Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Adorable Editors Winners #1

GENRE: MG Fantasy

The second worst feeling in the world is realising you’ve just done something mammothly, brontosaurusly stupid. The absolute worst? Waiting to find out exactly how much trouble your stupid has landed you in.

And that Saturday I’d been waiting in my attic bedroom, with no one but the spikemoths huddled in the rafters for company, for six long, agonising hours. I’d done restless pacing and tortured gazing-out-of-the-window, and was onto desperately-wondering-how-to-mail-yourself-to-China, when finally I heard it.

A knock at the door.

Not just any knock, an important-sounding knock. Tat-ta-rat-ta-rat. My heart sank so far into my boots I could’ve used it as a pair of nice comfortable insoles. This was it, then. I took a deep breath and yanked the door open quickly to get the pain over with.

A wizened grey demon stood outside, spindly wings still fluttering like he’d arrived in a hurry. He fixed me with glowing red eyes. ‘Lucifer, Prince of Darkness, Enemy of Righteousness, Lord of the Flies, summons you. Follow me and I shall take you to my master. Refuse, and the consequences…’

‘Yes, yes, I get it,’ I interrupted, rolling my eyes. ‘You could just say my dad wants to see me.’

The messenger demon blinked at me. There was an awkward silence. ‘Do you refuse to follow me, Jinx D’Evil?’ he said finally.

I sighed. ‘Of course not. Who dares deny the Devil?’

I stuck my hands in my pockets and trudged off to meet my doom.


  1. Great voice. I was quite surprised to find out the MC is the son of Satan. I like that he just takes it all in stride and is ready for his doom, as he calls it.

    Well written. I do wonder where the story goes from here. I'd trust this author enough to read on.

  2. I love the voice here. It grabs me immediately, and it is unique. The writing is superior. The line "You could just say my dad wants to see me" is set up so well. It has the perfect head-swiveling effect with the way you've led up to it. I would definitely read more!

  3. Like the others, the voice here really draws me in. I also like the detail of the spikemoths in the rafters that hints right away we're not on Earth, and of course the wizened demon cements that in place! Very interested in this MC and his world. I would definitely turn the page.

  4. Even though I never work with middle grade, the first sentence of this jumped out at me. Starting with "the second worst thing" just makes readers want to know the first worst thing, so it's a good hook. And I thought "mammothly, brontosaurusly stupid" was a great introduction to a strong voice.

    The rest of it doesn't disappoint me, either. There's something of a smart-alecky quality to Jinx that personally attracts me, but just make sure it doesn't go too mature for MG. I'm not sure someone who would say "mammothly, brontosaurusly" would use the phrase "who dares deny."

    I also want to point out that we don't know Jinx's gender yet, and I think establishing that up front may help readers envision Jinx better. For some reason, I thought boy, so pictured this impish little son of the Devil. Girl is fine too, of course, but I think we should know (and I assume there aren't any gender identification issues to this story).

    Similarly, I'm hoping you narrow down Jinx's age, too, so that we can understand how old (s)he is and the kind of doom (s)he could be facing. I think things would be a bit more serious for a slightly older character and that they could get into more trouble.

  5. Brilliant writing. This is absolutely intriguing and engaging. A funny original voice and language and a tone that assumes your reader’s intelligence. This is a story I would read in a sitting. Good work.

  6. This is very well written. I enjoyed the voice a lot. The sound effect for the knock pulled me out a little because I stopped to figure out exactly how to pronounce it. Not a big thing, but the flow otherwise is so good, I hated to stumble even that little bit.
    My one concern is a big one, but also very specific to me. I don't know if I could read a whole book about a son of the devil. It's the same reason I usually avoid angel/demon/fallen angel stories. But my avoidance hasn't reduced the genre's popularity, so it probably isn't anything you need to worry about.

  7. I agree with Abbe that the voice is great and it moves along nicely. I'm hooked! I would agree with her bigger concern as well. While I DO often read angel/demon/fallen angel stuff, the son of the devil thing trips me up a little for MG. That being said, this is totally subjective and I write YA, so I'm not an expert on what is generally appropriate for MG.

    It's obviously silly for a reader to make any big concept suggestions off of only 250 words without knowing anything else about the novel, but it might make it more MG friendly to have him be the son of some evil entity that is specific to your fantasy world, a Voldemort of sorts.

    Really interesting! Good luck to you.

  8. Totally wanted to keep reading.

    The only thing that made me pause was when the guy who came for him got confused. I guess the Devil sends different people...so the guy doesn't know the drill?

    I definitely want to know what the kid did and where the story is going to go from here.

  9. Great writing and I was also hooked. That said, I don't usually read angel/demon/fallen angel and maybe for that reason it seems too mature for middle grade.
    Your description of the messenger worked very well. In visualizing the main character it would be helpful to know if it's a girl or boy. Perhaps the demon could call him or her by name.
    It's a great beginning and really drew me in.

  10. Great hook!

    This sounds really interesting, but I think the voice might be too mature for MG.

    But, it does have great voice and I'd totally keep reading!

    I loved the twist that this kid (agree with others--is it he/she?) is the Devil's kid. I think that will be okay for upper middle grade readers, so long as the tone stays funny, light, and not too mature. Good job & good luck!

  11. LOVED the voice and humor in this one.

    The writing was spot-on, too. I only wish there was more here to read!

  12. The inventive voice in the first paragraph draws me in. I want to know what happened.

    The second paragraph is fun, too, but feels like it might be too self-aware for MG.

    The following action is suspenseful and fun. I want to find out more!