightmares looking for me? I hold my breath and wait.

A high-pitched wail makes goosebumps rise on my arms.

"Did you hear that?" My whisper sounds like a shout in the silence of our new house.

"Just a coyote, Crystal," Bethany mutters and rolls over, taking the quilt with her. Megan doesn't even stir.

That was not a coyote. I've been here almost a week now, I know the difference.

I grab my lucky Indian pottery piece from under my pillow and slip out of bed. I peek out the window. The only thing I can see is a dusty hill dotted with sagebrush and the lopsided outhouse we share with our neighbor. I listen at the bedroom door. The house is quiet. I guess Joe and Dad didn't hear it either.
Slowly I open the bedroom door. Moonlight seeps through the closed shutters at the end of the hall. I tiptoe toward the window.


  1. I love the setting you chose for this story and I expect it to complement the Thunderbird legend nicely. Crystal's story is compelling and I want to see why she pretends to be someone else everyday, as well as seeing what her dreams mean. I'd definitely read on. Well done!

  2. Not sure of the logic of the first sentence. Just pretending to be someone else does not necessarily mean she forgets herself. Need more about who she's pretending to be during the day.

    So, does she run away during the day? Again, I don't get the logic.

    In this paragraph there is a mix of past and present tense; suggest revising tenses. Also suggest separating out Crystal's thought into its own paragraph here to reduce confusion.
    How long does she hold her breath?

    That was not a coyote. I've been here almost a week now, I know the difference.

    where is here? suggest you set the scene a bit more.

    This has promise, but needs more to draw me in.

  3. The opening sentence is contradictory. Pretending made it possible to forget herself, Crystal Miller. If she forget herself, why does she immediately name herself? Perhaps say even with all the pretending she did, she still 'couldn't' forget who she was, or her life, or whatever point it is your making.

    If pretending isn't a big part of the story, you might cut it and start with the nightmares. Maybe say what it is she dreams and why it scares her. And when she goes to the window, perhaps give us a description of where she is so we have an idea of where and when this is taking place.

  4. You hooked me at the opening line, but you lost me along the way. I expected to have an inkling as to why she was pretending to be someone else. My first thought was she was kidnapped, but then it's revealed her Dad is there too. I think to make that part work, it needs more support and grounding with the rest of the story.

  5. I think this could be stronger if you start with this line:

    A high-pitched wail makes goosebumps rise on my arms.

    Then have your character open her eyes in the dark and sit up. I found the first paragraph too vague and you are intentionally teasing the reader and withholding information... and, since this is first person, you can't do that.