Monday, August 20, 2018

Talkin' Heads #8

TITLE: The Academy (working title)
GENRE: MG Middle Grade

A politically precocious 11-year-old presents her case before her new principal hoping it will make her popular with her classmates.

Principal Gardner waved the three stapled sheets of paper. “What is this, Isabella?”
 “It's a petition from two-thirds of the sixth grade for tacos,” Isabella said.
“Okay,” Mr. Gardner said, stretching out the word like a lazy cat. “Requesting what exactly?"
“According to the State Department of Education, Ronald Darby is a C-rated school with overcrowded classrooms, below average math scores, and suspiciously smelly water fountains. That last one's my opinion, not the reports.” Mr. Gardner crossed his arms, and Isabella rushed on. “None of that takes away from Darby’s sense of community, though. Today, that community rallied around what some would say is Darby’s finest asset.”
She paused for effect like the old YouTube videos she’d studied of Senator Ted Kennedy on the Senate floor.
“And that would be our tacos."
“Our award-winning tacos according to the Florida State Legislature.”
Principal Gardner leaned back in his desk chair. "While I appreciate a newly matriculated sixth-grader being so well-informed, it still doesn’t explain your petition.”
“Right.” Isabella launched her argument. “Logically, since the first day of school fell on a Tuesday, we expected tacos, sir. We got Sloppy Joes instead. During my investigation—”
“Your investigation?”
“Yes. I visited with the Food Services Manager. She said since school began on a Tuesday this year, the Food Service department still considers it the first day of the school week. A culinary Monday, so to speak. So..."
"No tacos.”
“Correct. The petition requests regardless what day school begins, the time-honored tradition of Taco Tuesday be upheld. For student morale, of course.”


  1. This is such a fun story. Love Isabella's spunk. and LOLed with "culinary Monday."! That being said, I recommend rereading your work out loud and see if you stumble anywhere. The tags are always a give away. Keep them simple and often actio-oriented, else a simple "he said," she said, will do.
    For example, line 2 "Okay," Mr. Gardner stretched out the word... (drop the said...we know who is talking.) Good luck, this is so promising!!

  2. I LOVE a character full of spunk and especially empowering girls! The principal's dialogue seems a little too formal especially for contemporary. I'm an ex-teacher and on actual principal has every spoken like that to a student. They try to connect on the student's level. It will be a fine line of making him read more authentic while matching Isabella's intellect but I'm sure you can marry the two. I would also strengthen her arguments for the tacos. I can find flaws in her arguments so the principal should challenge her as well. This can do one of two things-show Isabella's insecurities or show how equipped she is to think on her feet. I like this premise!

  3. I really like this voice here! A couple of things:
    -Always skip a line when you change characters (so "Mr. Gardner crossed his arms..." needs to be on its own line between her speech).
    -Re your simile, "He paused for effect like the old YouTube videos she’d studied of Senator Ted Kennedy on the Senate floor."-> you need to reword as it sounds like you're comparing his pause to the video (which makes me think that YouTube is glitching or that you have a bad connection) and I think you're trying to compare his pause to that of Ted Kennedy.

    Good luck!

  4. The sentence "It's a petition from two-thirds of the sixth grade for tacos," does sound right for where you put tacos.
    Either change to "It's a petition for tacos. From two-thirds of the six grade." or .."It's a petition from two-thirds of the six grade. They want Tacos."
    I like the concept.