Thursday, May 12, 2011

First Page Critique: A Middle-Grade Novel in Verse

This weeks critique is a middle grade novel in verse, currently titled "tilt." Study it today and come back tomorrow to see my feedback.

I’ve kept notebooks
forever. Mom has all of them
in a box somewhere.
Each filled with thoughts, ideas and drawings.
My current notebook is
dedicated to Jackson
It has all the poems
I’ve written about my friend.
I started writing about
Jackson the first summer he was gone
I wanted to remember everything
about him, every last
detail. Even when I didn’t stay.

Rhymes With
Dad’s expression for
the changing course
of an event.
Kinda like playing pinball
if you’re clever
you can “tilt” the game
and if not, game over.

Tilt is also
like the carnival
“tilt-a-whirl” that
spins you round
until you become dizzy,
like I did
that spring night two years ago.
Also rhymes with guilt.

Walking Home
School’s almost out
jump and shout
School’s almost out
Jumping and shouting all the way.
Only seventeen more walks?
Until elementary school is over
a summer to get
ready for middle school
Big changes ahead
Am I ready? No.
I’m already worried about that
first day.
Will I get lost? Will the older
kids be mean?
And my best friend from elementary school
wont’ be there.
I round the corner and there
in front of me, lips curled, head low, ears back,
a huge dog
blocks my path.

Run. No, wait.
Think, Darrah, think
What did that lady say?
Be a log? No, a tree. Close my eyes?

I stop. Drop my pack.
Whisper: Freeze, Darrah, freeze.
Dare to glance down,
see that dog through buttonhole eyes.

Dog sniffs my backpack,
my shoelaces.
Does it smell fear?
Can it tell I’m shaking?

Dog turns its head, sees the
cat teetering on the fence
bolts after it.

Puzzle Solver
I run home
through the front door, out the back door to
my trampoline, the puzzle solver!
Whoosh, plop! Whoosh, plop. Up. Down.

Knees bent, pushing off
I feel the last of the fear
dissolve. I wonder, whose dog?
Whoosh, plop! Whoosh, plop! Up. Down.

Did those people
adopt another dog?
How could they? Why would they?
Whoosh, plop! Whoosh, plop! Up. Down.

I wonder Jackson,
Do you have dogs with you
wherever you are.
Whoosh, plop! Whoosh, plop! Up. Down.

I wonder, Jackson,
were you with me today?
did you see that dog,
did you feel my fear?

Mischief Ninja

Mom yells
Darrah, getting dark out.
Yeah, okay, I yell back.
I whisper to the first glimmering star in the tangerine sky
Good-night Jackson.
Yep, I admit it. I talk to Jackson a lot.
He’s everywhere; apple tree tops,
tetherball, in class.
But last spring was different.
Clouds hung like funeral drapes,
my mom says we could cut the air with
a knife it was so still.
Stars vanished.
You see, my best friend
My mischief ninja:

No comments:

Post a Comment