HH Com 540

Have you ever wished to be locked in the library overnight? Madeline did more than dream about it. All she wanted was a night of reading, unhampered by the library's stingy two-books-per-child limit.

But she's caught by the horrid Night Librarian, and she's doomed. Nothing could have prepared Madeline for the horrors of the Book Mines, the dismal place where children go who shout and run in the library, who color inside the books and tear out pages, or who are caught after hours. From the moment she is put in chains, Madeline plots to escape, and to take the
other children with her, some of whom have been digging for thousands of years.

But first she must outwit the Night Librarian, her Trolls, and the fearsome and mysterious Head Librarian, whose shelves are filled, not with books, but with human heads!

Well... "thousands of years" is a bit too much library paste sniffing because of course we all know when bound books were developed.

The problem here is that there's not enough humor. For something like this to NOT scare the pants off wayward young library users, it has to have an element of humor. Sardonic humor works fine (Lemony Snicket is the best example) but there has to be humor. You'll get closer to that if you put it all in Madelines' POV: Madeline dreamed of.


Shannon said...

For creepy kids fic, you should also read Coraline by Neil Gaiman. It seems to have a similar "feeling," with this idea of an alternatively horrifying world. Otherwise, a great idea! Of course, so long as it doesn't involve actually scaring off kids from the library. I know that even as an adult, I'd probably read that, since I was that girl not so long ago.

xiqay said...

This would make a lovely picture book!

I Said said...

I love the idea--work on the presentation hook because I'd like to see this work.

Twill said...

Love it. What are they digging up?

Auntie Penultimate said...

I'd like to see this work, too. It's a neat idea. (And I was even accidentally locked in a library once, though I got out long before any Library Trolls found me. It is, in fact, a scary experience.)

Anonymous said...

Um, libraries are a big market for children's books. And librarians review and select the books that go into them. And some of us have enough trouble living down the shushy-bunhead-in-sensible-shoes sterotype as it is, let alone the stigma of head-hunting or child labor exploitation.

My professional life is spent encouraging children to love reading and the library. You want me to hand them a book that makes them afraid of me. Very afraid.

It might just work.

Seriously, if this is done well, (i.e., with *lots* of humor as Miss Snark suggests) librarians will love it. If this is done poorly, librarians will hate it and you. You be made to dig for a thousand years with a nothing but a stub of golf pencil. Muhahaha.

Good luck,
The Serial Librarian

Anonymous said...

If a good book consists of a good execution of a good idea, you've certainly got a good idea.

A Paperback Writer said...

I like it. I agree with Shannon; it's rather Gaimanesque. But do be careful with the name Madeline in a book for small children. It's obviously already famous. Perhaps Maddy?

Kiki said...

I didn't have a problem with thousands of years. Library of Alexandira, anyone?

I really like the idea of a place where all those little devils who defile library books go. I'd want to read it. In a library. in the kids' section. Laughing maniacally.

But I agree with MS. I hope it's got sardonic humour.

Anonymous said...

Actually, they did have bound books 2000 years ago -- though not children's libraries. Still, there could be kids who stole a papyrus scroll, maybe, or interrupted the village storyteller at work --

pws said...

The idea is interesting, takes me back to King's "The Library Policeman". Miss Snark is right in that the hook would be better with different POV.

Impy said...

When I was a little girl, my Girl Scouts troop held an overnight in the local library. If you think it's quiet during the day, you should try one at 3 in the morning. The abandoned stacks are pretty creepy, I'll freely admit.

I didn't sleep, obviously. Completely aside from the fact it was a slumber party and the dark library was creepy, who can sleep surrounded by books they've never read?

skybluepinkrose said...

Have I EVER wished to be locked in the library overnight? Author, I'm yours.

The thing is, if you visit the kids' department today, especially during story hour, there's a lot more shouting, running and coloring than there used to be. Maybe not the tearing.:) Nor are there book limits anymore and there haven't been for thirty years, at least not where I live. I don't quite believe the fantasy aspect of your story, because it seems to be spoofing the strictness of a past era, not this era.

While I agree that sardonic humor would help the salability of this, I have to weigh in as one who HATES the Lemony Snicket books. Still, regardless of what you plan to do, I'll pick up this book on the strength of the first line alone.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the comments!

I sent this in as a second hook, never received a number for it, and assumed it got lost. Considering Miss Snark got buried in submissions, I didn't fuss about it, and was quite surprised to see it actually appear.

This is a book that I have actually only started writing. It is intended to have a lot of humor in it, and I see that I will have to make it clear in the hook, when I'm ready to actually submit.

Twill, they are digging up stories.

Anonymous the Librariian, don't worry, there are GOOD librarians in the book, too.

Skybluepinkrose, Lord, I know what the children's section sounds like these days! Why do you think I'm fantasizing about shipping kids off to the book mines? But I do know that they have low check-out limits in some libraries, because people have told me so. And new patrons are constantly asking me how many books they are allowed to check out, as they stand there with their pitiful three paperbacks. (Our library's limit is 75, thank goodness. Nobody but me has exceeded it yet!)