Friday, March 29, 2013

March Test Run #5

GENRE: MG Fantasy

Timothy didn’t realize his tail was stuck in the door until he slammed it shut. It took a split second for the pain to register. It took another second for Boddington to start shouting again. Screeching to be precise. Timothy wanted nothing more than to curl up on the floor. But what he wanted didn’t have much to do with anything these days.
Eyes watering, he hopped around in an attempt to shake off the fiery heat radiating along every nerve ending in his tail. Another screech set him off down the hallway at a half-limp, half-run. The hour was late and guttering candles, set high up on the walls, threw strange shadows across his path. The sconces holding the candles were shaped like dragons, and he felt their birdlike eyes upon him as he neared Boddington’s office.
Pushing open the door, Timothy saw Boddington seated at his desk, dressed in his finest suit, blonde hair combed into a side part. He didn’t look up, not immediately, but his nostrils flared briefly. Lowering his gaze Timothy took great care to avoid staring at Boddington’s neck. It was difficult not to of course. A vivid burn in the shape of a handprint covered most of the exposed skin, as though someone with a hand of fire had grabbed him by the throat.

Turning the page in front of him, Boddington paused before addressing Timothy in a clipped voice. “Well?”
“I’m finished,” said Timothy.
Boddington sniffed. “The entrance too?” 


  1. You've got a great voice and the sentences in this opening are well written.

    However, I think that you can reorder things a bit to better orient the reader. For example, other than having a tail, I'm not sure what kind of creature Timothy is. And introducing Boddington (great name, BTW) in the 2nd sentence adds to the confusion.

    Can you rearrange the sentences to focus on Timothy in the 1st paragraph and introduce Boddington in the 2nd or 3rd? Sneaking in a hint or two about who Timothy is would be helpful too.

    One idea: you could be more specific about Boddinton's shouting -- what does Timothy hear as he is shaking off his injury? This could help the reader to better understand the relationship between these two characters before you put them together in the office.

    You've got a great story coming together here. Good luck and thanks for letting me read.

  2. First off, I loved the first line. Had me smiling. Right away, I’m wondering what kind of creature Timothy is. One thing I did have trouble with was what kind of door? My initial thought was a car door, which would be unexpected if he’s an animal of some kind. I didn’t really like the last sentence of the first paragraph. Seemed kind of whiney and not sure I want this seemingly-humorous character to become whiney.

    I agree with Jean Giardina's suggestion for rearranging to focus on Timothy and Boddington's shouting.

    One little nit-picky thing…blonde is for girl, blond is for boy. Boddington is a dude…give him dude hair. :) I had to look that up for my own writing a while back.

    Other than that, I liked this piece. It has a great MG feel to it and I love reading MG books to my kids. I would definitely read on. Good job and good luck!

  3. This has a great voice for MG. It seems that you've started it off right where it should be. I think the above suggestions are great, and that if you have the space to go into more details about Boddington's shouting and Timothy's character, go for it.
    Try to balance the whining with humor if you can, and draw the focus to the characters. Good job!

  4. I agree with the others. I like the opening paragraph but I would move the sentence with Boddington to the last line. It's confusing where it is.

    Overall I enjoyed it as a MG story. Good Luck!

  5. Great voice! Think about deleting the following line to give your paragraph more impact:

    "Timothy wanted nothing more than to curl up on the floor. But what he wanted didn’t have much to do with anything these days."
    It doesn't move the story forward, since we quickly learn that he has to take orders (vs. do whatever he wants) in the context of the rest of the passage.

    Terrific job setting the scene, and I already feel sympathy for Timothy.