Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Grab My Heart #25

GENRE: MG Paranormal

ADDAMS FAMILY meets GHOSTBUSTERS when twelve-year-old Derek confronts headless ghosts at Hyde’s Funeral Home & Used Coffin Outlet run by his mortician parents, Jack and Formalda. The ghosts' young son wants revenge for losing his haunted home, while Derek desperately tries to keep out of the embalming room—as a client.

There are far worse things in life than being raised in a funeral home. For example… um…

Okay, here’s one. You could have your brains eaten alive and slurped down by cranky, overworked zombies who haven’t had their morning coffee.

Or how about this? You could be stuffed into a spin dryer at Leo’s Laundromat & Hideous Stain Removal Service and set to Extra Dry/Huge Load.

But Derek Hyde wasn’t eaten and he definitely wasn’t spin dried, either. Just driven to the narcoleptic town of Littleburp in the family car (actually, an old yellow school bus), and then to a really unfortunate and grossly undesirable address: 1313 Slimeytoes Lane.

As the bus splashed its way through a beautifully timed thunderstorm on the worst day of Derek’s life (so far), his mom and dad worked at keeping his spirits up by singing their favorite, most embarrassing song: Poopy Head, Poopy Head, Don’t You Be a Poopy Head.

It didn’t help.

It was bad enough his parents dragged Derek out of his seventh grade class and away from all his friends to limp across the country in a broken-down bus on this Journey to Nowhere. Much worse was the notion of moving him into a spooky old manor house they planned to convert into a funeral home.

Because his parents were funeral directors. Morticians. Undertakers.

On this blustery autumn day, Derek watched through rain-streaked windows as they screeched to a halt in front of the scariest mansion he’d ever seen.

It had towers. With turrets.


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  2. Okay, I think this finally went through...
    I love your pitch and the comparisons. The language you use is quirky and fun, just right for a middle grade read! Your writing is good, although starting with your MC's thoughts might not be the way to go. (I thought your story was first person, so it kind of threw me when you switched.) There is also a lot of the character's thoughts in this excerpt, and an editor recently told me that doing this is more telling than showing. (She's the only one who told me this, though, but just keep it in mind...) Good luck!

  3. Great MG voice! Sometimes that is the most difficult part-getting the voice right. It doesn't matter how good your story is, if you get the MG voice wrong, it's a fail. You got it right.

    I was also thrown off by the change from seemingly first person to third person. I love the use of indirect thoughts, but at the very beginning of a story it might be confusing. Otherwise, the thoughts are great as they really make the voice.

  4. I love your tone and atmosphere. The voice feels spot on and I was pulled in immeditaly from the first line (not to mention your great pitch).

    I didn’t notice the switch from first to third until I read it a second time, which I assume isn’t exactly a switch so much as the way it’s worded could make you assume it’s first person at first so with a few changes I think it’d be perfect. I’d suggest something like taking out a few words for example change it to “For example, you could have your brains eaten” deleting that “um... Okay, here’s one” I think gets rid of it sounding like it’s first person but that’s just my opinion and I could see why you might be using that to better show your characters voice but it’s a solid voice that I think would remain so even with the change. The only other suggestion I have would be deleting “(so far)” I think that’s implied and it took me out of the story for a second but that could just be me. Personally I love this and think you have a great opening here!

  5. Thanks everybody! I think I can fix this by beginning: Derek figured there might be worse things in life than being raised in a funeral home. For example, you could... um...

  6. Hey, this looks familiar! :)

    I don't think I've had the chance to see your pitch before. It sounds awesome and captures all the best parts and tone of your story.

    I like the fact that we know they're funeral directors right in the first 250. And I like your suggestion of tweaking the first line to start with Derek's name.

    Overall, it's an awesome start to what I know is a great book. :)