Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bouncer Round 6 #1

Genre: MG Fantasy
Word Count: 35,000


It’s no mistake Tobin won Top Seed-Finder for Junior Mice two seasons in a row. After all, he knows the Rules of Rodentia like the back of his paw. But after a thunderstorm wreaks havoc on the Great Burrow and exposes his friends and family, Tobin’s routine forest life crumbles like last autumn’s leaves.

When a monstrous spider pilfers the damaged burrow, Tobin spies the beast scuttle away with a newborn mouse in its clutches. The web-wrapped pinkling squeaks and Tobin recognizes his own baby brother. Even though the Rules clearly state to run from predators — never, ever after them — Tobin knows he’s his brother’s only chance.

Along with his best friend Wiley and little sister Talia, Tobin plunges into the dark woods. After crossing paths with a potentially dangerous ally, a serpent named Hess, Tobin learns he’s not the only animal with a grudge against this nasty breed of spider. Tobin must save his brother before a horde of enraged predators descends upon the spider lair. But once Tobin sees the horrors inside, saving one pinkling will only be the beginning. Sometimes a mouse just has to break the Rules.

First 250:

Crouched in perfect stillness beneath a toadstool, Tobin recalled his training. He knew the Rules like the back of his paw. It was no accident he was top Seed-finder for Junior Mice two seasons in a row.  So traveling this familiar patch of forest was simple as scratching a flea. 

The Great Burrow loomed just ahead. Shaped like a giant tortoise shell, the burrow possessed dozens of hidden entrances. It was very important to use different paths and entryways back inside.

Rule #7- A predictable path provides easy pickings for a predator.

Tobin spied a route he hadn’t taken in a while.

Next, his mind ticked through the age-old checklist taught to all young mice, the second-most important rule in all of Rodentia:

Rule #2- Always survey your surroundings before setting a paw in the open.

Scan for hawks.

Done. Clear skies.

Scan for ground predators. 

No trembling grass. The smells in the air are safe; clover and honeysuckle.

The muscles in his hind legs twitched.


Tobin burst from beneath the toadstool, darting a zig, then zag— enough to throw off a pouncing bobcat or swooping bird. With a giant leap he dived inside the safe confines of the Great Burrow.

He blinked, waiting for his eyes to adjust to the dark tunnels. Only then did he tread home on slow paws. Nothing but chaos waited at his family’s den. Well, nothing but chaos and a new sibling. 


  1. I love this entry. I think this sounds like a great story that kids will love. Just a few tiny tweaks to suggest in your query:
    - "Tobin spies the beast scuttling away " and an -ing
    - "upon the spiders' lair" I want this to be possessive. Personal choice.
    Your writing is strong, vivid, and you put every word to use. No matter what happens here, if the rest of your mss is this strong, it will find a home soon.

    Best of luck,
    Amy Reichert

    1. I like your suggestions, thank you Amy! And thanks for the kind words too- they are very much appreciated. :) Best of luck to you in the next round! - Rina

  2. This is really fun. It actually reminds me of Zombieland, if that makes any sense (clearly in a kid friendly way), and Stuart Little. The rules are great and there is a great whimsical aura that breathes from your words. Excellent job.


    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I love the Zombieland comparison. :) That would be a fun comp to write in a query letter- "Zombieland meets Stuart Little." Thank you for the kind words, I'm heading over to your entry now. - Rina

  3. Love the idea. Reminded me of the Secret of NIMH. Thought the first 250 were great and you did an excellent job.


    1. Thanks Billy! That is nice to hear. I loved Rats of NIMH as a kid! :)

  4. Great concept! It also reminded me of The Secret of NIHM, which I loved as a kid!

    I also really like your title, and the way you tie it into your first 250 words.

    Best of luck!


    1. I thought I should try and get those Rules worked in as quickly as I could, so it's very nice to hear you liked that! Thank you for the kind words! :) - Rina

  5. Ha! I was just about to say that it reminded me of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM - one of my faves growing up!

    I really don't have any critiques, this was great!

    Carissa -- #24

  6. I have no critique to offer, just wanted to say that I think you nailed it!

    Good luck from #20!

  7. I love your query! It has great voice and sounds like a fun MG story.

    I was a bit taken aback to see the start of your query also in the start of your first 250. It feels a bit like an info dump but I think it was because the info was both in your query and your first 250. Otherwise I love your first 250. I think you have great voice and it's a fun concept. I think a lot of MG readers would enjoy this. You do a good job of describing Tobin's perspective as a mouse. I'd read on.

    Good luck with your entry.
    Jamie # 36

  8. Love it, love it, love it! What a fun story that will appeal to both boys and girls. And I think that everyone will relate to Tobin. Oh to have that chance to break the rules for a purpose - and become a hero in the process. Great job!

    Michelle #27