TITLE: THE FIRST BOOK OF MOOJIE
GENRE: YA Magical Realism
There was a bundle of fur inside the fishing bucket. Inside the fur, the baby boy was bound up. The fur felt soft to him, as the bucket swung next to footsteps. His breath was warm and moist against his face. He could see the hole of light above him and the man’s hand grasping the bucket handle. Between footsteps, he could also see the trees and blue sky. The footsteps were moving fast and the hand was locked on the handle and the baby was bound up inside the fur. There was nothing he could do to stop the footsteps. He was thirteen weeks old and being taken somewhere. Inside the furry cave, his body felt hot and cramped. He stared up at the hole of light, looking outward at the manifestation of forces too dazzling to understand—seeing—and not yet understanding, the mysteries that lay beyond. In his mind, there was but one thing to do. Passing through the trees, he reached toward the hole of light, programmed by nature since the dawn of time, to verge upon, to clutch, to lean toward, something—neurons seeking neurons—life itself seeking a connection.
His name was Moojie. At least, that was the word smudged in ash across his forehead.
When Mother Teagardin first saw him, she thought he was a fish. Someone had beaten on the chapel door of San Miguel de las Gaviotas before leaving the covered bucket on the landing.
Hey there! I hope this helps!ReplyDelete
This is a difficult one to comment on, since I think I'd have to read more of this to understand more of the context.
If I just look at this, alone and by itself, it hinges a little on the unbelievable--the first paragraphs seems much too cognizant for a baby. He's 13-months old and very calm (but uncomfortable), and is aware he's being carried in furs, in a fishing bucket. He also knows his own name.
Logically, I'm not sure I really believe that he should be able to see (or understand, even if he can see) that whoever's carrying him is walking through a forest, either.
The last paragraph threw me for a loop, because the first two paragraphs are told from the baby's POV, and the last one is apparently told from Mother Teagardin's. Personally, I would consider:
* Starting from Mother Teagardin's POV and letting her be the one-and-only POV in this chapter. Unless this child is magically intelligent for his age, you can't say much from his POV, anyway.
* Or starting even later in the story, at a point in Moojie's life when the main action of the story is happening.
This sounds like an epic about one character's life, but you still don't necessarily have to start from his infancy.
(Thirteen weeks, not thirteen months. Eep! I wrote the wrong thing.)Delete
Thank you Ellie, for your thoughtful response. I'll give it some serious thought.Delete
I didn't mind the omniscient POV, and this opening worked for me. There's a lot of passive language in the first paragraph that could be tighter by reworking the sentences to remove 'was'. I'm interested in the setting, though, and would keep reading.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Cristin, for your feedback. I'll give it some thought.Delete
I'm intrigued. I guess the opening paragraph captures Moojie's memory of being delivered to the chapel? I stumbled first at "bound up," because it sounds as if he's tied. And then "bound up" again, which emphasizes the idea of leather thongs around the furry skins, perhaps? The part about reaching conveys a sense of magical realism, but beginning the sentence with "Passing through the trees" leads me to visualize the baby rising out of the bucket (or an elongated arm) as he reaches toward the light. Overall, I love the title and the baby's POV. In the next two paragraphs, the sequential order would seem to be: (1) someone pounds on the door, (2) Mother T opens the door and finds what she thinks is a bucket of fish on the landing, (3) but it's a baby bundled in fur, and his name is Moojie. Hope all the advice isn't too confusing! Good luck!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Chris. I appreciate that you're willing to drop into a baby's POV. I felt that because it was third-person, I could do this. Your comments are most helpful. Many thanks.Delete
I loved the elements in this story which read more like a fantasy. I think the baby's pov is interesting, but your first line needs to hook us. If you can start with "When Mother Teagardin first saw him, she thought he was a fish," is a great hook that has humor and mystery that makes you want to read more.It would be magical if Moojie is a merbaby boy. Small edits: Drop "was" from most sentences to make them active and try a synonym for "footsteps." Nice work.ReplyDelete
All the Best!
Thank you, my friend, for the interesting comments. Funny thing, the "When Mother Teagardin first saw him" line was the opening of a previous version. I'm glad you like it! And yes, I can take out a few of the "to be's". You, and the others are so right about that!ReplyDelete
Yes, this is unusual and I like it.I agree to start with a great first line as C.E. suggested. Especially if he is a merbaby! Good luck!ReplyDelete
Thank you for the feedback, Kathleen! I'm glad you like the opening. The main character isn't a merbaby, but he's pretty different. If I start with that first line, I start the story in Mother Teagardin's POV. I have to really think that one over.ReplyDelete
I’m not sure from just the sample, but it seems like this is all potentially back-story that we don’t need. It almost read like a prologue of the MC, and that in chapter two it will be years later and they’re a teenager (since this is YA). It’s hard to gauge how important it is that we know of Moojie as a baby, what his first memories were like, but I’m leaning towards not extremely. While this 250 is descriptive and gives us a sense of place, there might be a stronger point to start your story, as a baby’s POV might not be the most gripping for teens (or me, personally). Also, the title sounds a bit young and MG to me more than YA.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for your thoughtful feedback. The story does soon jump forward thirteen years. Anyway, I will certainly give your comments some thought. Most grateful.Delete