Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Drop the Needle #14

TITLE: The Story of the Story of the Egg
GENRE: MG Adventure

The Story of the Story of the Egg takes place in Story City, where all stories meet their authors. Fin and his friends Oriel and Ingot are about to watch Fin’s older sister, an Epic, run an obstacle course.

Fresh fruit! Oranges, apples, grapefruit! Nickelodeon, zoetrope, kinetoscope!” The vocabulary fruit vendors called out their selections, naming the words along with the food. When the old seller saw Fin emerge from the crowd, he declared, “My favorite Bildungsroman! Tongue twister?”

“Roop roop!” called the Egg from her harness.

“Not for you, I’m afraid. Once you’re hatched, you come and see me,” he answered, and he patted Fin’s little sister’s shell with one hand. He was not tall as adult stories went, somehow catlike although he had the body of a thin and grizzled wolf with wings he always kept folded against his back. “Your friends are watching over there.”

“Okay, thanks,” said Fin. The fruit vendor called him a different kind of story every time they met, but he never once called him an Epic.

“Remember to eat it with the peel!” the short story chuckled. The twister was a star-shaped fruit, bright green. Its tartness screwed up Fin’s face, which made the contortions of speaking slightly easier.
“What’d you get?” Ingot appeared in front of him.

“The sixth sheik’s sixth sheep’s shick,” said Fin, stumbling with the last word.

Ingot frowned. “How come I only got ‘Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers’? Mine wasn’t hardly sour at all.”

Oriel poked him in the side. “Duh!” She and Fin were always reminding Ingot to eat the peel, but he never would and he always wondered why his tongue twisters were the easy ones.


  1. This was lively but confusing. I had to read it several times before I understood what was going on. This could likely be do to the excerpt being taken out of context, but I'm still not entirely sure what the fruit vendor does - sell fruit? But the fruit, once eaten, releases tongue twisters? Also, one thing that nagged at me was that Fin says he's "never been called an Epic before," which to me indicates the fruit vendor called him an epic, but that's nowhere to be found in this excerpt's dialogue. Maybe it's before this takes place, but I wanted to point it out just in case.

  2. This seems way confusing for an MG audience, mainly because it was confusing to me (don’t know what that says about me - haha). It took me several times to realize that a tongue twister was a treat (and what the heck is a bildungsroman? Would a kid know that?). I now see the vendor is offering it to Fin, but I never see Fin take it, thus part of the confusion.

    If all of these people and items have already been introduced, it would probably be clearer to the reader once they got to this scene. Right now I feel bombarded with unknown names, which is sometimes the problem with being dropped in a scene, huh?

  3. I loved this - imaginative, totally off the wall with a little zaniness. As long as the young protagonists stay in their 10-12 yr old perspective, why not have adults who are inexplicable to them? Craft it carefully that way and you'll attract an intelligent reader who also likes Roald Dahl, The Phantom Tollbooth, The Benedict Society, etc.

  4. I'm guessing too that being slightly out of context this doesn't make too much sense. One thing to remember though, since this is MG -- make sure all these ideas and words have been introduced.

    It did make me worry though that there are so many foreign things going on here -- I just hope your first few chapters are not a litany of introductions or definitions.

  5. This is goofy fun, and probably right up the alley of literate upper-MG readers. The only word I'd worry about is bildungsroman, unless it's been introduced earlier, though I love the sentiment. (On the other hand, how many MG-age folks have enough life experience to really write a bildunsroman?)

    I also like the way it hearkens back to a thread JK Rowling used in the first HP book and then dropped - Dumbledore offering "a few words" to the assembled wizards and saying, "Oddment. Tweak...." (I'm glad she dropped it because it was stylistically wrong for how she developed the later books, but it was a delightful moment in its own right.)

  6. I liked the whole tongue twister thing, but I'm afraid I'm not getting the overall idea. Is Fin a story or a person, or both, and how can he be a story when a story is made up of several or many characters? I'm afraid, for me, this would be something I probably have to read from the beginning.

    But to comment on the gift aspect - It seems the tongue twister fruit is the gift, but we don't get any reaction from Fin when he receives it. Is the vendor in the habit of giving him free fruit? Did Fin pay for it? Perhaps you might show him take that first bite, as opposed to telling us he bit it. And why does the vendor give it to him? Does Fin know, or does it come as a complete surprise?

    In the end, I don't know why the gift is given, or it's significance.

  7. thank you all for the wonderful insights!