QueryTracker Community
May 27, 2017, 12:35:34 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Note: This forum uses different usernames and passwords than those of the main QueryTracker site. 
Please register if you want to post messages.

This forum is also accessible by the public (including search engines).
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Alabaster Parphinian and the Toaster… OF DOOM! - MG Humor -Updated in reply #7  (Read 686 times)
Drachen
Sr. Member
****

Karma: 38
Offline Offline

Posts: 149



« on: March 18, 2017, 02:57:28 PM »

Updated in reply #7


Query is here: https://querytracker.net/forum/index.php?topic=21868.0

Chapter 1


Alabaster Parphinian was no ordinary kid, I knew that from the moment I first saw her.

“Here are my homework assignments.” She thumped a brick of papers down on Mr. Winklesnatch’s desk. I swear the near leg of the desk groaned under the weight.

I closed my book and peered just over the top. Normally I’m bored in class, but I thought this could get interesting.

Mr. Winklesnatch adjusted his glasses and stared up from his seat. “It’s the first day of school.”

“I know that….” Alabaster glanced around in surprise. “What does that have to do with my homework?”

“Uhh….” Mr. Winklesnatch flipped through the first few folders in the stack.

“There’s more!” Alabaster chimed brightly.

“There… is?” Mr. Winklesnatch scratched his ear and a worried frown crossed his face.

“This is the model that’s due October fifteenth.” Alabaster plonked down a perfectly sculpted farmscape, complete with power-generating windmills. “It’s fully functional.” She blew on the windmills and a series of LEDs lit up. “It’s only four point five watts. I’m working on a higher-power version at home. Oh and there’s this!” She placed a Roman ballista on Mr. Winklesnatch’s desk. It looked like a miniature crossbow on wheels.

“Does it work too?” Mr. Winklesnatch poked the contraption with an idle finger.

The spring arm unloaded with a sharp twang and a steel tipped wooden dart shot across the room straight at my head. I raised my book protectively like a shield and the dart pierced all five-hundred-twenty-eight pages to protrude slightly from the far side, mere inches from my nose.

“Yes. Yes it does work,” Alabaster said. “You probably shouldn’t shoot it at students.”

“Hey!” I said, glaring at Alabaster. “You ruined my book. And, almost as importantly, you nearly killed me!”

“He shot it, not me.” Alabaster pointed at Mr. Winklesnatch.

Mr. Winklesnatch threw his head back and glared at the ceiling as if thinking, what did I ever do to deserve this? He squeezed his eyes tightly and took several deep breaths, but when he re-opened them, Alabaster was still there. “I haven’t assigned anything yet… I don’t even know your name.”

“Alabaster.”

Mr. Winklesnatch ran a finger down his class list. “Parphinian?”

“Do you have many other Alabasters in the class?” She tilted her head curiously to get a peek at the list.

Most of the others in the class giggled, but I was far too curious about this new girl to see the humor. Besides, I had to find something to keep me from getting bored now that my book was destroyed.
Alabaster’s skin matched her name, ivory white with no hint of color, not even on her cheeks. She wore what could be best described as exceedingly odd clothing for a normal school day. Even on Halloween, the mishmash of eras and styles would stand out strangely. From the ground up, she wore painted wooden clogs, black fishnet stockings with a tear in the left knee, a poodle skirt from the 1950s, and a ruffled shirt and waistcoat which looked like it came from hundreds of years ago. Perched on her curly black head of hair she wore an old leather aviator’s helmet with goggles. Her arms and legs were rail thin and her face looked like it had been made of putty and stretched vertically to match her build.

Mr. Winklesnatch tried his best to gather his wits. “Ahh… right… You’re the only Alabaster, of course. That still doesn’t explain why you’ve handed me a stack of homework on the first day of school.”

Alabaster furrowed her black eyebrows in apparent confusion. “Why to save both of us time later, of course. They’re all catalogued by date, and color-coded to subject. I’m sure you’ll find they’re all A pluses, so you could save yourself the effort and just give me my report card now.”

“Wha-but-I….” With superhuman willpower, Mr. Winklesnatch finally gathered his thoughts. “How do you even know what I’m going to assign?”

Alabaster laughed. “That’s easy. All your assignments for the past five years are on the school website, so I cross-indexed the change over time to your assignments with what I know of the upcoming year and your nature. I wrote some software to extrapolate the results, let it run overnight and… there you go.” She said it as though she were giving a child instructions on how to tie their shoes.

With an incredulous gape on his mouth, Mr. Winklesnatch leafed through the papers, calmly at first but with an increasing panic as he got deeper into the pile. “How did… no… why… who….” He threw up his hands in exasperation. “Just take a seat.” He mumbled under his breath as Alabaster walked to her seat, “Ten short months and you can go back to your hobbies full-time Hieronymus… ten… months.” He sank his face into his hands and looked ready to cry. “Oh Lord, I’ll never make it.”

Aside from me, the whole class decided as one they wanted no part of the new girl. Every available seat was quickly filled with books, jackets, half-eaten apples, anything close at hand. Every available seat that is, except one, the one right next to me, in the front left corner of the class.

Alabaster pursed her tiny mouth in an attempted smile my direction and sat. “Alabaster Parphinian.” She held out a lace-gloved hand in my direction. I didn’t know whether I was supposed to kiss it or shake, so I settled on staring at her hand in shock.

“Are you mute?” She asked. “Perhaps deaf?” She quickly signed a series of symbols with her hands, but I had no idea what they meant.

“No….” I managed at last. “I’m Liam.”

“I’m not sure if I’ve heard of that condition. Is that what causes you to respond so slowly?”

“No… my name… Liam… my name is Liam.” I covered my mouth with a hand to shut myself up. Normally I have no problem with words, people often tell me I’m too talkative, but something about the new girl had thrown me completely off balance.

Alabaster tilted her head slightly. “What an odd manner of speaking you have, Liam.”

I gaped at her in shock. “Did you just call me weird?” Not that she’d be wrong in that. I am different from the other kids in my class. I dance instead of playing sports and I read books instead of spending all day staring at my phone, but coming from her the accusation seemed a bit much.

“Enough talking, time to get to work.” Mr. Winklesnatch stood in front of the class.

Alabaster ignored him. “Are you weird? Weird enough to stand out, or just an outlier in your peer group? I need to find someone who can blend in.” She seemed anxious.

 “Alabaster, there’s no talking during class.” Mr. Winklesnatch tapped his toe impatiently.

“Shh.” She held up a finger to silence him. “I’m right in the middle of something with—”

“Unless you want a detention, young lady, I suggest you get with the program.”

Alabaster looked ready to argue, but I put a hand on her arm. “Catch me at lunch?”

“Catch you?”

“Yes. At lunch.” I glanced up nervously at Mr. Winklesnatch, but he seemed happy enough that I’d sorted Alabaster out without his intervention.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2017, 06:05:43 PM by Drachen » Logged
Jim Williams
Sr. Member
****

Karma: 12
Offline Offline

Posts: 135


Make up real


« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2017, 06:48:45 PM »

I immediately wanted to continue reading. I have no basis to know if this will appeal to middle graders. Cannot imagine what a toaster of doom would be.

Good luck with it.
Logged

samcantcook
Sr. Member
****

Karma: 29
Offline Offline

Posts: 138



WWW
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2017, 08:47:22 AM »

I liked this, but the beginning was a little weird for me because it starts in first person and then mostly focuses on the exchange between Alabaster and Mr. Winklesnatch (a name that I think your target audience will love by the way Grin). Is there anyway you can establish more about the first person MC first, before that conversation?--otherwise it feels like we're hopping perspectives early on. Alabaster is an intriguing character! But one line that I think will come across as boastful, and make her a bit unlikable, was: “Why to save both of us time later, of course. They’re all catalogued by date, and color-coded to subject. I’m sure you’ll find they’re all A pluses, so you could save yourself the effort and just give me my report card now.” I think you do enough showing that she's intelligent without her having to say she is deserving of all A pluses.
Logged

COME CHECK OUT MY BLOG!
www.thecubemind.com/
vivaviolet
Jr. Member
**

Karma: 4
Offline Offline

Posts: 49


« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 05:55:23 PM »

Hi, Drachen. I agree with Sam--let us get to know Liam a little first before we meet Alabaster.  Even a few sentences would do it.

I think you can cut back on Mr. Winklesnatch's tags/beats.  They get in the way of Liam and Alabaster meeting.  For example:

With an incredulous gape on his mouth, Mr. Winklesnatch leafed through the papers, calmly at first but with an increasing panic as he got deeper into the pile. “How did… no… why… who….” He threw up his hands in exasperation. “Just take a seat.” He mumbled under his breath as Alabaster walked to her seat, “Ten short months and you can go back to your hobbies full-time Hieronymus… ten… months.” He sank his face into his hands and looked ready to cry. “Oh Lord, I’ll never make it.”


Very fresh and funny. Kids will love it.
Logged
mgmystery
Hero Member
*****

Karma: 68
Offline Offline

Posts: 358


« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2017, 10:18:00 AM »

I like it too! I'm kind of torn about the idea of changing the beginning. The idea seems to be that Alabaster changes Liam's life, and everyone has seen enough of the "My life was normal until..." beginning. For me, Liam's self-examination when she implies he's weird was enough.

I do agree with Vivaviolet about cutting the teacher's lines after "Take a seat." They don't fit as well as the rest of his actions. One thing that really stood out was Liam usually being bored in this class then the mention of it being the first day of school. I'd change it to he was prepared to be bored by the class, or just relate his interest to Alabaster's obvious difference from the usual students.

Great voice! I agree-- kids will love this  Smiley
Logged
Drachen
Sr. Member
****

Karma: 38
Offline Offline

Posts: 149



« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2017, 02:02:11 PM »

Thanks all, I appreciate the feedback. I'll give this another once over with all your comments in mind and I think it's in pretty good shape.
Logged
gushags16
Full Member
***

Karma: 12
Offline Offline

Posts: 77



« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2017, 02:13:25 PM »

This is awesome.

I'm totally drawn in and want to continue reading. Only a couple of things stood out to me.

Quote
With an incredulous gape on his mouth, Mr. Winklesnatch leafed ...

This feels like it could be re-written. "incredulous gape" doesn't do much for me. It seems like it's over describing it. There was a second instance of "gape" that also didn't work for me.

Quote
I gaped at her in shock. “Did you just call me weird?”

I don't know, maybe I just don't like the word "gape," but at times like this I'd rather read a more descriptive passage. I want to understand that the the character is shocked through their body language or their reaction rather than be given shorthand for surprise.

What could that be?

-- The pencil I was holding fell out of my hand.
-- I blinked. Then I blinked again. I blinked once more and felt my lower jaw start to drop.

Neither of these are great examples, but they do help explain my point which is that great moments like this, your characters' first reactions to another character, can sometimes benefit from more writing rather than less. Shorthand words like these are understood by everyone, but you can use these moments to not only react to a character, but illuminate the reacting character as well.

So minor points. I really enjoyed this.   
Logged
Drachen
Sr. Member
****

Karma: 38
Offline Offline

Posts: 149



« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2017, 06:04:16 PM »

Heya, thanks for the help everyone. The new edition is mostly minor edits. The big change is in the first few paragraphs where I've added some character exposure right away. Is this better?



I leapt and pirouetted across a vast black stage. In the audience, everyone I knew stared in rapt attention. The girls in my ballet class swirled around me, but as the only boy, I was the center or attention. The music swelled to a crescendo and I anticipated the applause—

“Liam’s dancing again!” Hushed whispers and giggles cut through my daydreaming.

My ears burned and I sank down until my head was nearly level with my desk. I must have been moving in time with the music in my head again. Performing in front of everyone I knew was the dream… but it was also my nightmare.

I reached for my book and pretended not to hear my classmates’ whispered jeers.

The thump of a heavy brick of papers landing on Mr. Winklesnatch’s desk drew me back into the classroom. “Here are my homework assignments.” A new girl smiled proudly at her handiwork. I swear the near leg of the desk groaned under the weight.

I closed my book and peered over the top. This could get interesting.

Mr. Winklesnatch adjusted his glasses and stared up from his seat. “It’s the first day of school.”

“I know that….” The girl glanced around in surprise. “What does that have to do with my homework?”

“Uhh….” Mr. Winklesnatch flipped through the first few folders in the stack.

“There’s more!” She chimed brightly.

“There… is?” Mr. Winklesnatch scratched his ear and a worried frown crossed his face.

“This is the model that’s due October fifteenth.” The new girl plonked down a perfectly sculpted farmscape, complete with power-generating windmills. “It’s fully functional.” She blew on the windmills and a series of LEDs lit up. “It’s only four point five watts. I’m working on a higher-power version at home. Oh and there’s this!” She placed a Roman ballista on Mr. Winklesnatch’s desk. It looked like a miniature crossbow on wheels.

“Does it work too?” Mr. Winklesnatch poked the contraption with an idle finger.

The spring arm unloaded with a sharp twang and a steel tipped wooden dart shot across the room straight at my head. I raised my book protectively like a shield and the dart pierced all five-hundred-twenty-eight pages to protrude slightly from the far side, mere inches from my nose.

“Yes. Yes it does work,” The girl said. “You probably shouldn’t shoot it at students.”

“Hey!” I said, glaring at her. “You ruined my book. And, almost as importantly, you nearly killed me!”

“He shot it, not me.” She pointed at Mr. Winklesnatch.

Mr. Winklesnatch threw his head back and glared at the ceiling as if thinking, what did I ever do to deserve this? He squeezed his eyes tightly and took several deep breaths, but when he re-opened them the new girl was still there. “I haven’t assigned anything yet… I don’t even know your name.”

“Alabaster.”

Mr. Winklesnatch ran a finger down his class list. “Parphinian?”

“Do you have many other Alabasters in the class?” She tilted her head curiously to get a peek at the list.

Most of the others in the class giggled, but I was far too curious about Alabaster Parphinian to see the humor. Besides, I had to find something to keep me from getting bored now that my book was destroyed.

Alabaster’s skin matched her name, ivory white with no hint of color, not even on her cheeks. She wore what could be best described as exceedingly odd clothing for a normal school day. Even on Halloween, the mishmash of eras and styles would stand out strangely. From the ground up, she wore painted wooden clogs, black fishnet stockings with a tear in the left knee, a poodle skirt from the 1950s, and a ruffled shirt and waistcoat which looked like it came from hundreds of years ago. Perched on her curly black head of hair she wore an old leather aviator’s helmet with goggles. Her arms and legs were rail thin and her face looked like it had been made of putty and stretched vertically to match her build.

Mr. Winklesnatch tried his best to gather his wits. “Ahh… right… You’re the only Alabaster, of course. That still doesn’t explain why you’ve handed me a stack of homework on the first day of school.”

Alabaster furrowed her black eyebrows in apparent confusion. “Why to save both of us time later, of course. They’re all catalogued by date, and color-coded to subject. I’m sure you’ll find they’re all A pluses, so you could save yourself the effort and just give me my report card now.”

“Wha-but-I….” With superhuman willpower, Mr. Winklesnatch finally gathered his thoughts. “How do you even know what I’m going to assign?”

Alabaster laughed. “That’s easy. All your assignments for the past five years are on the school website, so I cross-indexed the change over time to your assignments with what I know of the upcoming year and your nature. I wrote some software to extrapolate the results, let it run overnight and… there you go.” She said it as though she were giving a child instructions on how to tie their shoes.

Mr. Winklesnatch leafed through the papers, with increasingly frantic movements as he got deeper into the pile. “How did… no… why… who….” He threw up his hands in exasperation. “Just take a seat.”

Aside from me, the whole class decided as one they wanted no part of the new girl. Every available seat was quickly filled with books, jackets, half-eaten apples, anything close at hand. Every available seat that is, except one, the one right next to me, in the front left corner of the class.

Alabaster pursed her tiny mouth in an attempted smile my direction and sat. “Alabaster Parphinian.” She held out a lace-gloved hand in my direction. I didn’t know whether I was supposed to kiss it or shake, so I settled on staring at her hand in shock.

“Are you mute?” She asked. “Perhaps deaf?” She quickly signed a series of symbols with her hands, but I had no idea what they meant.

“No….” I managed at last. “I’m Liam.”

“I’m not sure if I’ve heard of that condition. Is that what causes you to respond so slowly?”

“No… my name… Liam… my name is Liam.” I covered my mouth with a hand to shut myself up. Normally I have no problem with words, people often tell me I’m too talkative, but something about the new girl had thrown me completely off balance.

Alabaster tilted her head slightly. “What an odd manner of speaking you have, Liam.”

My skewered book fell from numb fingers. I wasn’t sure whether to be shocked or angry with her. “Did you just call me weird?” Not that she’d be wrong in that. I am different from the other kids in my class. I dance instead of playing sports and I read books instead of spending all day staring at my phone, but being called weird by her was an epic stretch considering she looked like she’d been puked out of a Time Lord’s closet.

“Enough talking, time to get to work.” Mr. Winklesnatch stood in front of the class.

Alabaster ignored him. “Are you weird? Weird enough to stand out, or just an outlier in your peer group? I need to find someone who can blend in.” She seemed anxious.
 “Alabaster, there’s no talking during class.” Mr. Winklesnatch tapped his toe impatiently.

“Shh.” She held up a finger to silence him. “I’m right in the middle of something with—”

“Unless you want a detention, young lady, I suggest you get with the program.”

Alabaster looked ready to argue, but I put a hand on her arm. “Catch me at lunch?”

“Catch you?”

“Yes. At lunch.” I glanced up nervously at Mr. Winklesnatch, but he seemed happy enough that I’d sorted Alabaster out without his intervention.
Logged
samcantcook
Sr. Member
****

Karma: 29
Offline Offline

Posts: 138



WWW
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2017, 09:06:16 AM »

This new beginning really drew me in. You get a sense of the character quickly with the verb choice--pirouetted. Also you establish him as unusual (he's imagining himself dancing and everyone knows it!) and even daring (for placing himself in a traditionally predominately female setting, even if only in his imagination in the opening scene); I'm already rooting for him.

 Thumbs Up
Logged

COME CHECK OUT MY BLOG!
www.thecubemind.com/
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.2 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!