HH Com 187

Puppy MacClarity spent most of the last school year wishing his teacher, Miss Pritchett, would get hit by a cement truck or be rendered speechless by an incurable disease. He never imagined that by the end of the summer he’d save her life, on purpose.

Rumors have surrounded the MacClarity summer house since the Ernest MacClarity bought it in 1910. Uninvited strangers come to sticky ends and kids tend to have accidents if they leave the property when they shouldn’t. At first, Puppy doesn’t realize something’s different at his haven. All the right ingredients are there: his friends, his family, freedom and food, but the security Puppy expects to find doesn’t materialize. A llama spits on him so much, he can’t get the stink off. Then she starts stalking him and chasing him over the property line. A stranger comes onto Ernest’s land and survives, and Puppy discovers Miss Pritchett living a mile away. It’s too good an opportunity for the kids to pass up. She doesn’t know they’re her neighbors, so she can be tormented anonymously. Puppy’s all for driving Miss Pritchett crazy until he sees she’s in trouble. No one but Puppy seems to notice or care that the nasty Miss Pritchett has problems too or that they’re making them worse. Yet the two of them are on a set course and Puppy can’t change it. Soon he finds that, like Miss Pritchett, evil is just a short walk away and it likes to travel.

good first paragraph, great last line in the second paragraph. Everything in between is blather.


All the house story is back story. Focus on Puppy and Miss Pritchett and their conflict. If that isn't what the story is about, figure out what it is about and focus on that.


Anonymous said...

I don't get why Puppy is living at Ernest's house in the first place. Too much of this seems unconnected and just doesn't make logical sense.


Writerious said...

If the book is written like the first paragraph, I'd read it.

December Quinn said...

Lost me at "llama."

I was thinking, "Awesome! I love haunted house books! And this one sounds good and scary!"

Then I saw the spitting llama and the unwashable stink, and that was it.

Inkwolf said...

I'd read this.

Since Puppy's possessed-house problem is explained, thoguh, I'd like to hear what troubles Mrs. Pritchett is having, and if they're equally myterious.

Hypergraphia said...

You had me at the first paragraph, and I wouldn't need anything after that. It was hook enough for me. The rest seems a bit discombobulated, though you have the talent to work through that. I would read this. Good luck!

Rei said...


As best as I can tell, when Miss Snark says "blather", it means "things that happen but are unimportant to the overarching story". You have a lot of that in your hook.

skybluepinkrose said...

I'd read this, but I'd like to hear more about the action -- what happens next -- instead of the situation -- how things are now. Ditto that we need more about the teacher's problems and how hers and Puppy's dovetail. I'd also like to know why he's named Puppy. I could see Richard Peck fans being interested in this story.

McKoala said...

Puppy MacClarity is a great name. But they'd be the oddest family in town if they didn't realise that sticky ends for more than one univited stranger didn't add up to something weird or spooky and flog the place.

xiqay said...

I liked the first paragraph, too. But like December Quinn, I got lost at llama. I found the story disintegrating before me.

Good luck getting back to the mojo of paragraph 1.