3rd SR Crapometer #45--partial for sure

Dear Miss Snark:

Wouldn't any kid like to stumble upon the truth -- that magic and the supernatural not only exist, but are a way of life? That's exactly what happens in my 101,000-word young adult novel "The Thaumaturgical Three." Two brothers and the girl they both adore for different reasons collect on their mystical inheritance -- the knowledge of the reality-bending art called "thaumaturgy" -- just in time to save the world.

This adventure eschews the usual fantasy worlds of castles and caves, keeping the action in the suburbs and schools where kids live. Timmy and Josh Random, typical bickering brothers, uncover their late mother's tools and talent for magic (as well as her talking dog). Cassandra Connor is the beautiful girl next door who's more than she seems. Life is good in their home town of Haven -- until Cassandra's mysterious grandfather turns up with plans to unleash an ancient evil. Can three novice thaumaturgists stop him? Despite interference from school bullies, all manner of supernatural creatures and their own personal problems -- such as Cassandra turning into a demon -- eventually they triumph.

I'm a 14-year veteran writer, editor and journalist in the computer publishing business. By day I write about wireless networking and other technology; by night (and most mornings) I create fiction, usually crime, science fiction and fantasy. I've plotted story arcs for "The Thaumaturgical Three" through two more novels, and hopefully, beyond.

Enclosed, you'll find the first page of the novel which I hope you'll soon be representing. Thank you for your consideration.

Best regards,

Yowza baby, I'm sending KY to the bodega for snax, keep him occupado so I can read.


Chapter 1
Later, when Joshua Random thought back, he knew things began on that first day of school, the day he found the bathtub filled with thick, dark chocolate pudding.
It began, like many such situations do, with a call to a higher power.
"Dad!" Josh yelled down the corridor. At the same time, he banged a fist on the bathroom door. He stage whispered to the occupant, "Open this door now, Timmy, or I'll take it off the hinges to get to you."
Josh heard a snort inside. His younger brother said, "The hinges are on this side, so good luck with that."
Josh's forehead knotted with the boiling anger that only a younger sibling can generate. He pounded again on the door, yelling, "Daaaad!"
From inside came low muttering. Josh felt a rush of warm air on his feet from under the door. A sickly sweet scent hit his nostrils.
"What is that smell?" Josh said.
"Well, it is a bathroom, son," said his father, Richard. As usual, a toothy, goofy smile split his well-trimmed beard in half, the kind of grin that comes after winding down from a hearty laugh. Richard had not truly laughed in months, a fact he thought his sons hadn't noticed. He was wrong.
"I think he's setting fires in there," Josh said.
"I doubt that, but if he is, at least he's near water."
Richard liked to joke a lot, but seldom struck the funny bone.
"Whatever he's doing, he's doing it on my bathroom time!" Josh punctuated the last three words with three punches to the heavy wooden door.
Richard stepped to the door and said, "Timmy? Son? Everything okey-dokey in there?"
All was silent. Josh, in only the gym shorts he wore for pajamas, crossed his hands over his chest, his posture screaming, "See, the kid is up to something!" If anything, his father's smile grew. He started to say Timmy's's name again but then the door opened wide.
Nine-year-old Timmy had dressed for his first day of fifth grade in his new school clothes, purchased at the mall the weekend before -- clothes so new the blue jeans had a crease in the denim. The pants were baggy on him, but that's how he liked them, and he was even happier to find them cargo-style, with multiple pockets up and down the legs. Most of them were full to bulging.
"There's my little man. What were you up to in there?" Even the smile couldn't hide a touch of suspicion in Richard's voice.
"Nothing. Just, uh... reading." Timmy held up a thick paperback book.
"Ah, well, there you go Josh. Can't complain about that, can we?" Richard thought any reading at any time, from a comic strip up to 'War and Peace' worthy of equal praise.

oh ya.
This is all that and a bag of chips.


A. M. said...

Oooh, now the good stuff's just rolling in.

Action, tension, and a first sentence that has us sit up and be totally curious.

Excellent job, author, congrats!

December Quinn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
proxymoron said...

it's a beautiful day after a week of gray and crap. go outside and play! i blame miss snark and andre agassi for my interiority.

liked the query, liked the page. title could go. "thaumaturgy" is a cute word but long for the intended readership.

wondering at the wisdom of pitching a ya fantasy and admitting that crime is one's main interest.

also, didn't think it was clear enough that the two story arcs to follow are independent of this one (and therefore this is is not the first of a trilogy outside of the writer's main genre)... so maybe they're not.

my three cents.

December Quinn said...


I love the way the title sounds like one of Mrs. Blyton's books. Very clever-makes me anticipate fun and adventure with real kids...and it looks like it delivers!

Anonymous said...

Oh, my kids would eat this book up like candy. But they'd have to wait. If I buy it, I get to read it first.--SM

Anonymous said...

love it - I want more!

Anonymous said...

I'd read it, definitely.

Question, though. I've seen a couple of times in the crapometer this round people mentioning that their novels could be worked into series. I've heard that's a no-no, but it's been seen positively here. What makes it a positive or a negative?

Sarah said...

At last, someone else (apart from 12 year old Katie) who can write! And this guy is only 14!

Really excellent writing.

So much of the crap submitted to the crapometer has been pretentious and cloying (so much so that I'm trying to avoid commenting on those, as I don't want to upset the authors.)

This is fresh, natural and honest writing.

Michele said...

I laughed out loud! Great sense of humour.

lizzie26 said...

Sarah, he's a 14 year VETERAN of writing, not a 14 year old.

The title seems to get the tongue twisted a little. And Timmy for a boy's name? That's from years ago, like the 50's and 60's.

I like the premise and that's it's set in the present day.

Good writing.

Wormy Boy said...

y'all are idiots.

X. V. Ojaco said...

Question, though. I've seen a couple of times in the crapometer this round people mentioning that their novels could be worked into series. I've heard that's a no-no, but it's been seen positively here. What makes it a positive or a negative?

I'm not an agent, but my understanding is that in genres where series are popular (fantasy, for example), it's a minor plus to point out that the book *could* be the basis for a series.

However, mentioning that the book *must* be the basis for a series (e.g., the main conflicts are not resolved until book twelve) is a negative.

Anonymous said...

So all the point of view switches don't bother anyone but me?

I liked it except for those, which could have been easily avoided.

McKoala said...

Love the opening paras, the tone, the humour. Some odd (dated?) things - 'okey-dokey'??? The POV does jump a bit, but the story hurtles forward regardless. I think it's going to be good.

Frainstorm said...

Loved everything, save for two that are easy to fix:

1. Title wasn't for me at all.
2. POV jumps slowed me down so I had to figure out who was who.

Great stuff, I'd definitely keep reading.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you like this, Miss Snark. I felt head-hopping from Josh to Richard and back.

I'm more clueless than ever just about now.

Back to my writing-MY writing, with my style, my characters, my story. Maybe not Miss Snark's cup of tea (or paid of gin), but I'll be looking for my own voice. Not someone else's.

Live and learn.

writtenwyrdd said...

This is great. I'd like to know what happens, and I'd read the book before passing it along to the kid I bought it for. (Oh, wait - I don't have any kids. It must be for me!)

I liked the author's understanding of how a kid thinks. Or, it felt like I was in a kid's head and not that of a miniature adult.

I didn't like Timmy, either. If the talking dog is called Lassie, we'd have to hurt you, lol.

I think that the average angry older brother would have a cruel nickname to trundle out while pounding on the bathroom door.

And don't forget that trick with the hole and something to poke the lock open with. My brother and I did that to each other.

There is a tiny bit of cute and folksey language, but it didn't really bother me, because I actually talk that way. But I'm wierd.

BuffySquirrel said...

I think the strength of this story is that it kept me reading despite the head-hopping, and the way the writing shows then tells the same thing that's just been shown. Frex, Richard tells a lame joke, then the narrator observes that Richard tells lame jokes.

With stronger writing to go with the bounce along story and great sibling conflict, this could be a winner.

(altho I don't think the boy would say "smell". Boys are more...graphic)

Natalia said...

I sense a more light-hearted Philip Pullman. Can't wait to buy this one.

Anonymous said...

My eight-year-old nephew, fourteen-year-old neighbor, and twenty-five-year-old coworker will all be very upset to learn people aren't named Timmy anymore. I'll have to let them know it's from back in the 50s.

(For the record, Timothy hasn't been out of the top 100 baby names, per social security's census, for more than 15 years. I hope we can all figure out that Timmy is a pet form of Timothy--and something little boys especially will be called until they're old enough to insist on Tim.

Anyway. I loved this one. I'm dying to know what happens next.

Anonymous said...

Far from being hokey, I thought that the "okey-dokey" just showed the father's desperation to make it seem that everything is ... dare I say "hunkey-dorey"? ... when it obviously isn't. He's trying too hard. Wonderful "showing" and not "telling."

Anonymous said...

This is excellent. I want to buy it! Yes, a few small problems but it reads just fine and has character. I hope it's as good as it promises to be.

Anonymous said...

I like it and would read it -and I'm a long way from 14! -JTC

chisem said...

I love talking dogs. Where is he?

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be a "Debbie Downer" (chuckles at old fashionedness) but I fail to see what's brilliant about this piece. Sorry writer, but nothing really, truly interesting appened. A kid wanted in to the bathroom. It's unclear what the other one was doing. Their father's a moron. MAKE us care!