Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January Secret Agent #3

TITLE:   Camp Swirly:  LOCATING THE LOST BUTT OF LITERAL LAND
GENRE:   MG Fiction

As my head is dunked into the flushing toilet for the third time, I take a moment to reevaluate my decisions, mainly the decision to attend a camp called Camp Swirly. Sure, I should know better, swirly is in the name, but hey I am kid and they do not have high definition colored photographs of kids with their heads being dunked in toilets on the brochure they sent to the house. No, they have pictures of horseback riding, canoeing and swimming.

With my head out of the toilet, I take a deep breath and hold it in as I go in for the fourth time. I wish I had done a better job cleaning out the toilets this morning when I had bathroom duty. I just flushed once and swirled around a toilet brush. I wish I would have known this was coming so I could have made the toilet so clean they sparkle.

I am underwater but I hear the loud squeal of the whistle. Finally, one of the counselors here at Camp Swirly is saving me. It almost makes me wish I did not call the counselors a bunch of brain dead idiots this morning.

“Put him down,” Bear screams out. His voice echoes in the bathroom.

The counselors at Camp Swirly go by nicknames they pick for themselves. I guess Bear resembles his namesake because thick, dark hair covers every inch of his body.

McMillian lets go of my feet and they fall to the ground.


12 comments:

  1. Ha!
    Hahaha!

    This has a great voice and I think my 11-year-old son would love a start to a story like this.

    It's also super gross (head in a not-clean toilet? EW!), but your audience would love it.

    My suggestion: I think it'd ring more true to MG voice if you switched to contractions. "but hey, I'm a kid" "I wish I'd done a better job" "I'm underwater" "makes me wish I didn't call the counselors" etc. Otherwise, it has a light, funny feel and a likeable main character and I'd definitely keep reading.

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  2. Lori A. Goldstein (@_lagold)January 16, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    I agree with the above commenter about the need for contractions.

    I'd toy with starting with the second line of paragraph two. I think that is actually the strongest part and takes away the bit of familiarity that comes with a kid's head being dunked in a toilet by a bully.

    "I wish I'd done a better job cleaning out the toilets this morning when I had bathroom duty. I just flushed once and swirled around a toilet brush. If I'd known this was coming, I'd have made sure the toilets sparkled.

    As my head is dunked into the flushing toilet for the third time...."

    Break this up: Sure, I should know better. Swirly is in the name, but hey, I'm a kid. And it's not like they have high-def photos of kids....

    Great voice and I feel the fun to come.

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  3. I agree with Lori. Start with the wish for a better cleaning job, then the head dunking.
    I love the voice.
    I would like to read more.

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  4. I actually love the first sentence. I can actually envision the kid's thought process as he's dunked for a third time. I love the humor as well. I do agree with Lori about breaking up the sentence, as that's the one place that slowed me down.

    I'd love to read more, and I generally don't read MG.

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  5. I agree with the comments on starting your first page a little later. While we get a bit of your narrator's voice in those first few sentences, I think you'd have a stronger intro starting later. As a quick note, the last sentence of the first paragraph should read: I wish I would have known this was coming so I could have med the toilets so clean they sparkle.

    This is a great, funny start. Nice work.

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  6. I had both a cringe and a laugh as I was reading it... well done! Geting flushed is one of those tales that make their way around school grounds but actually rarely happens - but you're tapping into a rich vein of both fear and humour. Kids (boys particularly) would love it!

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  7. I love the voice in this! It's super cute.

    This sentence tripped me up a bit
    "Sure, I should know better, swirly is in the name, but hey I am kid and they do not have high definition colored photographs of kids with their heads being dunked in toilets on the brochure they sent to the house."
    It's a bit clunky and could possibly be broken into two sentences. Also I'd change do not to don't, I think it flows better and most kids use contractions not the long phrase.

    Otherwise I'm intrigued. I love camp stories and would love to read more.

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  8. I agree with the previous comment about the "Sure, I should know better..." sentence, but I think it can be salvaged. If you move the word "brocure" to the beginning of the sentence we understand the context. As it stands now, the punch-line of the joke is delivered before the set-up.

    How about: "Sure, I should know better, swirly is in the name, but hey I am kid, and the brochure they sent to the house did not have high definition colored photographs of kids with their heads being dunked in toilets."

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  9. This is fun, but the writing need polishing. Your first para especially could be tightened up for better impact. Consider something like this (just one possible suggestion):

    'As my head is dunked into the flushing toilet for the third time, I take a moment to reevaluate my decisions. Mainly the decision to attend a camp called Camp Swirly. Maybe I should've known better, swirly is in the name, but hey, they had high def photos of horseback riding, canoeing and swimming in the brochure they sent to the house - not of kids with their heads being dunked in toilets.'

    And as others have said, use contractions, without them the voice reads really oddly. Also watch out for typos ie 'I am kid'.

    The parts about reevaluating his decisions, the brochure, and calling 'the counselors a bunch of brain dead idiots this morning.' made me smile. I'd definitely read on if it just read a little more smoothly.

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  10. I'm torn about the voice. In some ways it reads dead pan, like the poor kid's been stuffed in the toilet so many times he's numb to it and acting the calm observer. But then I wonder if it's realistic -- would a middle grader really "reevalute" his camp decision as his head was in the toilet. If you could convincingly maintain the tone, I'd be hooked. If it instead starts to sound stiff and lacking energy, I'd tune out.

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  11. The omniscient narrator and the distant voice make this a difficult read for me. You’ve got some interesting descriptions, but I need to know who’s POV this is. The word “adolescents” jumped out to indicate that this is an adult voice. I also think that you need a better title. I think that this might have hooked me if it weren’t for the POV issue.

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  12. This is a fun concept, and you’ve got a nice middle-grade voice. I agree with Lori that you should start with the second sentence of the second paragraph. I think that when Mcmillan lets go of the MC’s feet, HE should fall to the ground, not just his feet. Camp is a great setting for a middle-grade novel, and I’m hooked! You definitely need a new title.

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