Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bouncer Post #71

Genre: Middle grade fantasy
Word count: 43,700 words


Twelve year-old Ben Thomas thinks seeing a hobgoblin in the bleachers during a baseball game is the freakiest thing that will happen to him all day. But then he almost dies while sliding into second base and that freaks him out even more.

At least nearly dying on school grounds does have its privileges; for once he’s getting noticed. Unfortunately, it’s not just by hot girls or curious classmates. Ben realizes he is being followed by the hobgoblin and a catlike creature named Montegore, and it has nothing to do with his awesome baseball skills. They want his help finding a missing boy; a boy that has an uncanny resemblance to Ben.

Ben has never been anywhere outside of Minnesota before, and he certainly has never held another person’s destiny in his hands. He has never battled an evil kidnapper, encountered a wicked talking bridge, or been chased by a roaming fireball. But all of that is about to change when he enters Clavendor.


Everything seemed normal until I saw a hobgoblin in the third row of the bleachers. Sitting between two girls and wearing an Indiana University sweatshirt was a little guy with gray skin and a long, pointy nose.

I’m not sure why no one else seemed to notice him. Maybe it was because his hood was pulled up and they thought he was an ugly seventh grader. Or maybe it was because the girls next to him were just that hot.

He only caught my attention because I felt the weight of his stare.

But I had more important things going on. We were down by two runs in the ninth inning, and our fate was in the hands of Derek “I’ll play when I want to play” Hawk. Lucky for us, today he wanted to play. He got a hold of the first pitch, sending a line drive into centerfield.

“Run, Ben, run,” my mom yelled from behind the chain-linked fence.

I was halfway to second when I realized something was wrong. I mean, besides the hobgoblin. The sounds from the crowd became muffled and gray light closed in around me like I was in a tunnel.

Probably should’ve stopped and yelled for help at that point, but that’s when I caught a glimpse of the blurry shape in centerfield: Jay Vance, a.k.a. the Missile.  Everyone knew he had the best arm in seventh grade, and he was about to throw me out. 


  1. You've got a great voice in both the query and the story. Great job! And good luck.

  2. "Or maybe it was because the girls next to him were just that hot." Based on that sentence, I'd like to read more. Cracked me up.

  3. I really liked your query. It caught my attention immediately and would definitely make me want to read the story. I liked that there was some indication of humor and voice already present. So great job. I think your story - given the hobgoblin and cat also has elements of magical realism in it. Whenever I think of a cat who might talk ( I don't know if yours does) or a catlike creature I think of The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov - maybe one of the best examples of magical realism ever written. I recommend it if you've never read it. Anyway, also love the first 250 - it has charm and humor and a touch of intrigue and mystery. SO, I really like what you have presented so far and I would absolutely like to read more. Good luck.

  4. Your query needs some work I think, but your first 250 made me laugh out loud. Actually out loud. "ugly seventh grader"… "You're in!"

  5. I really was captivated by this. Very good opening. It's fun just to say 'hobgoblin'. It had lots of humor and the reader can't help but like the narrator and his predicament. Great job

  6. Bouncer Bookish HandygirlFebruary 13, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Great voice! Good luck!

  7. Your writing has a nice clarity to it that's not easy to master. Good work.

  8. I like your premise and your voice. My only concern is possibly a MG/YA category confusion: the topic seems MG but the references to the hotness of the girls seem a touch to old. I'll leave the agents to weigh in on that, though. Good luck!

  9. This is so right up my alley, and I love it! Let me know if you want a beta!