Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May Secret Agent #22

TITLE: Guzzy Goofball and the Homeschool Play from Outer Space
GENRE: MG Contemporary Humor

I don't know what my parents were thinking. Who in their right minds names an innocent little baby boy, Guzman Reginald Guferntible IV? Or rather, what was great-great grandpa Guferntible thinking?

I know from family stories that Great-Grandpa Guzman didn't mind. In the early 20th century, a lot of people had strange names. My grandpa goes by his middle name, Reg, and avoids the whole Guzman issue. Dad, though he's technically the third, tried to go by Junior. Somewhere along the way that morphed into J.R. and Mom changed it into Jer (rhymes with air). Me? Around three or four, I decided I would try the sophisticated approach and called myself Guzman. (It was better than being called Little Manny by my mom.) But after the third trip to the emergency room, my friends decided Guzzy fit me better. And when Shriek's little sister couldn't pronounce Guferntible and introduced me as Guzzy Goofball, it stuck. Much like the once-pink gum permanently attached to the bottom of my favorite sneaker.

Shriek, my best friend and fellow homeschooler, lives down the block with her six assorted siblings. She's third in the stacking and the same age as me. As the only homeschoolers in our neighborhood and on the same street, no less, we've been friends since we didn't head off to kindergarten. It's easy to tell a homeschool kid once school is in session.

20 comments:

L.J. Boldyrev said...

Quite a bit of back story, but it's funny and I love the voice. Hooked!

Creepy Query Girl said...

I enjoyed this. The voice is immediately present, the character likeable and the backstory was quirky and made me want to read on.

Raven said...

Great read. Lots of backstory but because it was seasoned with plenty of humour and interesting info, I kept reading - and would keep doing so!

bfav said...

I like your homeschool angle. The voice is strong--I would keep reading. I agree with the above, watch your backstory. It's so hard on a first page in first person. I would suggest starting where the action starts and then inject this info when the MC's name first comes up or when you first meet Shriek. (That's a nickname, right?) Great job. Good luck.

Miriam said...

I like the humorous voice and the homeschool angle. There's a nice natural flow to the writing.

I think there's too much backstory about the name for the second paragraph- maybe that could be worked in later. Also, I was wondering why his friends thought "Guzzy" fit him better after 3 trips to the emergency room. Maybe I'm dense but I missed the connection there, and was trying to figure out if it had something to do with guzzling something poisonous that put him in the hospital.

Also- I'm curious about how old the MC is- instead of saying "she's the same age as me", I'd state the age.

Otherwise, I think you're off to a great start. Love the title!

melodycolleen said...

I really like the voice in this and I like the humor. Some of it went over my head, though. I'm not sure about the comment regarding the emergency room. I didn't get how that connected with his name. Sorry.

I'm a little confused where the conflict is going to fall. Is it in his name, or the fact that he's homeschooled, or something else? I realize 250 words isn't much, but I'd like to have a hint at it.

good luck with this.

Michelle said...

Agree with the above comments. Great, fun voice. Especially love the part about "in the stacking" and being friends since they didn't head off to kindergarten. Jump into the action a little sooner and you're off to a great start. As a homeschooling mom of a large family, I can appreciate this!

Sarah Erber said...

Cute!

Good luck with SA!

SuzanneWrites said...

I like the voice and the humor. Would love to read more. And the Title is a real eye-catcher! Great work. :)

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Great Title for MG and fun voice. I did wonder, though, why the name didn't die out if the grandfather went by Reg and not Guzman. Why would he name his son that then? And why did Guzzy's father give him the name if he didn't like it himself. But that's not really important, so I'd let it slide.

It sounds like a fun book I'd give my son to read.

Desirae said...

I totally agree with the comments above. The voice flows naturally and the MC is immediately likeable. I would turn the page!
Good luck!

Jenny Barker said...

This is a great one. I really felt the voice and loved the style. Great job! You have a fantastic story!

Michael said...

I like the voice very much. That's sometimes one of the most difficult elements to infuse, and I think you've got it covered.

duwarr said...

I love the title. But, I agree with the previous comments about the excess backstory. All of the information in your opening could (I'm assuming) be redistributed to other parts of the narrative so that it doesn't just show up all in one big lump. There's no action here.

That being said, I really enjoyed the voice and would keep reading to see what happens.

Kelly Hashway said...

Very funny. I love the MC and I'm hooked.

Laura P. said...

Great title, it would make me pick up the book. I love your voice, and love that it's a male protagonist. I really want to jump right in the story because this sounds like a funny kid. But, instead we learn about his name. Even though it's a cute story about the name, I want to hear about it later not in the very beginning.

MS Winchell said...

I agree with the previous comment. The name thing is funny and cute, but why do we care about him enough to read on? Based on this first page, I'd assume every new character would have a paragraph or two about name, position in sibling order, ancestry, and such.

Sorry, not hooked.

Barbara said...

I'm with MS Winchell. You have a great voice here, but that's all there is. Nothing happened. Guzmann told us how he got his name and introduced a friend.

What's the story about? What's the problem? You never get into it. What do I know about Guzmann besides his name? He's home schooled and has a friend the same age. What age is that? I don't know.

What's the event that makes this story interesting/worth telling? That's where you need to start. And don't have your MC talk to the reader. We're supposed to be in his world, getting involved in his life. Why is he entering my world?

Too Cute to be Very Interesting said...

I love the line "we've been friends since we didn't head off to kindergarten."

I think there is WAY too much going on with the descriptions of the names though. I found myself starting to skim, and that's not good when you're only on the second paragraph of a book.

Secret Agent said...

Love the voice and wit, but I'd rather start in some type of action. I'd keep reading, though.