Monday, September 10, 2012

Entry #29

Name: Mike Hays
Title: Battle of Wonderland Gardens
Genre: Upper Middle Grade Contemporary Fiction
Tagline: Deep in the heart of the Wonderland Gardens Retirement Community, a demon possessing the body of the elderly owner kidnaps 13-year old Ellis Brown's arch enemy, Alicia Swanson, with plan to switch to a younger body. Ellis must recruit the gifts and talents of the residents to rescue Alicia, while also driving the demon and its band of nine ravens from Wonderland Gardens forever.

First 250 words:
Ellis Brown smiled at his brilliance. He practically giggled as he parked his bike and walked the sidewalk to the front doors of the Wonderland Gardens Retirement Community. A Saturday summer morning and before him was a whole retirement home of elderly potential customers to buy his youth theatre tickets to Alice in Wonderland, The Musical.

He would finally savor a sweet victory in the ticket sales contest. A small victory, true, but small victories are still victories. His classmate, Alicia Swanson, always won, especially against Ellis. He clenched his fists just thinking about it. With each step, painful memories of crushing defeats at her hands jumped into his head. 
She beat him out for the lead in every show and every science fair ribbon. His step picked up a little faster. He lost spelling bees and every math and art contests to her. He breathing turned fast and shallow with the memory of the most painful loss at Alicia’s hand. She had beaten him out for starting quarterback on the 7th grade football team two years ago. Even after last fall when he led the 8th grade football team to the championship as the starting quarterback, his friends still gave him crap over getting beat out by a girl.

He cheeks burned red. He had to beat Alicia Swanson at selling tickets this year. He had to win the top sales award. That was it; end of story. Ellis practically smashed through the glass front door as he entered the Wonderland Gardens Retirement Community.


  1. I think you may be thinking more of query instead of a tagline, so I'd definitely shorten that up.

    As for your 250..
    I like the basic premise, but got stuck several times with some awkward phrasings. You also want to keep an eye on subject/verb agreement. I'm also not sure how I feel about the phrase "beaten him out."

    I liked that I was definitely feeling the emotion from your MC...good job getting that across!

  2. Your Genre is Upper MG Contemporary Fiction, but the tagline reads like paranormal. I think this could be much tighter, but I like how he gets progressively more upset. I could feel that happening. Good job.

  3. Your tagline needs shortened.
    Your first 250 very nice, would have kept reading.

  4. Your tagline is definitely too long. Try to cut it to one sentence and remove some of the details.

    Your 250 words don't have voice. The way you words things just doesn't sound like a 13-year-old, particularly the first paragraph. And I think you could give your first line more of a hook.

    I laughed out loud at the quarterback part, but I was wondering why Alicia wasn't quarterback next year, or what happened at all.

    Good luck!

  5. First line-um the boy giggling (girl thing) and then the drama-I wasn't for sure if Ellis was a boy for a few lines (could just be me). Balancing this science nerd, drama boy, star quarterback, spelling bee runner-up, etc. Having trouble visualizing him. But I know he's competitive, that's for sure:)

    I do like your tagline and wonder if your MS is Magical Realism with the demon?

    Because in the beginning he's walking to the doors I thought he was already inside the retirement center and the last line made me pause.

    The voice of the last few paragraphs drew me in. I'd read more.

  6. I agree with some of the other comments that the tagline is a bit long and awkward. There is a lot going on in that tagline. I'd try to sift it down to the MC and the main conflict. Remove the setting (you don't need to know it happens in the woods) and try to just focus on the MC and antagonist without the other characters bogging it down.

    That football line was very funny!

    (entry #21)

  7. Loved your voice! I could feel his pain, but then I laughed out loud when I got to the football bit.

    I just have a couple minor suggestions:

    It was a lovely Saturday summer morning and before...

    His cheeks...

    I would keep reading. :)