Monday, March 1, 2021

Are You Hooked? #4

TITLE: Rook and Orion
GENRE: MG Contemporary

A hurricane roared outside, but the storm brewing inside was the one
Rook longed to fly away from.

"Are you listening to me, young lady?" Mom asked.

Not if she could help it. But Mom's words kept pecking at her.

Rook tied back her long, dark hair, shaking it free of the binoculars
strap, and slammed her arms down on top of the couch. The rough fabric
made her skin itch. Plywood covered the living room window, so she
pointed the binoculars through a knothole and focused them on the bent
trees outside, dark against the steel-grey clouds.

"I said I talked to Miss Elizabeth." Mom, reflected in the window,
hunched over the kitchen table. "She bought the house by the woods."

"The ugly one?" Not that Rook cared.

She tapped the leather patch on her shoulder. Orion spread his brown
wings and flapped over from his perch in the corner. He gripped the
patch, made by Dad to stop Orion's talons from wrecking all Rook's
clothes, and bent his head to preen his wing. He was used to the squalls
between her and Mom. Most were about him.

"She runs a bird rescue." Mom touched a soldering iron to the inside of
the weather radio and a thin wisp of smoke curled in the air. "I've been
talking to her about Orion."

Of course she had.

A raindrop streaked through the hole in the plywood and splatted in
front of Rook.

This argument was like the seasons—perennial.


  1. I love the idea of a MG falconer main character! I also like the tension immediately introduced - sounds like Mom wants to send Orion away, and Rook is not going to stand for that. I did feel a little confused about the setting. If there's truly a hurricane at that moment, I doubt Rook and Mom would be sitting around calmly discussing the birds and fixing a radio. I also wasn't sure why Rook was slamming her arms on the couch. That action felt kind of aggressive in the moment, when nothing had happened for Rook to react to. I'd read on to see what's going to happen to Orion and what Rook is going to do!

  2. I'd read on. The interactions are well done. I wasn't sure why she slammed her arms down. It seems more angry than annoyed. I did stumble over "Mom, reflected in the window,
    hunched over the kitchen table."

  3. Ooh! Gotta love a girl with a pet falcon! Must admit I found the staging hard to follow and visualize. Perhaps let us know she's kneeling on the couch to look out the window? Not sure how Mom can be reflected in the window if it's covered up by the plywood. I enjoy the juxtaposition of the tension between Mom and Rook and their nonchalance about the hurricane intriguing. Great verb choices, too.

    I'd read on.

  4. Great premise, I was a bit confused about how calm they were in the storm but their conflict is spot on. Like the use of bird imagery as well, like "pecking." Last line is great. I'd definitely read on; I want to know what happens to Orion. I'm hooked!

  5. There's potential here, but the narrator is telling me there's an argument happening and I'm not really seeing it, so that's a disconnect. It feels a little more "slice of life" than a hook into a story. There's some good writing, but it's not grabbing just yet.

  6. The hook isn't quite set. Opening a book with a storm rather begs for drama and action, and the paragraphs that follow aren't quite measuring up to that promise. I'd read a little bit more, but I'm really looking for the tension to amp right up.

  7. It sounds MG, so that's good. I really like the last line. You say something about seeing Mom reflected in the window, but you also said the window was boarded up. I'm guessing the issue is that Mom is going to make Rook get rid of Orion? Too early to know for sure. I hope we get to find out how much Orion means to Rook soon.

  8. A girl with a large pet bird is interesting, and I love how you choose words to reflect the scene/ characters- e.g. Rook, used to the "squalls" etc. You've got tension and a potentially interesting MC - I like the splat of rain on Rook - hints of trouble to come. I would read on. However, I got confused about where the characters were in the scene - is Rook sitting on the couch, leaning on the back and looking out the window? I also got confused by Mom's reflection in the boarded up window. I'd try to make that more clear. Also, the opening sentence is passive and a bit clunky - you want something strong and succinct to open. Could you flip it so that Rook is the subject in the second part, instead of the storm? (e.g. The hurricane raged outside, but Rook wanted to escape the one brewing inside." Great job and good luck with your piece!

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