Thursday, April 28, 2016

Are You Hooked? Middle Grade #28

TITLE: The Worst Villain Ever
GENRE: MG - Science Fiction/Super Hero

George Pruwell challenges a superhero to prove he’s got the chops for villainy despite being unfortunately kind-hearted. But when his enemy turns out to have a big problem of his own, George must choose to follow his instincts and help the superhero, or crush him and become the most villainous Pruwell ever.

If the Pruwell family villains were a perfectly coiffed head of hair, twelve-year-old George would be the cowlick that kept on sticking out no matter how much spit was firmly applied.

The George in question was currently peering out his second-floor window wearing his Mastermind Magnifying Goggles. With those bad boys on, he could see the yellow centers of Ms. Wutherford's daisies all the way across the street. But George was far less interested in the daisies than in what would hopefully be his first successful villainous trick.

He zeroed in on the location of the tripwire stake between the leaves next to the sidewalk and saw nothing. Excellent. He’d perfected an invisible tripwire using Gloss Over-It[1].  He’d covered Rule Number One of High Villainy:  Don’t get caught.

The thought of someone tripping and landing in a glorious pile of limbs and scattered papers should make George smile with anticipation.  It was a classic. Any self-respecting young villain would be rubbing his hands together.  Perhaps even cackling maniacally. Instead, George felt like he had swallowed a dozen white mice from a mad scientist’s laboratory.

Chewing a thumbnail, he turned his gaze north. Mike Kahn was coasting down the sidewalk on his skateboard as he did every night. George wished someone else could be the victim.

[1] Gloss-Over-It:  Sold at The Thrifty Villain store and website for only $9.99. Refracts light to make small objects almost invisible. A priceless addition for villains who must pay attention to prices.


  1. I'm hooked - like the premise and that opening line is a killer - only thing and I know you probably illustrate it in the next bit but I thought the 'George wished...' a little blah - I don't get the emotional reaction - too much telling - so out of voice with the rest of the submission - other than that really liked this - nice job

  2. Yep, hooked, and the voice feels just right for MG. The premise is fun and I liked all the villian-y details.

    Couple of tiny things: 3rd para, last two sentences start with "He'd" which stopped the flow. Also, in the following para, I don't think a kid would think of himself as a 'young villian', just a 'villian'.

    Well done!

  3. I love this one! I would totally read the book. The voice is amazing. My one nit-pick is that as an adult, I had to google the term "coiffed." I might recommend replacing it with a word that kids might be more likely to know and use.

  4. Loved this! One thought, third para, "The George in question was..." is distancing and passive. Other than that, it's awesome.

  5. Oooh, I likey. Nailed the voice. I already care about George and know he has heart!

    I might take out the "was currently peering" and change it to: Today, the George in question, peered out.. Or add a little setting. From the bedroom window, or describe the road briefly, then... the George in question peered.

    Goo job. I'd read on!

  6. Hey, y'all! Thank you for your excellent comments! You all had really helpful things to add, and I'll be implementing the suggested tweaks. And thanks for the kind words, as well! If anyone else wants to chime in, please do!

  7. Not sure if I'm allowed to ask this, but... do you think this would be an improvement to the first few sentences,then? "If the Pruwell family villains were a perfectly groomed head of hair, twelve-year-old George would be the cowlick that kept on sticking out no matter how much spit was firmly applied.
    In yet another attempt to reverse this unfortunate reality, today George peered out his second-floor window wearing his Mastermind Magnifying Goggles." Better or not better? Or, if I am not supposed to seek out further feedback, please let me know, Authoress and I'll delete my comment. :) I do really love the word "coiffed" and feel like that groomed doesn't have quite the same punch to it, but I agree it's a tricky word, especially since this is younger middle grade.

    1. Personal opinion: I like coiffed.

      I do think your "In yet ..." probably works a bit better than "The George in question" b/c it keeps you within this story, and in this story, there's no question which George you meant.

  8. Very fun start. I love the first sentence, and you've already drawn me into the story. I'm not completely certain how I feel about the footnotes. They could obviously be very fun, but you've got to be careful about drawing people out of your story. If their only purpose is a laugh, it might be better to stick to the laughs you can get while keeping people fully immersed in your world.

  9. Wow I love this so much! The premise is awesome, the voice is fantastic. You had me reeled in from the very first line and kept building the tension until the final line which left me hanging and totally wanting more! I'd totally ready this. And if you want/need another beta reader let me know! I'd love to read more.

    Best of luck moving forward with this, but if your whole MS is as good as this excerpt your probably wont need much luck ;)

    Jamie -Entry #35

  10. Thanks, Sarah and Jamie! And Jamie, I'd definitely be interested! My CPs and beta readers tend to read and write more YA than middle grade and, as this whole exercise is pointing out, mg has a very distinct voice and feel. Or it should, at least. ;) Many thanks to you both for commenting!

    1. cool. I just found you on twitter. Feel free to DM me your email address and maybe we can trade some chapters if/when you are ready, or larger chunks if you prefer. I'm up for whatever.