HH Com Rd 2 - 43 (565)

Hook here

I was just bored, is all. Who'd have thought that would be the start of so much carrying-on?

(start here)
Mom yelled up the basement steps at me. "Lulie, yes. I know you're bored. You only told me that five hundred times already today." Sounded like she'd had to unclench her teeth to say that much. "What'd I tell you the other four hundred and ninety-nine times?"

I sighed. No use getting smart-alecky. "You said to find something to do or you'll put me to work." Well, she couldn't see me roll my eyes from where she was.

Shoot. Rain shouldn't fall on Sundays; not this kind that never lets up. It flowed in sheets off the roof. Ought to be called gloom, not just rain. Or grouch. It was grouching hard out there. We got four inches of grouch in the last hour.

I took a running start so I could skid down the hall in my stocking-feet. With just the right body English, I zoomed across the wood floor and swerved into my bedroom in one long slide, stopping when I plowed into the braided rug by my bed.

Yes! (And the crowd went wild. Yay.)


Click, click... clink.

There was that funny sound again. Always quit before I could pin it down. But this time I was bored enough to stand in the middle of my room and listen.

Of course I heard rain. Pounding the roof, pouring through downspouts, gurgling over the curb. And traffic splashing; car horns honking; a police siren wailing. Dogs barking. The dryer's hum, the furnace blowing warm air.

Ah! I pounced on the heat vent in the floor. Click... clink, clink. Jamming my fingertips into the slots of the grate, I lifted it up and out. Whatever made the rattling was down in the vent, blowing around when the furnace came on.

Ew--a wad of petrified gum in an old wrapper. My purple pencil with the fuzz-ball topper; wondered where that'd gone. Lots of dust. Maybe I should've swept more often. Hmm, maybe not.

The furnace fan shut off, and the clinking stopped. I poked at the junk in the vent. What was that, a button? Yes. No. Well, hey! I fished the thing out with my pencil and blew a little dust off, and there it was: a ring, small and silver with lacey holes through it and a smooth, milky-white stone.

I'd never seen it before in my whole entire life.

Things were looking up. I took the ring to the bathroom sink to rinse it off. As I rubbed with my thumb at a smudge on the stone, I said, "Hot dog. Now if only it would stop raining." Don't know why I said it out loud.

But right then, exactly then, the rain stopped cold. Just like that.

I laughed so hard I snorted.

Mom called up from the basement. "What's going on?"

"Oh, nothing. I just made a wish and it came true."

"Uh huh. Well, how about you wish this laundry would be done?"

"All righty then!" I rubbed the stone again, grinning. "I wish Mom didn't have to do all that laundry today."

So. The power went out. "Oh, for goodness sake," came Mom's voice.

Whoa. I dropped the ring in the dark and had to squat down to pat the fuzzy bathroom rug until I found it. I didn't stop to think. I just quick rubbed the stone again and said, "Make the power come back on." Then, for good measure, "I take back what I said about the laundry, okay?" Well, I didn't want the washing machine to blow up or something.

I waited. Nothing happened. A breath I didn't even know I'd been holding whistled its way out, and I headed for my room.

That's when the lights came back on.

Okay, so, rainstorm, wet power lines, rolling blackouts; I remembered the weather report on TV.

Still. My bookshelves were full of books where some kid found magical stuff or went through a doorway into another world or woke up with special powers. I knew none of that was real. I knew I wanted it to be, but it just plain wasn't.

I set the ring on the corner of my desk. Then I sat myself down on the edge of my bed and stared at it. And just about fell on the floor when the phone rang.

take out the "I don't know why I said it outloud". Start at "start here".

Then you have perfection on toast points.

This is great.

I love this.

I have no clue if it's the most overused trope in the world, but I think the writing is vivid, fun and energetic. Now give me my ring back.


alternatefish said...

Good tone, but this idea has been done before. (Half Magic springs directly to mind) Not so much that it couldn't be done again, though. Your hook indicates a new path for the "magical wish-granting object" story, and as long as you keep the sharp and clever tone this will be a fun read.

(And the crowd went wild. Yay.)

Heidi the Hick said...

That paragraph about the rain was KILLER GOOD!

Inkwolf said...

Enjoyable reading so far...but absolute power seems to have fallen into the kid's hands WAY too easily. I hope that means that there's going to be some major, major trouble looming ahead, apart from the wish-your-brother-was-never-born sort.

A short story I once read comes to mind, where a man found something under his bed which seemed to grant wishes but turned out to be a sort of magical credit card...and he owed for a LOT of purchases by then.

Anonymous said...

I love reading stories about this kind of wish-fulfillment stuff. And "Half Magic" was set in an Edwardian world, right? A modern take on that is new and fresh, in my opinion.

jeanne said...

But Half Magic is to a different age group. Amazon says grades 2 to 4. This sounds YA. Love it. I

the grateful author said...

Thank you, thank you, Miss Snark--for your kind words, and for running this huge, amazing crapometer. I'm learning so much.

The only thing I've ever had on toast points was creamed chipped beef. I like your idea better.

Oh, and I will give your ring back, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I think I'd better tell you all that the ring is just a ring. The genre is contemporary-realistic, not fantasy. There's no magic. Lulie, and perhaps the reader, won't be sure of that until the end, though.

I'm hoping that this twist is what will help the book rise above "overused trope." We'll see...


kch said...

Congratulations, author.
"Perfection on toast points." You either have to be a damn good writer or have a magic ring that grants wishes or something to get a review like that.

The idea's been done before, but so what. It's a universal fantasy kids (and adults) will never tire of. It's all in the execution, and you don't seem to have a problem in that area. Great job.

Virginia Miss said...

Readable, flows well. Good voice.

I love "ought to be called gloom...Or grouch. It was grouching hard out there."


Zuleme said...

Yes the kid finds magic thing has been done before, even the narrator says her shelves are full of books like that.
But I don't think anyone is tired of the idea if it is done well.
The hook promised this would be funny. Funny is good.
I liked it, though I like to see some description coming along shortly so I can imagine who the character is and where they are. I would read this.

Three Cheers said...

This works for me because the character is LIKEABLE. She's curious, has a sense of adventure/discovery and doesn't want bad things to happen, ("Well, I didn't want the washing machine to blow up or something")

Good luck.

skybluepinkrose said...

Good voice! I like this, and the rain paragraph really lures me forward. Precisely because the protag taps into absolute power so early, I'm sure there's plenty of trouble on its way. And/or downsides to wishing that he doesn't know about. The perfect answer to boredom has just fallen into his lap, and I'm guessing the rest of the novel is about proving it's not that easy.

Anonymous said...

To the grateful author:

If I were reading the book as a child and found at the end that there was no magic, I'd be pissed. I'd want my money back. The writing's good, but... Make sure it's not marketed as fantasy, then.

writtenwyrdd said...

This is a really good beginning, even if the trope has been used a zillion times. People will keep buying these stories because we all want it to be true, just like the kid.

I would expect this to sell quickly, if you write the rest of the book as well as the beginning. Good luck!

desert snarkling said...

I like that in the end the ring is just a ring ... pulls it right out of cliche after all. :-)

Someone said this sounds like YA ... but it seems solidly middle grade to me, FWIW.

Leah said...

I'd be pretty disappointed when I found out there's no magic in this book. There's already not enough magic in life.

McKoala said...

I like the sound of the twist. I like the sound of how this is going too.

Anonymous said...

I too was slightly disappointed to learn that there was no magic involved. I love magic. But then I thought about it a little more. If in the end there is a moral implied (like "magic" and talismans are not necessary; it's the choices we make in life that make our wishes come true, etc., etc.), it might be a good thing - especially for this age group.

I LOVED this idea. Terrific writing, great momentum. I'd love to read more, and would definitely pass it on to my kids. Author: Keep up the fantastic work, and best wishes to you!

Anonymous said...

I liked the first line. Usually I agree with MS's cuts, but that one would stay for me.

Anonymous said...

Oh I like the no-magic twist at the end. Hopefully, by then we'll be so invested in the characters and the real-life things she has been trying to manipulate with the ring, that we'll care more about those things and how they turn out than about how they turn out that way.

Anonymous said...

what do you mean, your ring?

I thought this was really good, nice writing, very vivid. I think any kid would love a story about a magic ring...& at least it doesn't come attached to a Hobbit and turn you invisible.


skybluepinkrose said...

The term "YA" is being slung around these days to mean "any novel younger than adult." But desert snarkling is right, this is MG.

ec said...

Very nice. One minor comment: remove the bit about "letting out a breath she didn't realize she'd been holding." It's a good way to depict a particular sense of tension; but it has been used A LOT. It feels too familiar, like describing a character by having them look in a mirror and ponder what they see.

Clarice Snarkling said...

From someone who has read a LOT of YA and MG, you've definitely nailed the proper voice for MG, and you have me really liking the character, too. Nice work, author.

ello said...

I don't care that this idea has been done before, I love this author's voice! Great writing! I really love your style.

Good luck to you, author!