Monday, January 21, 2013

Bouncer Post #42

Genre: upper MG Fantasy
Word Count: 65,000


Twelve-year-old Eric's brain and body had been taken over by an evil cacodemon, so his sister hunted down the only people who could help him - the supposedly mythical winged Sentinels. But in exchange for their help, Eric has to live in their town, give up the human world, and pretend like it's okay that their "cure" stripped away half his memories, including all memory of his mother.

Despite being trapped in the town of Birch Stew, with crazy and creepy creatures on all sides, Eric isn't going to give up on his memories or his mother. His attempts to jump-start his memory fail, so Eric convinces his only friend to help him fly away and search for his mom. What he doesn't realize is that the cacodemon is still out there . . . and would love to reunite with him.

First 250:

His eyes refused to open, and he barely heard the whispered words of the girl hovering over his bed. “I’m sorry, Eric. I had to. I’m so sorry, Mom.” Before he could panic, his world faded, turning the girl’s words into a dream.

When his brain got itself squarely back into his head, Eric felt the sandpaper grit of his eyelids as he blinked. His heart was still pounding from an unremembered nightmare, and he was sticky with sweat. He felt completely gross.

Eric squinted out at his surroundings. He didn’t recognize the pale blue walls or the huge arched window with its gauzy curtain. He definitely didn’t recognize the girly, flowered quilt covering his legs.

He tried to scratch at his itchy hand, but pain ran up his arm as he jammed into something sticking out the back. Ew! One of those hospital things was stuck in his hand, and tubing snaked over to . . . oh, God. Yuck. A big bag of water was dripping into his arm.

What was wrong with him?

And why didn’t this place look like a hospital? His brain wasn’t working quite right, but he remembered being in a hospital before. He remembered white walls, a bad smell, and an uncomfortable, tiny bed with a metal rail that caged him in.

This place was way too nice. Maybe somebody was trying to steal his kidney or kidnap him. Or maybe some rich, weirdo scientist had kidnapped him to do an illegal experiment!


  1. Howdy!

    Your query is on the right track, but I just wish I got a bit more out of it. You establish that Eric has been "possessed" by the cacodemon and in order to free himself from it he needs to live with the sentinels and lose his memories in order for the cure to work. But he doesn't want to give those memories up.

    But what happens when he goes to search for his mom? And what sort of town is Birch Town? Is it someplace where only people possessed by cacodemons go? And what if the cacodemon possess him again? I just feel like I need more of a sense as to what happens if the cacodemon gets him again. So I really feel he's risking it all to get his memories back and he's not going to let the cacodemon get in the way.

    As for your first 250, I do like a lot of the descriptions you are using, but some of them don't seem to work out as well. This line was a little bit confusing "When his brain got itself squarely back into his head". I know what you'e trying to say, but I had to re-read it again.

    One thing I will say, is that it's hard to start books out with something like waking up from a nightmare. It's just something that has been done so many times, it's hard to keep it interesting again. BUT you managed to make it a bit more interesting by having that moment right before he gets "put under" and then to when he wakes up. I thought that was really clever.

    As one last bit, part of me felt like the voice felt a little bit younger than a twelve year old at some points. But I do like some of the comments Eric makes in his head.

    Overall though I do like the premise, and am curious to see where you would go with it.

    Good luck!!

    (Copernicus - post #43)

  2. Here's a nitpicky comment, if all his memories of his mom are missing, why does he even want to look for her? I agree with Copernicus Nerdicus that you need to up the stakes in the query, what is he risking? I like the 250 and want to read more. Good luck!

  3. Your first 250 words won me over! What a fun adventure!

    As for your query, I also wondered how a boy without the memories of his mother can even think to look for her.

    Let us in on what "giving up the human world" means to Eric. No more chocolate? No more video games? Is it that he's only left with bad memories and has to give up the good ones?

    I do agree with CN in that the voice sounds too young. When I first read your entry, the line "Maybe someone was trying to steal his kidney..." jumped out at me because I thought the protagonist was 9 or 10 (despite what was stated in your query).

    Good luck!

  4. I’m afraid I’m not bouncing your entry in, but I do have some feedback and thoughts for you that I hope you'll find helpful.

    • The opening of the query could use some work (more show, less tell), but the basic meat of it is intriguing. It’s a great start, so if you can expand this a bit more and clarify a few things, this could be really good.

    First page:
    • Normally, I’d be wary of a beginning that’s waking up – however, this feels different and is done in a way that I think actually works. However, do be careful with this – if there’s any other way to open, it might be better.

    Anyway, keep writing, keep revising, and thanks for entering the contest! :D

  5. Thank you all!

    You guys made some really great suggestions. I'll definitely have to think about how I want to change things.