Friday, November 29, 2013

(49) MG adventure: THUNDERSTRUCK

TITLE: Thunderstruck
GENRE: MG adventure

Most kids get something like an iCube for their birthday. Twelve-year-old Hunter got an entire valley, a link to a tribe of ancient Thunderbirds and the daunting job of saving the world from drought. No biggie, until he comes up against what it means to have the last of anything—everyone else wants it too.

Hunter raced home as fast as his bike would take him. Normally when school let out early, he’d go explore some part of the city he hadn’t seen before. But today was Gotcha Day, and he had some serious questions for Mom and Dad.

“Hunter!” Alejandro shouted from behind. “Wait up!”

Hunter glanced over his shoulder. Alejandro pedaled hard to catch up, and Hunter slowed as he rode between the sun-baked stalls of the abandoned farmer’s market.

“What’s the rush, man?” Alejandro panted as he pulled alongside. “It’s like you can’t get home fast enough.”

“It’s Gotcha Day,” Hunter said. “Mom and Dad are waiting for me.”

“Okay, but why the hurry? I mean, it’s not like your parents are going to un-adopt you if you’re late.”

“I guess.” They couldn’t un-adopt him, but they might wish they could. Hunter was pretty sure they weren’t going to like what he had to ask.

Mom and Dad were great. Hunter had totally lucked out with them. But every time he asked about his birth parents, he got the same response: They’d wanted to keep him, but couldn’t, and Mom and Dad would tell him more when he was old enough.

He’d turned twelve two weeks ago. He was old enough now. And after what he’d found in the library today, there was no way he was waiting any longer.

The community pool flew by on their right, iron gates chained shut. They had been for as long as he could remember.


  1. I'm not sure if it was the bicycles, or the adopted parents theme, but it had me thinking of The Giver. I like the futuristic aspects, and also the final lines with the chained-up iron gates of the community pool--a sense that something is not quite right. I am also interested in finding out about Gotcha Day and its implications.

    The only thing that gave me a minor pause was Alejandro's "It's like you can't get home fast enough." It didn't sound like something a kid would say--so I was left wondering if it was there for authorial emphasis.

    I would certainly read on to see where this was going. Good luck!

  2. I also enjoyed this entry, as I also like the futuristic and somewhat unnerving elements of the setting/society.

    I have to admit I was personally a little confused at points. In the 250, I'm a little thrown off, because I'm not sure if the primary reason the MC wants to get home is because it's Gotcha Day or because he found something in the library, and whether or not the two are related. I think I'd like just a little more clarity pertaining to the MC's scene goal.

    Though the logline is captivating, it also confuses me a bit. The MC's main problem doesn't feel prominent enough to me. I think that's because of the last part of the logline. I don't get what it's referring to, exactly - is the ancient tribe the "last of anything"? What does that concept have to do with the drought, which sounds like the main story problem?

    Overall, the writing is smooth, the characters are believable for their age, and the setting details definitely ground and hook me. Good luck with this!

  3. Not much to say here. I like this one from start to finish and would easily continue reading. Intriguing story premise, and the POV character is interesting.

    I will mention, however, that the term Thunderbirds kept making me think of "Thundercats" :-)

    Best of luck with it!

  4. Hi

    The logline seems more like backcopy, but it is intriguing. :)

    You do a great job of getting Hunter's anxiety out and the little clues about the depressed econmics of the area are great.

    I'm not invested in the story though. Two things stuck out for me. 'Gotcha' seems like a kid term, but is implied to be the name for a holiday. Seems weird. (Although that could be because it's the name of a reward system at a local Elementary school)

    The other thing I tripped over was going to the school library on a shortened day. Usually short days focus on core needs.

    Nitpicky, I know, but I thought I'd mention it.

  5. I enjoyed this!
    Love how I'm grounded in the scene in the first sentence (and also the second). The use of "Gotcha Day" made my heart flutter because anyone familiar with adoption will immediately bond with that phrase. Whether the reader knows the meaning or not, "Gotcha Day" is intriguing. Love! Sounds like a great premise for the MG crowd. Nice voice too!

    The only line that didn't feel authentic was this one: “Okay, but why the hurry? I mean, it’s not like your parents are going to un-adopt you if you’re late.” It sounds a little old/off.

    Other than that nitpick, I loved this and am very intrigued and would definitely read on! Great job, THUNDERSTRUCK!

  6. Love, love, love this! I really liked Hunter's voice and the use of "Gotcha Day." Whatever Hunter learned at the library coupled with his upcoming discussion with his parents and the pool with iron gates chained shut made me want to keep reading. Nicely done!

  7. This sounds very promising. I'm very eager to learn more about what he found in the library.

    It seems like you use "Mom and Dad" a lot. Can you substitute parents once or twice?

    Also, does the community pool fly by or does Hunter on his bike?

    Good luck!

  8. I thought this worked very well. You start with action and story. You let us know the MC's situation with action and dialogue. We're presented with a problem, even though we don't know exactly what it is, giving us a reason to read on, and we even have a bit of foreshadowing with the chained up pool. Nicely done!

    Good luck!

  9. This is fantastic! Great logline, great writing. Love the idea, and Hunter is already a very likable character. Being the aunt of an adopted niece and nephew, it's great to hear about Gotcha Day, which my family celebrates!

    I would definitely read more. Good luck!

  10. The premise sounds unique and interesting.

    The first page didn't really hook me though. The scene was too mundane and transitional for a first page imo, and obviously there just so you can explain things like his being adopted. And you have very generalised lines like 'Mom and Dad were great'.

    The most interesting thing in it all, to me, was that he's found some information or secret at the library. Maybe it might be punchier to start with him at the library finding this out?

    Good luck!

  11. Is this fantasy? I'm confused about the genre since your logline mentions that the MC has to save the world from drought. You have some wonderful descriptions, however, the last line is awkward because I doubt if the pool flies past the boys. Un-adopt doesn't sound like a word a kid would use.
    I'm intrigued by the beginning and would read on.

  12. I liked the logline other than the "no biggie" part. You said it was a daunting job and then no biggie. So which is it? If it is no biggie, why do I care?

    I liked the scene with the boys, although Alejandro just kind of seems to be there so Hunter can explain things to us...but there are some interesting hints in here that keeps up the intrigue.

  13. What I most enjoyed about this tiny snippet of your story was how well you used details to introduce the setting (e.g. the chained up dry pool).

    The sentence "normally when school got out early" gave me pause because it made me feel like I had missed the fact that school had gotten out early (I went back to re-read). A suggestion would be, "school had gotten out early, and normally..."

    I also loved the fact that even though he is secure in his parent's love, he wonders if they would 'give him back if they could.' Such a universal fear - do my parents really love me, no matter what?

    Good luck!

  14. The logline had me hooked until the last line. First, I get that 'no biggie' is supposed to add to the character's voice, but if it's no biggie then why do I want to read about it. Second, what does he have the last of? Is isn't clear so I found it confusing.

    I really like the descriptions like the abandoned farmers market and the chained up pool, but I'm really interested in what he found at the library. The bike riding through town is great but Alejandro feels like a vehicle so that we can learn that the MC is adopted. Since it's only the first 250 words, maybe he turns out to be a central character. I'd keep reading to see where this goes because I want to know what he found at the library. Good job and good luck.

  15. I think this is a great premise, with a fantastic setting (both the farmer's market being abandoned and the locked up pool, which is flying past on their right) that you really capture beautifully. Where I keep stumbling is the dialogue. It seems just wooden enough to be off, perhaps a touch too old maybe. Stiff, I guess. Alejandro knows it's Gotcha Day, as he got off school early too. So the reader wants to know why his parents are waiting for him. Instead, he seems more confused as to why Hunter would want to rush.

    Actually most of this snippet seems a little rushed, and might benefit from slowing down a little and letting the little details breathe and adding some more.

    I agree with the comments wanting more of the library, more of that mystery. I'd also like the fact that I think this might be MG Fantasy but it's written as MG Contemporary, with just enough differences to make it really fascinating. Would love to know what happens when Hunter finally makes it home!

  16. Hi there!

    I’m so intrigued by what “Gotcha Day” is . . . and by what Hunter found in the library! Your premise sounds intriguing and I very much wish I could see an additional 250 words so that I could learn more.

    I’m so intrigued by the valley and ancient Thunderbirds! How have both managed to stay hidden in all of this time? . I’m also interested in how the drought occurred—when did it first begin?

    Adventure stories are very big in MG at the moment, so you’re right on trend. Kudos! But keep in mind that trends ebb and flow quickly--so the market might potentially be saturated with MG Boy adventure stories within the next year. I know we certainly have quite a few on our list for upcoming seasons. With that in mind, you might have trouble finding a home for this story at the moment. But don't worry, trends always come back around. If need be, work on it for a bit and then put it on the back burner for a bit. You'll come back to the story with a fresher and keener eye.

    You have something here. Good luck!