Title: The Nine Deaths of Mr. Wiggles
Genre: YA Short Story Humor
The pitch: Thane is a Grim Reaper cursed to faint at the sight of blood - causing him to fail at his job. He currently hunts after the soul of one elusive cat named Mr. Wiggles. Thane needs this soul in hopes of defeating his curse or else he will be stuck on bug duty for eternity.
Crap, thought Thane. In the recent years [YOU SAY IT'S BEEN 100 YEARS LATER SO I'M CONFUSED WHAT IS DIFFERENT FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS], that one word summarized his career, relationships, and his life. It defined his current day. The word perfectly described the substance which smothered his face too. He pushed himself off the ground, feeling the brown muck fall off in gooey clumps and unto his clothes. At least it was not fresh and warm. [I LIKE THIS OPENING BUT I THINK THE ORDER IS WRONG. YOU WANT TO GIVE THE READER THE SENSATION BEFORE THE THOUGHT. GIVE US THE FEELING OF THE WARM MUCK AND THEN HAVE HIM THINK ABOUT HOW THIS MUCK REPRESENTS HIS CAREER].
Blah. [I THINK YOU PROBABLY WANT SOMETHING MORE LIKE YUCK OR BLUCK HERE]
He couldn't help but throw up [I LIKE THAT YOU HAVE A CHARACTER WHO CAN HANDLE DEATH BUT NOT POOP BUT I THINK YOU NEED TO POINT OUT THAT IRONY HERE SOMEHOW]. Even with bile and a cow's mud pie [I WOULD SAY MANURE HERE. PEOPLE DON'T GENERALLY USE POLITE METAPHORS IN THEIR OWN HEAD LIKE THIS…TEENS DEFINTELY DON'T] covering him, he would finish this job. The success of this task would wash away any shame or failures. It would help redeem him. He straightened himself, took a few deep breaths and looked at the hay piles and chickens in the poorly lit mow area of the barn. The little pussy [CHANGE THIS WORD. IT MEANS SOMETHING VERY DIFFERENT IN NORTH AMERICA!] got away. Again. This was the second time it ran away. His current job required him to hunt after a strong soul of a young cat. Though today, his feline prey seemed luckier than hell. Thane would do anything to get his hands on the cat's luck [IS THIS HIS MOTIVATION FOR THE ENTIRE STORY? IF SO, I THINK WE NEED A LITTLE MORE INFORMATION ON WHY HE WANTS IT]. He would be willing to find out if this cat's paw held more luck than the rabbit's foot tied to Thane's belt. The rabbit's foot had been in efficient today.
Thane swore he [HE'D] stay on this farm until he caught and permanently sliced with his scythe the ties of the cat's soul to the body. Failure of harvesting souls filled his last hundred years. He used to be one of the more successful reapers for centuries. He had started the whole hooded garb and not showing your face to your victims. It would horrify people to their deaths who weren't even on the list to die yet. He put awe into artists to draw him as the universal symbol of reapers. Now, he was the lowest rank reaper, his design mocked as a cheap Halloween costume. His pride made him wear it year-round. Fashion always come back in style he would say.
He searched the red barn and its pens for the brown and yellow striped cat. [I THINK THIS LINE NEEDS TO COME A LOT EARLIER (LIKE WHEN HE'S SEARCHING THE HAY PILES). THE READER NEEDS TO KNOW WHAT HE'S LOOKING FOR BEFORE HE THINKS ABOUT HIS STRUGGLE TO FIND IT] The animals remained silent and nothing shifted in the rafters above. His target could not have gone far.
I REALLY LIKE THIS STORY BUT HAVE A COUPLE OVERALL CONCERNS:
1) IT SOUNDS A LITTLE MORE ADULT THAN YA, PROBABLY BECAUSE THE MAIN CHARACTER HAS A CAREER AND RELATIONSHIPS. YOU MIGHT NEED TO FIND A WAY TO SHOW US HIS REAL AGE SO WE SEE THAT IT'S TEEN. THE VOICE SOUNDS YOUNG ENOUGH SO I THINK THIS IS JUST A MATTER OF TELLING US HE'S A TEEN WHO HAS BEEN ALIVE FOR A FEW HUNDRED YEARS (OR WHATEVER THE CASE MAY BE).
2) IF THE MAIN GOAL OF THIS ENTIRE STORY IS TO CATCH THE CAT, YOU CAN'T HAVE IT ALREADY EXIST ON PAGE ONE. THIS GOAL HAS TO BE INCITED AFTER THE SETUP (NORMALLY ABOUT 10-15% IN).