Sunday, May 30, 2010

Who the Heck is Roald Dahl?

Hopefully you made it past my subject line, because I'm totally kidding. OF COURSE I know who Roald Dahl is. That's why I was so delighted when my critique partner said that my writing reminded her of his work.

My mom and I read all of his books together. Of course we read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I suppose that's probably his best known work. But our two favorites were James and the Giant Peach and, in very first place, Danny the Champion of the World. My mom really liked the social commentary in those books. I liked the fantastical elements of living inside a giant peach with the larger than life bugs, and I also liked the wickedness of James' aunts. I could really root for him to get away from those women. In Danny the Champion of the World, I loved how clever Danny was. I still have the most vivid mental images from that book, of Danny being bathed in a wooden tub, standing up, so that he doesn't have to sit in his own dirty water. (I think that was before I had ever even heard of a shower, so the idea of standing up in the bathtub was really shocking - and appealing - to me.) I can also picture those plump, drugged raisins, and Danny's father, injured down in the hole.

Gosh, now that I'm writing this post I realize just how much of those stories stuck with me. Even more than the E.B. White classics, and certainly more than Dr. Zhivago, which my mother (notice how I refer to her as my *mother* at this point) tried to read to my brother and I when we were, like, five and six respectively. We were so mad at her, because we fell asleep within the first couple paragraphs, that book was so boring. (As an adult, I watched the movie, and I was still bored to tears. And guess who got me the movie for Christmas? Yes. My *mother.*)

But usually my mom read us good stuff, and the Roald Dahl's were some of my very favorites. To have my critique partner say that my writing reminded her of him was a very, very great compliment indeed.

For more on Roald Dahl, his website can be found here:

Have a lovely evening everyone!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

World, Meet Destiny's Minions

Welcome to Destiny's Minons, the blog for my middle grade novel. I'm currently querying agents, and hope to find a good home for the novel soon! As my very first post, please enjoy my query letter!

Thirteen year old Owen Blackler has never made any secret of the fact that he hates the whole idea of destiny. That’s too bad, because Destiny is the headmistress at Holliday Academy, Owen’s new school, and she doesn’t like him much either.

At Holliday Academy, Destiny and her four fellow entities use childhood beliefs to accomplish their earthly work. Santa and The Easter Bunny work alongside The Boogeyman, The Grim Reaper, and other “minions.” Owen and his classmates are the assistants to these minions, doing grunt work like egg prep, hunt organization, and keeping the scything fields tidy.

Owen’s shocked when he’s selected to join Ivory dorm as an assistant to the Tooth Fairy. He doesn’t seem to have any special skills, and he’s stuck in classes like Remedial Stealth and Sales and Marketing. Unlike his fellow assistants, he may never smell the sweet scent of enamel under a sleeping child’s pillow. But Owen’s problems pale in comparison when his new friend Alex gets the worst news ever. Alex has been selected to assist Bloody Mary, the most horrible minion at the school. His job – leaping out of mirrors and driving young girls insane – is so awful that Alex decides to run away.

But running away is treason, and Destiny’s verdict is harsh. When Destiny discovers Alex is missing, Owen and his small band of friends must race to thwart Destiny, using the skills they’ve learned at school to save Alex’s life.

I’m a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association. Destiny’s Minions, a middle grade novel, is complete at 45,000 words and ready to be submitted upon your request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Penelope Wright