Title: Charlie Moore vs The State
Intended word count: 40-50,000 words
Genre: middle fiction adventure
Extract: opening paragraphs
Reporters have been ringing me since last Saturday. At first, it was kind of cool being a minor celebrity. I mean, it’s not every day your face is on every news and current affairs program across the country – even the bad ones. But then, I suppose it’s not every day that you expose a secret government deal to sell the land beneath your home town to a mining company either.
Some people wondered why I even bothered, as if my town was made out of Lego bricks and it wasn’t such a big deal for all of us to dismantle it and rebuild a few kilometres down the highway. One reporter even had the nerve to tell me I’d done the community a ‘great disservice’ and that I’d ‘taken jobs from people’. I pointed out that he doesn’t have to live every day with the thought that the ground beneath his house might collapse into a coal mine sinkhole. One day, life would be normal. The next, your chess tournament trophies and favourite gumboots and three dying tomato plants that you swore you’d water if you were allowed to plant them would disappear quicker than you can blink. Whoomp! Gone in a puff of bulldust and startled bugs. I sure don’t want to live with that scary thought lurking in the back of my mind, so I decided to take the only rational course of action: expose the Premier’s secret deal during a live television broadcast.
I told the reporter all this, then I told him to shove it.
Alethea, your main character has a very strong voice. I love his/her humour and feistiness.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure if Charlie was a boy or girl, because Charlie can be both a boy’s or girl’s name, but I guess your cover would reveal that for the reader.
I did have a bit of trouble working out how old your character was and I think the reader will want to know this. The Lego and Dying Tomato plant references made your character seem quite young, but ‘One reporter even had the nerve to tell me’ sounds a bit adult. I’m not sure teens would talk like that.
Even the title, Charlie Moore vs The State sounds a bit old for mid grade readers. Try and think of terminology that kids this age would use to describe the government.
I really like how this starts out. The voice is strong and the circumstances hook the reader in but then I thought that the line about exposing the secret deal might have given too much away. I would have liked to see you show us the reporters hounding Charlie and how your character reacts rather than ‘telling’ us how he/she felt about it. Perhaps you could show your character trying to avoid them – show us what your character is going through.
I felt that the second paragraph slowed the story down a bit because there was too much telling and I think the reader will want to know sooner what is going to happen next? How does your character respond to what’s happening to them? And what does this cause to happen?
You have a great character, but you need to allow them to move your story forward – give your character problems and allow him/her to try and solve them.
There’s some great writing in this piece. I hope you find my suggestions helpful.
Good luck with your rewriting.
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