Monday, December 17, 2012

Hangover Round 1 Entry #32

TITLE:  The Canines of Kibblestan
GENRE: Middle Grade Fantasy

When Nicki’s dog goes missing in the fantastical land of Kibblestan, the eleven-year-old animal lover embarks on an incredible journey to find her faithful friend, and ends up making shocking discoveries about the evil canines that live there.

            Nicki Colimar sat on the curb watching the movers carry furniture into her new house. Here came the brown leather couch scarred with dozens of teeth marks. Boy, Mo had sure gotten in trouble that day. It had taken Nicki’s whiniest voice plus several tears to convince her parents that her dog didn’t really mean to shred the couch. She was just playing and besides, it had probably tasted like beef jerky. How could any dog resist?

            Next came the kitchen table. It only had a few scratches from when Mo had climbed up and helped herself to a whole bucket of fried chicken. It really wasn’t Mo’s fault, though. Nicki’s mom had left it on the table unsupervised while she went to answer the phone. How was Mo to know the chicken was only for the humans in the house and not her?

Nicki had pleaded this case until her parents had finally agreed that maybe Mo didn’t need to be traded in for a pet goldfish after all. And Nicki had even cleaned up the chicken later that night when it had come out of Mo’s body and onto the living room carpet. Her parents didn’t need to know about that, though.

            Now the movers were starting on the antique piano that no one ever played. This was going to take awhile. Nicki stood up and walked to the garage. Mo was in her crate, something her parents had insisted upon while the movers were here.


  1. I think you could smooth out the end of your logline by cutting "ends up" and just saying "and makes shocking discoveries..."

    Your writing is solid, but the first page moves pretty slowly with Nicki watching the movers and reminiscing. I think you could cut it down to that first memory with the teeth marks on the couch. It gives us a feel for Mo's personality and Nicki's relationship with her, but then move on and get to the heart of the story a little more quickly.

    Good luck!

  2. This sounds so cute! I agree with A Little Push about the logline, and I had some trouble with this line in the opening: "And Nicki had even cleaned up the chicken later that night when it had come out of Mo’s body and onto the living room carpet." It comes across awkward, with the phrasing. I get not wanting to be like " she vomited it all over the floor," but I think you could easily just say something along the lines of "And Nicki had even cleaned up the chicken later that night when it made a reappearance on the living room carpet," and that would work. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this, and I'd be excited to see where the story goes. Good luck!

  3. Even though there wasn't much one-on-one action, I liked the description and the light and breezy way it described the disastrous dog, Mo.

    What gave me pause were the parts in the logline about a fantastical land and evil canines. Re the canines - if you mean fierce, teeth-baring dogs that's fine. But I immediately envisioned dogs hanging out like shady humans.

    I once wrote a very excellent (in my own opinion) chapter book about a talking dog. I would tread with extreme caution if I ever got the urge again. Publishers do not like anthropomorphic animals.

    We watch Disney films and think hey, King Julian? I can do that! Well, no, Disney is Disney and publishers think you're nuts...and we are so not nuts, right?

    There are always exceptions to the rule but the story must be handled just right - and believably.

    Apart from that little sermon - good job! Sounds like a fun middle grade premise.

  4. This sounds adorable!

    With the logline, I feel like the goal is only half there. And I think the true conflict is missing, as well. Why are there evil dogs? Are they holding her dog hostage? Your logline is 80% there, for me. We just need a little more information, without making it too wordy.

    I agree with the above comment about the first page being too slow to start. Your first line should always grab the reader, and this one is a bit vanilla for me. I also see you're trying to establish Mo's personality/behavior here, but starting with several memories kills the pace out the gate, and may stop readers from continuing if the pace crawls for several pages. I agree with the awkward wording regarding the chicken. I think there is definitely a more clever way of saying it without being direct, like the suggested revision above. As for Nikki, I really don't know anything about her except for her obvious affection for Mo and that she recently moved, and if I'm following her through the story, I need more to attach to in the first page.

    I think you have a good start here, and with some revisions, this can really shine.

    Good luck!