Friday, November 30, 2012

(29) MG Fantasy: Through the Edgewood

TITLE: Through the Edgewood
GENRE: MG Fantasy

When 11 year-old Izzy's little sister is kidnapped by a faerie queen, she teams up with a band of orphan Changelings to rescue her. If Izzy fails, both her sister and the Changelings will end up as ingredients in the queen's youth elixir.

Izzy Doyle stood in the school supply section of the Piggly Wiggly, coming to terms with her fate. She agreed to come with her mom and sister to the grocery store because she needed a new journal. As she faced her only options – yellow legal pad, or inspirational kittens – the full weight of her situation came crashing down on her narrow shoulders. This was it. Her new hometown.

She flicked the thin metal stand with the toe of her shoe. How could her parents have moved them to a town with no movie theater, no swimming pools, and – this part was almost too horrifying to believe – no library? Izzy vaguely recalled her mom and dad going on about fresh air and getting closer to nature, but she didn’t connect the dots until now. When they said “nature”, what they really meant was complete isolation from the rest of civilization.

Her little sister bounded down the aisle, her blonde curls swishing behind her. “Guess what? They don’t have that gross healthy cereal Mom likes, so she’s letting us get Kookoo Crunchies!”

“That’s awesome,” sighed Izzy. Hen could be happy living on the surface of the moon as long as there were snacks.

Having decided she’d rather scrawl her thoughts on a roll of toilet paper, she left the aisle empty-handed to join her mom at the checkout counter. She reached into the front pocket of her sweatshirt, and pulled out her paperback copy of The Hobbit. That’s when she heard the cashier say, “That neighbor of yours is a witch, or I’m a bull toad.”


  1. This drew me in instantly. I love how through Izzy's voice (and with just the right amount of description) we can instantly visualize the town and just how terrible it must seem to an eleven year old (what kind of place has no library??? The horror!) It also makes the setting feel otherworldly already, like it's so removed from modern technology that it must be hiding secrets. And if I wasn't hooked already, that last line did it for me! Now I have to know if their neighbor is a witch (and I imagine Izzy does too).

  2. I like this! A couple very nitpicky things. You can't sigh out a sentence. Izzy SAYS "That's awesome" and whould sigh either before or after she says that.

    Also, when you first mention Izzy's sister, I'd establish her name is Hen. Because when you mention the name Hen later, at first I was like, Wait - who's that?

  3. I love the voice here, and Chris already mentioned my one nitpick: you can't sigh out a sentence. However, I will disagree with him on the Hen naming. It worked out perfectly for me, establishing it was her little sister first, and then what her name was.

    Great hook at the end there. Probably one of the best openings I've read today.

  4. So fun! I wonder if the options would be inspirational mountain scene or kittens (and skip the yellow legal pad.) Maybe? Either way, I'd totally read more. You've established the setting, the initial conflict, and the MC really nicely. Great work! Good luck!

  5. I am intrigued and would read on, I already like Izzy and have empathy for her.

    My hopefully constructive crits: The "coming to terms with her fate" in the first sentence confused me, because the next sentence is all about choosing a journal. I think you could delete it, and rely on the final phrase ("the full weight of her situation...").

    Some sentences could be edited for length & rhythym: "Hen could be happy living on the surface of the moon as long as there were snacks" to "Hen would happily live on the moon if snacks were provided."

    Love the last paragraph, hobbit and witch and bull toad!

    Good luck!

  6. Adorable! I really like your logline and first 250, especially "Hen could be happy living on the surface of the moon as long as there were snacks."

    I like Elaine's suggestion of the two choices of journal.

    Very nice writing! Good luck!

  7. I was immediately drawn into this excerpt, and would gladly read on.

    I think the “coming to terms with her fate” is throwing a few of the other critiquers (and me) because it feels a bit clichĂ© and, dare I say, heavy handed, especially in a starting line? I would rethink it. I think you can get the same feel without it being quite as melodramatic. Let the description that follows of the dullness (and the fact that Izzy’s in a Piggly Wiggly) paint the ordinariness. By the way, such blahness will, I suspect, serve as a lovely contrast to the fantastical that’s coming.

    I'll join the chorus and say that Izzy cannot sigh a sentence. She needs to speak, and then sigh. (Or vice versa.) It’s just one of those naggy editorial things, that you don’t know until you do.

    In your final paragraph, you need to reaffirm that this is Izzy and not Hen who has given up, or your reader will be confused.

    This has a lovely tone to it, and Izzy’s a girl I’d love to continue to follow.

  8. Very smooth. Very readable. Very strong. It feels very much like adolescent angst over moving to a new town. I'll agree with others that the first line clangs a little, but that's a small thing.

    I think you're off to a great start. Good luck with the auction!

  9. This first page made me love Izzy and Hen. Lots of great details.

    No real criticisms (except for the sighing thing, which has already been covered ;)) but I am wondering if this book is set in modern day. I know it's a fantasy and you'll be off to another realm soon, but this page had an old-fashioned feel to it. Maybe give us some hint of what decade we're in (eg: if it is modern day, say something about how Izzy is shocked they have cell reception out here).

    Great job!!

  10. Anyone who puts Piggly Wiggly on a first page is a winner in my mind.

    The voice here is captivating, well developed, and sympathetic. It reads like you know what you're doing, so as a reader I trust you to take me somewhere.

    The last sentence is killer. More, please. (Also, if David Bowie shows up a la Labyrinth, that would be a bonus.)

  11. dominic.dinere@judiciary.state.nj.usDecember 3, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    I like it alot. I love the voice of the main character and the storyline. You did a great job!!! Best of luck to you.

  12. This makes me all kinds of happy from the logline to the great first line, the notebooks, the optimistic little sister, a reference to the Hobbit, and the last line just zinged into withdrawal that I couldn't keep reading more.

    Why isn't this available to buy NOW????? It's giving great Fablehaven vibes.

  13. I'm not reading previous comments, so if anything I say is redundant, I apologize.

    I like this logline, especially the idea that the would-be rescuers may end up as "ingredients" in an elixir.

    Nice humor touches in this: the "inspirational kittens,"too horrifying to believe..." I'm loving this narrator already! (And if people say that the word choices are not MG, I beg to differ. Just think of the verbal fireworks of Lemony Snicket.)

    The "witch, or I'm a bull toad," line is brilliant. I'd definitely read on.

    Good luck tomorrow. I'll be rooting for you!

  14. Tricia Lawrence of Erin Murphy LiteraryDecember 4, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    75 pages

  15. Tricia Lawrence of Erin Murphy LiteraryDecember 4, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    125. I'm chocolate-powered over here, so watch out.

  16. 126 1/2. I need no substances to power me.

  17. Tricia Lawrence of Erin Murphy LiteraryDecember 4, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    127.345 That's kinda scary, actually. ;)

  18. Dudes, bids are supposed to go in increments of 20 up to 150. So I bid 147.

  19. Tricia Lawrence of Erin Murphy LiteraryDecember 4, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Oh sure, complicate matters. 149.99!

  20. Tricia Lawrence of Erin Murphy LiteraryDecember 4, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    Danielle! We've got high winds and the Internet faltered and I couldn't refresh!



  22. Well, Brooks, you cheated, too. :P


  23. So because we both cheated we both get the full, right? (Come on: we're agents. We're *expected* to be underhanded.)

  24. Do you really want to live up to that expectation? ;)

  25. I wouldn't want to disappoint my fans.

  26. I just wanted to say the frothing agents here don't surprise me. This probably had the best voice of all the entries I read. Good luck on the rest of your writing journey!

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