The trees didn’t say a word. They never did. They watched. They always watched. Well, today, I watched them right back. I stood in the middle of the dog park, staring at the woods in the distance. The trees huddled together like giant aliens, studying me for some crazy experiment. The leaves flickered in the breeze as if a million green fingers were reaching out, begging me to come inside.
Sure, Mom’s warning blared in my head for the millionth time. I mean it, Cody. It’s too dangerous. Gangs and drug addicts hang out in those woods. You’re never to go in there. Understand? Never.
I stared at the trees. Never? Like never ever? But my friends would be stinking jealous if I went in the woods without them. This time, I’d have all the great stories to tell when they got back from summer camp.
Sweat dripped down my face and I wiped it with my t-shirt. Matt and Zach left for camp yesterday. They were probably swimming in that freeze-your-toes-off lake right now. Lucky turds. The only water I’d get to swim in was in the bathtub.
But that wouldn't be so bad if it was the giant alien trees' bathtub, cause it would have to be as big as the lake, only deeper and there'd be whales I could ride and I'd have my own personal submarine with torpedoes to blow up sea monsters and save the world from Aquaman's enemies now that he's too old to be fighting underwater supervillains like The Malignant Amoeba and The Human Flying Fish and Aquabeast. Plus I'd have my own enemies like Sharkwoman and The Electric Eel, and Captain Piranha. And there'd be pirates, of course, and crocodiles and daily sharknadoes and my weapons would be spear guns and rubberduck grenades and I'd have a sidekick named Squirt and they'd call me--
"Cody," Mom yelled. "Time to go home for your bath."
Opening: Diane Adrian.....Continuation:Evil Editor
And I did, but it was more fun than ever because Dad went to Hollywood and brought back a piece of equipment he bought at an auction from some movie about shrinking kids.
He shrunk me, and I swam around for hours, and Billy our dog got shrunk too but a little bigger so I could hop on his head and swim with him. We laughed and sang until a mosquito nearly sucked me dry.
How is Dad gonna get me back to normal?
Slowly I walked to the trees. I stopped next to a clumps of them, their alien presence shielding me from the sun. So I talked. And I talked. I talked to the trees.
But they didn't listen to me.
A bathtub full of alligators and eels called the Swamp of No Return. That's what it's like to be homeless around here. But what did I expect? Killing off my stupid whiny parents had it's drawbacks, but at least I still had my friends.
I rubbed the stump of my left arm. Last summer I lost the bet and an arm. But this summer, I'm gonna win. I'm after Bigfoot and I know right where to find him...
I crept up to the edge of the trees. Then, afraid I chicken out if I just walked into the woods, I gritted my teeth and ran as fast as I could into the forest.
I woke up in a hospital bed with bandages on my head. My mom was talking to somebody.
“So, you're awake now? How stupid is it, Cody, to close you eyes and run into an oak tree? You knocked a square foot of bark off if that's any consolation.” She said.
“I guess it was stupid.” I said. “Can I have a chainsaw for my birthday?”
Cody reached into his pocket and pulled out his crack pipe. From a minature baggie he extracted a rock and flicked his Bic to get high. He tightened his red bandana with spray painted gang emblems and scratched his new "Sons of Anarchy" tat. Pushing his old-school raybans up the bridge of his nose, he gripped the handle of his chainsaw. "If I can't go in the woods," he muttered to himself as he started towards the trees, "nobody can go in the woods."
Fifty feet later he ran out of extension cord for his electric chainsaw.
I would drop the first five sentences. Get rid of the comma after "aliens." And make the first sentence of P5 the last sentence.
thanks. those changes sound good. I had the opening without the trees watching stuff but others said it was too bland.
does the lack of any other comment by you, EE, mean it was just too bland to mess with still?
I need to know if it draws the reader in. I'm afraid it doesn't. I've written the opening 10 different ways and just don't know if any of them work.
It seems okay to me. You have aliens in the 1st paragraph, and if you dump "So weird," which doesn't do much, you'll have danger in the 2nd paragraph. I'm not crazy about two consecutive similes (trees = aliens, leaves = fingers) but if they're the aliens' fingers I can handle it.
I assume, as he's in a dog park, that he has his dog with him. He could mention that it won't be dangerous with Waldo along, thus introducing the character most readers will care most about.
I would have quit reading because I don't read middle grade material. I read it as the trees were trees, not aliens.I didn't see anything suggesting any other genre.
It is middle grade and the trees are trees.
I like the voice and the way it's going. But two problems:
1) Trees aren't weird.
2) Thinking as a sixth grader, I'm already bored on paragraph one and I've gone off to play video games.
In this first page, Cody stands still and stares at things. Stationary things. And he thinks about things that aren't very interesting.
Unless you intend to have an action-packed teaser prologue in which he's fighting mutant rats or whatever, you need to hook the kids now. When does Cody do something, interact with someone, speak to someone? I recommend cutting out whatever you have before that and diving into the action. Then you can lace in the information you presented here later.
BTW, EE, I loved your continuation!
Post a Comment