Author Topic: Middle Grade Adventure in the Wilderness.  (Read 1164 times)

Offline Jodic

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Middle Grade Adventure in the Wilderness.
« on: August 18, 2018, 07:41:38 AM »
Hello Everyone.

I've posted my first five pages of my middle grade wilderness adventure, FINDING TALON HANDAXE.

Do you find any of it confusing? Any problems at all?

Any/all comments are appreciated!

Thank you in advance!!


Chapter One

When she passed it back, I knew what I had to do. Eat it. The egg salad Mom offered didn't ring any bells on my stomach's thrill-o-meter. But Dad wasn't with us as usual, to claim his favorite lunch time treat. He stayed behind in the city. And after five hours of staring at pine trees along the highway, chewing a mushy sandwich seemed like riding a coaster down Mount Everest. I unwrapped the cellophane and took a bite.
Mom, sitting shotgun in the station wagon, turned up the volume of the local Temagami radio station to hear the weather report. One hundred percent pointless. Anyone could see the blazing sun and dark clouds, which turned out to be swarms of mosquito. I chewed my sandwich and stared past Mom at the dashboard as the radio announcer introduced himself.
 Neville Wartlick.
"Ha! Wartlick!" Laughter rose through me as strong as a geyser, along with the sweet eggy spray.
Bright yellow bits of yolk clung to the back of my mom's hair, like tree ornaments.
My mouthful also showered Adanna, a family friend and my longtime foe, sitting beside me in the back seat.
"Ewwwwwww, Wallace!" Adanna screamed. I cringed. She'd been talking non-stop the whole way north from Toronto. Apparently, she still had enough vocal fortitude to make my ears almost bleed.
"What happened?" Naomi, who was Adanna's mother, turned back from the driver's seat. As she did, her hand yanked down the steering wheel.
 The station wagon veered into oncoming traffic.
"Watch the truck, watch the truck!" My mom braced herself against the dash.
"Ah wooooooo!" Cool Beans, Adanna's basset hound came alive in the rear of the wagon.
Naomi swerved her blimp-sized vehicle back to the right. Tires squealed.
My heart jolted hard, probably denting my rib cage.
"I'm gonna die before I try cheeseburger poutine!" I cried.
 We fishtailed. My cheek kissed the window. Our impending crash played in my mind with flip book speed. The wagon bucked as Naomi braked. We lurched forward in our seats before she pulled onto the shoulder.
My heart pried itself from my ribs. Hands still shaking, I patted myself down for any damage. All body parts seemed intact. I'd live to see my twelfth birthday, tomorrow. Barely.
"Everyone okay?" Naomi turned back, her dark eyes filled with concern. She looked from me to Adanna. "Is that egg on your face, Adanna?"
"Why is the back of my head covered in goo?" Mom rubbed her hair.
Cool Bean's cream and tan colored head rose from behind us. Nose up, he snuffled the air before lumbering over our seat.
"Cool Beans, no!" Adanna tried to push him away. But he was on a mission, a tongue wielding superhero. With long licks he wiped egg off Adanna and the seats, leaving trails of sticky saliva.
"Stop!" Naomi and Mom took swipes at Cool Beans from the front.
A warm feeling spread through my chest as I surveyed all the flushed faces and bulging eyes. For the first time since this birthday camping trip was sprung on me, everyone looked as upset as me. An idea hatched in my mind and grew as strong as the stench of egg salad. Sabotage. As long as I was miserable, I'd spread it around like evil fairy dust.
The front of my shorts felt wet, but I forgot that sensation the moment Mom turned around. She wore rose-colored glasses, but behind them, her eyes weren't rosy. The temperature in the car dropped to arctic climes.
"Wallace, did you cause this fiasco?" Mom asked. "We could have had an accident."
Cool Beans paused tongue-detailing the back seat. Even the song on the radio took on a distinct, sinister tone.
"Yes, Sky, it's Wallace's fault." Adanna sniffed, chest heaving.
"Don't look at me!" I snapped my seatbelt. "It was Neville Wartlick!"
"You spit egg salad on me." Adanna pointed an accusing finger my way.
 "You screamed."
"Stop it." Mom wiped her eggy hair on a napkin as Naomi pulled the wagon back on the highway. "Kids, I think an apology is in—"
"Look, he wet himself." Adanna grinned, braces sparkling. Her mocha colored cheeks rose to meet her bright eyes. All signs of emotional anguish completely vanished.
I looked down and felt the slow, dreadful roll of understanding in my gut. The damp stain on my shorts. My water bottle, now empty on the floor. Cool Bean plodding paws over our seats, the culprit. If I didn't clear this up, Adanna might spend the rest of our trip discussing diapers and bladder control.
"Relax." I rubbed the wet stain. "It's only water."
"Yeah right." Adanna scoffed. "Why is your face as red as your hair?"
"Okay kids, we'll stop off at the next gas station," Naomi said. "It smells terrible in here."
"Wallace, you can clean the car," Mom said.
My toes curled in my Converse high tops. Crystal ball, I could foretell my Labor Day long weekend if I didn't smarten up my sabotage plans, quick. Adanna would be smug queen and master of humiliation. I'd be the scrubber of backseat cesspits.
Mom cranked open her window and turned up the radio while everyone mouth-breathed.
Hey, all you Temagami cottagers and campers enjoying this sunny Friday, turn up 105.2,
The Moose! American reality TV celebrity Talon Handaxe, star of Extreme Wilderness
Survival, has been filming his show alone in our seven hundred square miles of
backcountry wilderness.

Adanna shot up in her seat. "Louder, please!"

For eight days he's been out there, with little food and water. Handaxe has two days to
go. And did you know he's upped the ante for this episode?

"Because he's not having enough fun?" I said.

"Shhhh!" Adanna gave me a playful shove.

He won't contact his crew with his satellite phone for any reason! Nope, not until the last
day! That's craaaaaazy up here! Stay tuned until Sunday, to find out if he's been
barbequed by bears or broiled by bobcats...just kidding folks! Let's hope Handaxe is up to
this challenge!

"That is dangerous," Mom said. "I hope he's okay."
"Of course he is. He can survive any situation!" Adanna's silence had lasted twenty seconds. My ears prepared for the onslaught. "He helped polar bear cubs find their mother in a snowstorm and navigated through shark-infested waters on a raft made of water bottles."
"All in the same episode?" I blotted my shorts with my Master Blaster t-shirt. "Your boyfriend's been busy." Handaxe meant boo to me unless I used him to annoy Adanna.
"He's not my boyfriend." She scowled. "He's my hero, I've told you this before."
"Look. Temagami Gas Bar, Bait n' Tackle and Diner." Naomi pointed to a faded sign teetering up ahead on the highway. "Let's fill up with gas before we hit the campground. We can clean up, too."
"Why would anyone leave the Hollywood Hills to come here?" I shook my head.
"Wallace, think of our trip as an adventure," Naomi said. She pulled the wagon into the crumbling parking lot and rumbled up to a pump. "Your mom and I spent every summer in Temagami as kids, camping with our families."
"I can't wait. Oh, did you pack any crocodiles or piranhas to spice up the festivities?" I asked as Naomi got out of the car to pump gas.
"Don't be rude." Mom sighed. "I can see you're still upset at Dad and me. If he were here, he'd tell you camping is a chance to immerse yourself in nature. Explore your creative side, the way you used to."
For a child therapist, Mom could be cruel. She may as well pour more water on my shorts. Six hours ago, Dad and Mom had ripped my gaming console from my hands, right as I reached Master Blaster's highest level. With my system tucked under his arm, Dad had left our apartment to go back to work, with a slim promise he'd show up tonight.

Offline NextChapter

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Re: Middle Grade Adventure in the Wilderness.
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2018, 02:39:41 PM »
"chewing a mushy sandwich seemed like riding a coaster down Mount Everest."
I love roller coasters, but my husband hates them. Not sure which way you're going with this. If you mean exciting by comparison to the rest of the boring ride, perhaps try
"chewing a mushy sandwich seemed as thrilling as riding a coaster down Mount Everest."

"I chewed my sandwich"
You just used the word chewing two sentences prior. How about mixing it up with
"I swallowed more sandwich" or "I choked down another bite of my sandwich" or "The egg salad rolled around in my mouth."

"My cheek kissed the window."
Love this sentence! :up:

"evil fairy dust"
Love this! :up:

"Look, he wet himself."
Up until this point, I thought the mc was a girl. Wallace is a guy? ???

Did the car smell from the egg salad? Dog saliva? The spilled water (not actually water)??

Overall, I am intrigued, wanting to know what happens to Handaxe, and how that involves Wallace. Also, I hated family camping as a kid.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2018, 02:41:58 PM by NextChapter »

Offline Pineapplejuice

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Re: Middle Grade Adventure in the Wilderness.
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2018, 10:03:28 AM »
Hello Everyone.

I've posted my first five pages of my middle grade wilderness adventure, FINDING TALON HANDAXE.

Do you find any of it confusing? Any problems at all?

Any/all comments are appreciated!

Thank you in advance!!


Chapter One

When she passed it back, I knew what I had to do. Eat it. (  YES! You just ...that warm voice got me. I giggled. I'm going to make a cuppa and settle in. Ahh crap made the coffee in my eagerness without remembering to boil kettle lol  ) The egg salad Mom offered ( maybe 'held out' or something because offerred is telling and you could use something showy ) didn't ring any bells on my stomach's thrill-o-meter. ( Lol good )  But Dad wasn't with us as usual, to claim his favorite lunch time treat. He stayed behind in the city. And after five hours of staring at pine trees along the highway, chewing a mushy sandwich seemed like was about as appealing as riding a coaster down Mount Everest.

( I switched to 'was about as appealing as' because 'seemed like' isn't quite specific enough to link the situation with the similie.  )

I unwrapped ( 'peeled away' or similiar might be more showy )  the cellophane and took a bite.
Mom, sitting shotgun in the station wagon ( just checking you know shotgun is the passenger seat. I'm wondering who is driving? ) , turned up the volume of the local Temagami radio station to hear catch ( nothing wrong with 'hear' , I'm just putting 'catch' up as a suggestion as it is a word that would suggest a curious or urgent body language as well as the basic motivation, of Mum )  the weather report. One hundred percent pointless. ( Yes! Voice A + ) Anyone could see the blazing sun and dark clouds, which turned out to be swarms of mosquito. ( I love what you're saying and the voice but it felt odd reading it as I envisioned the bright sun and dark clouds which was so jarring in a realistic sense, I think tweaking might help. Maybe 'Anyone could see the blazing sun, and those dark clouds on the horizon are just swarms of mosquitos ) I chewed my sandwich and stared past Mom at the dashboard as the radio announcer introduced himself.
 Neville Wartlick.
"Ha! Wartlick!" Laughter rose through me ( lol, took me a minute but I got there )  as strong as a geyser, along with the sweet eggy spray. ( Good description )
Bright yellow bits of yolk clung to the back of my mom's hair, like tree ornaments. ( Ok I'm going to stop commenting every time I laugh, smile or something is good or I'll just annoy you and not achieve anything lol omg kettle boiled! Yey! I'll just use an emoji when it's good  :) )
My mouthful also showered Adanna, a family friend and my longtime foe, who was sitting beside me in the back seat.
"Ewwwwwww, Wallace!" Adanna screamed. I cringed. She'd been talking non-stop the whole way north from Toronto. Apparently, she still had enough vocal fortitude definition of fortitude doesn't sound quite right. It tends to mean courage and bravery and mental experiences. Maybe something like stamina/vigour/energy in reserve ) to make my ears almost bleed.
"What happened?" Naomi, who was Adanna's mother, turned back from the driver's seat. ( Ah I see, yes his Mum is riding shotgun then ) As she did, her hand yanked down the steering wheel.
 The station wagon veered into oncoming traffic.
"Watch the truck, watch the truck!" My mom braced herself against the dash.
"Ah wooooooo!" Cool Beans, Adanna's basset hound came alive in the rear of the wagon. LOL  ;D I love that you gave the dog dialogue!!! I love it. I really heard that lol. I've done this in my vampire novel with a cat lol.
Naomi swerved her blimp-sized vehicle back to the right. Tires squealed. ( omg I'm reading this as an Australian and had to remember you drive on the other side of the road, but that's just me lol )
My heart jolted hard, probably denting my rib cage.
"I'm gonna die before I try cheeseburger poutine!" I cried.
 We fishtailed. My cheek kissed the window. Our impending crash played in my mind with flip book speed. The wagon bucked as Naomi braked. We lurched forward in our seats before she pulled onto the shoulder.
My heart pried itself from my ribs. Hands still shaking, I patted myself down for any damage. All body parts seemed intact. I'd live to see my twelfth birthday, tomorrow. Barely.
"Everyone okay?" Naomi turned back, her dark eyes filled with concern. She looked from me to Adanna. "Is that egg on your face, Adanna?"
"Why is the back of my head covered in goo?" Mom rubbed her hair.
Cool Bean's cream and tan colored head rose from behind us. Nose up, he snuffled the air before lumbering ( such a good doggy word ) over our seat.
"Cool Beans, no!" Adanna tried to push him away. But he was on a mission, a tongue wielding superhero. With long licks he wiped egg off Adanna and the seats, leaving trails of sticky saliva.
"Stop!" Naomi and Mom took swipes at Cool Beans from the front.
A warm feeling spread through my chest as I surveyed all the flushed faces and bulging eyes. For the first time since this birthday camping trip was sprung on me, everyone looked as upset as me. An idea hatched in my mind and grew as strong as the stench of egg salad. Sabotage. As long as I was miserable, I'd spread it around like evil fairy dust. ( Or egg salad. Sorry, couldn't help myself lol )
The front of my shorts felt wet, but I forgot that sensation the moment Mom turned around. She wore rose-colored glasses, but behind them, her eyes weren't rosy. The temperature in the car dropped to arctic climes.
"Wallace, did you cause this fiasco?" Mom asked. "We could have had an accident."
Cool Beans paused his tongue-detailing of the back seat. Even the song on the radio took on a distinct, sinister tone.
"Yes, Sky, it's Wallace's fault." Adanna sniffed, chest heaving.
"Don't look at me!" I snapped my seatbelt. "It was Neville Wartlick!"
"You spit egg salad on me." Adanna pointed an accusing finger my way.
 "You screamed."
"Stop it." Mom wiped her eggy hair on a napkin as Naomi pulled the wagon back on the highway. "Kids, I think an apology is in—"
"Look, he wet himself." Adanna grinned, braces sparkling. Her mocha colored cheeks rose to meet her bright eyes. All signs of emotional anguish completely vanished.
I looked down and felt the slow, dreadful roll of understanding in my gut. The damp stain on my shorts. My water bottle, now empty on the floor. Cool Bean plodding paws over our seats, the culprit. If I didn't clear this up, Adanna might spend the rest of our trip discussing diapers and bladder control.
"Relax." I rubbed the wet stain. "It's only water."
"Yeah right." Adanna scoffed. "Why is your face as red as your hair?"
"Okay kids, we'll stop off at the next gas station," Naomi said. "It smells terrible in here."
"Wallace, you can clean the car," Mom said.
My toes curled in my Converse high tops. Crystal ball, I could foretell my Labor Day long weekend if I didn't smarten up my sabotage plans, quick. Adanna would be smug queen and master of humiliation. I'd be the scrubber of backseat cesspits.
Mom cranked open her window and turned up the radio while everyone mouth-breathed.
Hey, all you Temagami cottagers and campers enjoying this sunny Friday, turn up 105.2,
The Moose! American reality TV celebrity Talon Handaxe, star of Extreme Wilderness
Survival, has been filming his show alone in our seven hundred square miles of
backcountry wilderness.


Adanna shot up in her seat. flapping her hand at the air as if she just ate something hot ( Just wanted tiny bit more ) "Louder, please!"

For eight days he's been out there, with little food and water. Handaxe has two days to
go. And did you know he's upped the ante for this episode?


"Because he's not having enough fun?" I said. ( does he say this sarcastically. Maybe say 'sarcastically in case people don't assume it. )

"Shhhh!" Adanna gave me a playful shove.

He won't contact his crew with his satellite phone for any reason! Nope, not until the last
day! That's craaaaaazy up here! Stay tuned until Sunday, to find out if he's been
barbequed by bears or broiled by bobcats...just kidding folks! Let's hope Handaxe is up to
this challenge!

 ( really radioey radio voice!  ;D )
"That is dangerous," Mom said. ( i want an adverb or something as I couldn't 'see' Mum or hear the tone of voice with just 'said.' here. )  "I hope he's okay."
"Of course he is. He can survive any situation!" Adanna's silence had lasted twenty seconds. My ears prepared for the onslaught. "He helped polar bear cubs find their mother in a snowstorm and navigated through shark-infested waters on a raft made of water bottles."
"All in the same episode?" I blotted my shorts with my Master Blaster t-shirt. "Your boyfriend's been busy." Handaxe meant boo to me unless I used him to annoy Adanna.
"He's not my boyfriend." She scowled. "He's my hero, I've told you this before."
"Look. Temagami Gas Bar, Bait n' Tackle and Diner." Naomi pointed to a faded sign teetering ( teetering means swaying. Is this what you mean? In Aus signs don't sway, never on chains etc so not sure if it's regional ) up ahead on the highway. "Let's fill up with gas before we hit the campground. We can clean up, too."
"Why would anyone leave the Hollywood Hills to come here?" I shook my head.
"Wallace, think of our trip as an adventure," Naomi said. She pulled the wagon into the crumbling parking lot and rumbled up to a pump. "Your mom and I spent every summer in Temagami as kids, camping with our families."
"I can't wait. Oh, did you pack any crocodiles or piranhas to spice up the festivities?" I asked as Naomi got out of the car to pump gas.
"Don't be rude." Mom sighed. "I can see you're still upset at Dad and me. If he were here, he'd tell you camping is a chance to immerse yourself in nature. Explore your creative side, the way you used to."
For a child therapist, Mom could be cruel. She may as well pour more water on my shorts. Six hours ago, Dad and Mom had ripped my gaming console from my hands, right as I reached Master Blaster's highest level. With my system tucked under his arm, Dad had left our apartment to go back to work, with a slim promise he'd show up tonight.


That was so good. Well done!

Offline Kjk

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Re: Middle Grade Adventure in the Wilderness.
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2018, 02:51:19 AM »
I really enjoyed it. Well defined characters and funny. Good luck.

Offline Jodic

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Re: Middle Grade Adventure in the Wilderness.
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2018, 05:29:27 PM »
Thank you nextchapter for reading this piece!!

I appreciate your specificity with the 'as thrilling as' riding a coaster down Mount Everest. It makes it super clear. Much appreciated!!

Thank you as well for variations on chewing the sandwich, too!!

Jodi

Offline Jodic

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Re: Middle Grade Adventure in the Wilderness.
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2018, 05:33:30 PM »
Pineapplejuice,

Thank you so much for reading my intro!!! You've provided many sound slight alterations to make this introduction stronger, and I thank you for it!!

You've been an invaluable help!

Jodi

Offline Jodic

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Re: Middle Grade Adventure in the Wilderness.
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2018, 05:34:37 PM »
Kjk,

Thanks for taking the time to read through the beginning!

I'm just looking for a general, 'what do you think' or 'are you confused', and it seems it was fine!!

Jodi

Offline Kjk

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Re: Middle Grade Adventure in the Wilderness.
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2018, 09:57:44 PM »
I did not come across any of your concerns. very clear on my end.