Thursday, April 28, 2016

Are You Hooked? Middle Grade #24

GENRE: MG - Magical realism

Josh has until the shortest day of the year to solve a mysterious riddle, find a bloodstained mountain, and finish his not-yet-determined science project, all while dealing with Festy—a mischievous boggart who insists on helping Josh save their small town’s forest from a magic-stealing monster.

  Being the only boggart in a forest village full of elves had its perks. They had no prior knowledge of his kind, so Festy made up reasons to escape on important boggart business while the others went about their chores. Not that he was useless. Awkward, maybe. Overbearing, certainly.
Misunderstood...always. But Festy thought in another fifty years or so, he’d fit right in...especially if a certain elf leader kept giving him boring duties that stopped him from spying on the neighboring humans.

    On the last day of summer (his favorite time of year) the squirrel-sized boggart flew out of his tree hole home to soak in the cheerful morning air. Sailing over the nearby creek, he flew low enough to slurp a drink from the cool water that ran along the edge of the village. A bucktooth hung out either side of his snout as he caught a whiff of excitement—a celebration with food, fun, and an extraordinary play (with only one actor).

    Festy drew his bat-like wings in front of him like a stage curtain. His big round eyes peeked out as he flung his arms open for his first scene: “Hark! Who goes there?” he said in his thick British accent.

    His lean blue body leapt over a fallen tree limb and landed on a pair of pointy feet attached to an irritated elf. Festy froze. Two of the elf leaders stood in his path.

    Rue crossed her leafy arms. The bristly yellow flowers that grew out of her body sprung up and


  1. The longline makes Josh seem like the main character, so I was a little thrown for the opening to be about Festy.

    The "caught a whiff of excitement...." line made me think he was stumbling on an actual festival of some sort and not just about to encounter someone.

    On the whole, the voice sounds MG-like though.

  2. I agree about the opening -- I thought Josh was the main character too, based on your logline. The character of Festy sounds pretty interesting, and I think he would make things problematic for anyone who encounters him. But if he's not the main character, if your story is about Josh, then you need to open with a scene of Josh.

    I also think the voice sounds like MG.

  3. I gather this is prolog. It's a little disjointed to me. It starts very close to Festy in para 1, but becomes more detached in para 2. I also found that I was rereading to make sure I "saw" it right.

    Why a British accent? Is that important?

    And 'They had no prior knowledge of his kind' doesn't flow well.

    So the voices isn't consistent enough to say whether it's a good fit for MG. It's close though.

    I'd read further, but it needs to be tighter.

  4. I agree with the comments above: If the story is about Josh, I would start with him. And then, you don't really need that first paragraph or the details about feisty being squirrel sized...round eyes...british accent. If this is close to Feisty's point-of-view, you could weave those details in without telling us them explicitly. Then we would be more in Feisty's head (if that's what you want). For example, a squirrel could be in his way. I get the sense the I would like Fiesty, though. And that's good. For your hook -- and I know there is very little space in the hook -- I wonder if you could get more of a hint of the antagonist and why Josh has to solve a riddle. Overall, nice writing.

  5. Your logline is great! In fact I need to rewrite mine now that I see how well it can be done!