Author Topic: First chapters of my middle grade fiction novel  (Read 586 times)

Offline ponpan

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First chapters of my middle grade fiction novel
« on: January 17, 2019, 01:47:31 AM »
The pitch:
12-year-old Henry Davenportís life is about to be turned upside down. Convinced heís adopted, he takes a DNA test to find out for sure. Henryís results confirm his suspicions, but raise larger questions when his DNA is listed as half anomaly. Thatís like the doctor saying you have an unknown blood typeóit canít happen. With the government believing his 50 percent anomaly is actually alien DNA, a rogue federal agent comes after Henry and makes his life unbearable. But life can take a strange twist and it does when Henry begins to show some unusual abilities. Can the government be right?

Anomaly tells the story of Henryís search for his origins and his dawning realization that he may not be the normal 8th grader he thought he was. Henry has a choice to make: stay in the shadows or fight back against the agent and risk everything.

The first chapters of Anomaly:

1 | A fast start

The sirens come from every direction. Thereís so many, every last one of the White Bear Lake police must be on the way. The sound of a shoe scrape gets me running even faster, even though my heart is already threatening to drum its way out of my chest. But Iím not going to let them catch me, I still donít have my answers yet.

A red Miata pulls out of the alley ahead of me. With the sidewalk blocked, Iím forced hard to my right. I bounce off the side of the sportscar and head into the alley. ďSorry,Ē I call after him. Moving fast behind the downtown storefronts, my heart is still pounding, though less from the run and more from being chased. But donít get me wrong, I like to run. Itís one of the few things Iím good at. My father says that with my long legs, I am built for running. The rest of my family more resembles a fire hydrant: short, stocky and solid as steel. Me, Iím giraffe tall and thin enough to be concerned when the wind blows.

I donít hear anyone pursuing me, but the loud wail of the sirens masks every other sound. And Iím not willing to risk a glance behind as it might slow me downóor terrify me. I hate being chased.

Iím running out of alley and options. A right turn will head me toward the lake and Iím not a good swimmer. Put me in water, and I sink like a rock. A left turn will bring me towards Highway 61, which means more traffic and more possibilities. Left it is.

A small dog, a Yorkshire terrier, races along the sidewalk across the alleyís entrance. A leash drags along behind it, closely followed by a young girl. Sheís crying as she struggles to catch up. With all the converging police squads, having a dog on the looseólet alone a four-year-old chasing itóis going to be a dangerous combination. My left turn to freedom will have to wait.

Taking the right turn, Iím almost immediately next to the girl. Her blonde pigtails bounce as she runs. ďOllie,Ē she wails. ďStop.Ē But thereís no way sheís going to be able to catch up to her speedy dog.

ďHang on,Ē I tell her. ďI got him,Ē and several steps later I have him. I deposit the little furball back into the girlís arms. Her eyes go wide and she looks like she doesnít know if she should stop crying yet or not. ďAll better,Ē I say as I ruffle her hair in a gesture I really donít have time for. Glancing up from her big eyes, I see two men burst out from the alley. Theyíre wearing dark suits and dark sunglasses and frankly, they scare me.

ďHe went that way,Ē I say pointing in the other direction. They canít help themselves and turn to look. ďGotta run,Ē I tell Ollie and give him a quick pat and smile at the girl. I turn and accelerate away, anxious to get some distance away from my pursuers. I probably shouldnít have stopped, but helping animals and people is hard-wired in me. Iíd stop again, no matter how many are chasing me.

Iím running down the sidewalk, passing the familiar landmarks of our town, Runyonís Dance Studio, Pearsonís Candies and Evans Music, wondering how it could possibly have come to this. I was always told it was good to ask questions.

Tires squeal on the next block as the sirens draw closer. And with two men chasing me, clearly Iíve stirred up a hornetís nest. Not wanting to meet the business end of the bees, Iím running as fast as I can. I donít want their questions. I need my answers.

A squad car rolls to a stop at the end of the block directly in front of me. The officer is looking at me as he hurries out of his car. I donít know about you, but I donít really want a policemanís full attention. Even if I havenít done anything wrong, it still makes me feel guilty to have him staring me down.

I put on the brakes and look back. No longer paired up, one of the men has crossed the street and is moving down the opposite sidewalk in my direction. The other man is several storefronts down from me. I appear to have their full attention as well. Sure, any other day when Iím in a store and trying to get an adult salespersonís attention, Iím totally
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 07:58:46 AM by ponpan »

Offline heartsongjt

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Re: First chapters of my middle grade fiction novel
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2019, 03:02:16 PM »
I read the story twice. It's well written, and something my teenage grandchildren would enjoy reading.
Good luck with your writing.
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Offline Rantideva

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Re: First chapters of my middle grade fiction novel
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2019, 11:27:29 AM »
I like the story.  I like your writing style of drawing analogies like "The rest of my family more resembles a fire hydrant: short, stocky and solid as steel. Me, Iím giraffe tall and thin enough to be concerned when the wind blows". 

This is minor, but just reading the first chapter, I wasn't sure how old this child is (I know the pitch says he is 12).  I think YA stories are the way to go!

Offline leah.anaya

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Re: First chapters of my middle grade fiction novel
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2019, 01:05:41 AM »
This is a great idea for a story, and having read the first chapter, I am left wanting more.  I agree with the other comment regarding his age- I had actually forgotten that he was twelve as mentioned in the pitch and I was picturing a kid in his late teens, so maybe just tossing out his age casually?  Otherwise it flowed nicely and I enjoyed your analogies and descriptive nature as well.

Offline landmersm

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Re: First chapters of my middle grade fiction novel
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2019, 01:00:08 PM »
Nice.  Quick paced which matched the action well.  Seems like something a young teen would be interested in.

I'll agree with the other comments about the age. If he's really supposed to be 12, make it known. I wouldn't come right out and say it - it's 1st person narrative. No one says, "I'm 12!"  However, mention something that would give the reader a better idea of his age. Something he likes or does or will miss (since he's running away) that will let the reader know his age a little better. A 19/20 year old running from the cops is one thing, but a 12 year is not something you read about every day.

Best of luck.
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Offline Trece

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Re: First chapters of my middle grade fiction novel
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2019, 10:53:34 AM »
 :I am a true Newbie. First time on this site. So please excuse my newness and all it entails. I read what was posted. I want more! The writing style is concise and easy to follow. I have a visual of the lad as well a tad bit of his personality. Thanks.

Offline MikeAnderson

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Re: First chapters of my middle grade fiction novel
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2019, 05:40:03 PM »

-Nice, breezy pace. This sample writing had a smooth flow to it. Not much in the way of unnecessary filler or gaps.

-Simple, easy to read, yet, has the right amount of details to establish a clear visual picture in the reader's mind about what's going on.

-I did like the idea of a human with an non-quantifiable blood type. It's a nice twist.


-A few grammatical errors is all I could see wrong. That is all.

Admittedly, I'm not a fan of Young Adult fiction. Often, I find those types of works too simplistic and relying on too many tropes to move the story along. This could build up to be something interesting, though, and from the free sample you've graced us with, you've got a great concept that could bloom into a fast paced and entertaining piece.