Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Are You Hooked? Young Adult #18

TITLE: Bark at the Moon
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

In Winnipeg ca. 1987, 15-year-old headbanging werewolf Richard must convince his girlfriend Lydia he didn’t kill his best friend — while the real culprit is after them both. Richard must gain control of his lycanthropy and stop the murderers before they get him and Lydia, too.

Lydia was someone worth not dying for, so I was pretty sure I’d make it across the highway alive.
It was June and I’d just turned fifteen. I shivered in my holey Kick Axe t-shirt in the cool summer night, since I refused to cover up the Vices album art with a hoodie. Staring at the headlights of cars and the occasional semi roaring down Highway 59, I gripped the handlebars of my Canadian Tire special. Which means, a crappy bike that didn’t have the greatest brakes in the world. The whoosh of the traffic heading into Winnipeg pulled me toward the highway with every vehicle that passed and I told myself Richard, if you make it across the road alive, you’re going to kiss Lydia tomorrow night at grad. Of course, I couldn’t actually hear anything because I’d cranked the volume on my Walkman and was listening to Poison wail through “Look What the Cat Dragged In.” I sure couldn’t hear whether Vance was still following me, either, and I didn’t look back. Later I felt like kind of a dink about that. Because if I had, I’d have noticed a lot sooner he was missing.
Behind me was the neighbourhood we lived in, where all the houses had been built, like, five minutes ago. My older brother Ross would have said he remembered when our street was like where I was now — just bush and grass on either side of surrounding the road.


  1. I think this sounds like an interesting premise for a story. I thought you could change a few things around to make it read better, but they are only suggestions.

    The first sentence of your story confused me a bit. I think I would word it a bit differently to make clear what you want to say.

    I'm not crazy about Richard talking to himself, using his name--just a preference of mine-- and I'd change the part where he talks to himself from '...with every vehicle that passed and I told myself Richard, if you make it across the road alive, you’re going to kiss Lydia tomorrow night at grad' to '...with every vehicle that passed. If I made it across the road alive, I would kiss Lydia tomorrow night at grad.'

    Also, I would remove 'surrounding' in the last sentence of your paragraph.

    Again, I think this sounds like an interesting read. Good luck.

  2. I love the voice! He is fun to listen to and I would definitely like to see where this is going. I like the way the opening supports the idea of the plot without restating it.
    For suggestions, I had trouble with the sentence where he talked to himself too. Maybe he could say it to the sky, or clouds or something. If he did, you could make a funny comment after that he forgot the walkman only blocked out his hearing and he hoped no one heard him.

    All in all, I really like and would keep reading. Good luck!

  3. I really like the opening line, and I love the voice on this, but agree with the previous commentator that the "Richard..." when thinking was a little odd. I would keep reading, though.

  4. I really like the idea here, werewolves in Winnipeg in 1987 is so specific and awesome. But so far, I am not liking your main character when he says "Later I felt like kind of a dink about that. Because if I had, I’d have noticed a lot sooner he was missing." Seems so flippant about his friend's murder. And he is a grown adult reminiscing back to when he was 15? Him knowing what happens "later" makes me wonder.

  5. You have an interesting premise, but this whole page feels somewhat off to me. Mainly, I feel like I’m reading an adult novel that’s starting while he’s a teenager, rather than a YA. There’s also a lot of specific details, which heightens the feeling of an adult genre style of writing vs. YA, as well as makes me feel like I’m being told again and again that this takes place in the 80s. One or two solid clues near the beginning would suffice, imho. At the moment, I don’t know why he needs to cross the highway, or what that has to do with Lydia. Removing some of those details (or saving them for later) would help make room for the more important/non-repetitive information. It does grab me as a premise, so there's certainly something to work with that isn't quite working out on your first page. Good luck!

  6. Thanks everyone for your comments -- I really appreciate them!