Kaylee's Thoughts

Page One of My Novel

Hi, everyone! My awesome mother is hosting a page one critique on her blog in honor of her 200+ followers and a new author named Heather Burch. She just had her first book, Halflings, published. I saw at on the shelf for ‘New Top Teen Picks’ at Barnes and Noble yesterday! I can’t wait to read it! Mom said it was really good and she usually has good taste in books so I suggest everyone go out and buy a copy now (well, after you read my blog and leave a helpful comment of course). I wanted to play, so I started a new novel today. It is written for middle schoolers by a middle schooler:) The title is Untouchable.

Page One:

“Do I have to?” I asked. Well more like begged. I mean I didn’t want to be responsible for ending a life, even if it was just a cow. The India sun beats down upon us, a rooster too old to crow started running when he spied the shotgun on the nearby tree stump. I’m an untouchable. We do the jobs that ends lives [like fishing and slaughtering], sanitation work, dealing with meat eaters and worst of all, murdering cows then getting rid of them. So basically the jobs no one wants. Yeah, it’s officially outlawed to have untouchables in India now, but try telling that to our corner of the earth.

“Well it’s either the cow’s life or yours, Abhaya,” my older sister, Ramani, replied snappily. She’d been doing this for years now, and could honestly care less about the innocent little creatures. Of course, they’re not so little at seven hundred pounds. As long as it kept mom and dad in the house, for now anyway. Without Ramani’s help, my parents wouldn’t be able to keep the farm running. Yesterday was my twelfth birthday, no more easy chores around the house for me. Now I have to earn my keep.  “Here you go.” Ramani hands me the gun.  

I take it sadly. “Before he goes I would like to say a few words over him.” I gaze at Ramani for approval.

“Whatever Abhaya. But make it fast. After this we have to…you know…collect human waste while Mom and Dad hang the cow to bleed out.” She fake gags at the last part. Ignoring her, I start my speech.

 “We are gathered here today for the death and funeral of Bob the Cow.”

“Bob?” I glare at her. “Sorry! I’ll be quiet!”

“Bob was a good cow. He never did anything wrong. But sadly people had other ideas on his glorious life. Well I’m sorry Bob! When I kill you know that you will be reborn again. Maybe into a better life. If you do please help us. For we are the only ones who stood by you. Goodbye Bob.” Ramani watches me with fearful eyes as I fire a shot into his neck and cry. “Goodbye Bob.”

“Finally,” Ramani says acting annoyed even though I can tell she feels terrible. “Let’s go. The faster we finish the faster we go home.”

*Please, please, please with a cherry on top leave a comment! Thanks you:)

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Comments on: "Page One of My Novel" (12)

  1. Kaylee – Awesome! Wow – I wish I had your talent for writing when I was in middle school!

    This sounds like an incredible story – killing cows in India. I’m very interested in knowing where this story will go. Great dialogue.

    The only thing I’d suggest (and this comes from reading other people’s opinions when writing dialogue) is to watch the adverbs such as “snappily” and “sadly.” Instead, choose words that will convey this within the dialogue. (This is something I’m also working on.)

    You’re off to a great start! Good luck!

    And btw, I love your name! I have an 18-year-old daughter named Kaley. 🙂

  2. Hi, Kaylee *waving across the couch to you as you fill in your character grid* I love how you became so passionate about India after learning about the country is world history. I think if you follow through with it, your book could be like the MG/YA version of A Thousand Splendid Suns or The Kite Runner. I agree with the -ly adverbs. Adverbs shouldn’t describe your dialogue–its meaning & intensity should be contained within the exchange, not EXPLAINED in the attribution. The -ly adverbs are becoming obsolete in today’s fiction, which is hard to understand when we still read the classics by novice writers who added phrases like these all the time. Ah, but we must change with the times. I’d also try not to use parentheses if at all possible. And even though you are a naturally talented writer, I’d also check out some books on the craft of writing at the library if you are serious about writing this novel:) Good luck! I’m soooo prOUd of you!!

  3. Kim Jordan said:

    Wow! Always impressed by your personality in what you write. Your topic is interesting and I could tell that you must have learned something about India in school and were inspired. Although you may know about India now, your average reader may not, so don’t forget to keep weaving in background knowledge and keep your character relate-able to your target audience by showing the common characteristics that your fellow middle schoolers in America would have. You are on your way and you and Mom may be celebrating your published books one after the other, together. Congrats and good luck.

  4. Great job Kaylee! I have a question though, why to you have to go collect human waste? That part confused me. Keep on writing!

  5. Aunt Dee Dee said:

    Hmm, shows what I know about writing and books… I was impressed with your use of “snappily” (especially for a 6th grader) and gave me a vivid picture of the conversation between her and her sister. Can’t wait to read the rest!!! 🙂

  6. Wow, you did a great job with this!

    One thing confused me. You say that Ramani could honestly care less about the innocent little creatures but at the end you say she feels terrible. Does she feel terrible because of Abhaya having to kill the cow? Or because the cow is dead? I wasn’t sure about that part.

  7. Very nice first page! I’ve been interested in India since my ninth grade Global Studies class, and I love finding other writers who set some of their stories outside North America and Western Europe! The premise sounds very interesting.

    I don’t mind adverbs so much, so long as they’re not used every ten lines or something overkill like that. I’ve mostly read older books my whole life, so I’m used to adverbs being used to tell us about a tone of voice or how a character is feeling, instead of having to guess by using 5-10 extra words.

  8. Wow, this is some amazing subject matter. I love how they are untouchables doing all the dirty jobs, yet obviously Abhaya has a big heart and is a sweet girl. You’ve done a very good job connecting the reader to your underdog characters on the first page, which is crucial if you want to get published. Multi-cultural books are really popular, so kudos to you for tackling such an interesting subject.

    My advice is to watch your verb tenses. In the beginning you go from past to present tense and back a few times, which will confuse the reader. For action-heavy books (think Hunger Games) first person present tense works well, and for more literary works, it’s usually past tense. You want to stick with one or the other.

    Good luck and keep writing!!!

  9. Poor Bob the Cow. 😦 This is an interesting idea for a story, and super creative! I love your main character’s voice, and that she’s not afraid of her new job as an untouchable.

    As others have said, be careful of those verb tenses. Could ‘replied snappily’ become ‘snapped’ or ‘snaps’ (depending on the verb tense you choose) instead?

    I wish you the best of luck with all your writing! 😀

  10. This is really good. It’s sad with a little humor thrown in to. You really captured the main character’s personality and emotions. I just wanted to know a little more of her feelings and reactions at the end after killing the cow. Did the cow die instantly or struggle?

  11. I enjoyed reading a couple more of your chapters today, I think you have a good story line.
    Congratulations Kaylee, I am impressed with all of the people that have responded to your post so far with such good advice and encouragement. Love you!

  12. Your writing is incredible! I’m so impressed! You have great voice and I love the interaction between the two girls! Good luck 🙂

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