TITLE: The Faster Shoes
GENRE: Middle Grade
"Give them back," shouted Topher Morgen racing down the aisle toward the locker room door. He lowered his shoulder and barreled through it. Once outside, he plowed into the crowd of kids pouring out of Fox Ridge Middle School. Topher craned his neck and scanned the sea of heads looking for the blond culprit. Gotcha, he spotted the tall eighth grader pushing through the crowd. Topher took off--his eyes fixed on the back of Brady Cooper.
"Watch it," said an eighth grader, shoving Topher out of his way.
Topher stumbled, putting a hand down to keep from falling. Back on his feet, he wove through the students and cut through a pack of girls. One of them shrieked. Others hurled insults but Topher wasn't listening. He had to catch Brady.
Out of the herd, Topher picked up speed. His eyes narrowed. Rounding the gym and heading toward the tennis courts, his socks ripped against the asphalt. The loose rocks from the blacktop cut into the balls of his feet. Not my socks too, he thought. How was he going to explain this to Mom?
Topher saw Brady stop on a tennis court. This was his chance. Topher's lungs burned as he sprinted toward his enemy. Hunched over momentarily, Brady spun around. Topher could tell from Brady's narrow pointy face--game over. Brady held Topher's shoes, tied together by the laces, and shouted, "Gopher, you want them? Come and get them." He chucked the shoes high into the air.
Nice start. I need to get to know Topher a little more before he starts all this action. Right now, I don't care enough about him and what happens to him to read on.ReplyDelete
I liked the fast action and dialogue. Love the names too. I would read on. I bet this is a fun read.ReplyDelete
Good stuff. I'm curious for more. But Topher is called by name quite a few times, especially in the first paragraph. It's okay to call him "he".ReplyDelete
Lots of action here, esp like the details about his socks and the stones on tennis court. I thing it's good to start in media res, like you do here, but consider starting a little bit earlier in the locker room and what set all this off. Is there a reason why Topher's been singled out besides just standard bully stuff? This opening might be a little more provocative if you allude to that first thing.ReplyDelete
I like the action but I feel like I don't quite know Topher or why Brady took his shoes. I need to know those things to care about how the action scene ends.ReplyDelete
Well written, but this may not be the best place to start your book because - as other readers have pointed out - we don't yet care about Topher or his shoes.ReplyDelete
Even though the main character was running and we can see it's an urgent matter- I didn't FEEL the urgency and I think this is because there's too much description of things he's seeing and passing that it's hard to concentrate on the feeling of urgency.ReplyDelete
Nice action and conflict. I can picture him moving through the middle school crowd.ReplyDelete
But I agree with some of the other comments- give us a few details about Topher and his personality so we can immediately connect with him (though most readers will want to root for the kid being picked on by a bully anyway!)
I like this, too, but the writing actually speaks to me on a more adult level--the paragraphs are longer, the words used are a higher vocabulary. I especially liked "his socks ripped against the asphalt" and "how was he going to explain this to Mom?" (which, incidentally, was where I connected emotionally w/the character. But I do think it's worth exploring a little simpler voice, if it's MG.ReplyDelete
I really liked this - there's a lot of action and forward movement. As someone mentioned above, though, I'd cut down on what he's seeing and amp up the tension a bit; focus more on his being upset and figuring out why. :)ReplyDelete
I liked this. I'd like to know what Topher's relationship to Brady is, though. I don't think this is a bully situation or Topher wouldn't be so eager to catch up to him. Are they rivals in some way?ReplyDelete
Also a nitpick: I don't think he can barrel out of the locker room door because they usually open inwards. (I could be wrong about that.)
I liked this. I liked the fact that you started us out with something happening.ReplyDelete
The chase scene may be a bit too long though. As others have pointed out, everything he sees along the way kind of takes away from the urgency and slows it down. And I thought Kathleen had a good point about the sentence structure/word choices being a bit adult. I agree with her suggestion of trying to tell it in a simpler way.
I feel like you should use more pronouns instead of constantly saying "Topher." While I like how you opened with action, I'm afraid the voice just didn't grab me.ReplyDelete