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April 2008 Mommacrit

The Legend of Koolura- partial segment of Chapter I: 461 words

Author: M. Thal

Genre: Young Adult Fiction




Crack! Wood collided with rawhide.  Koolura Akopyan glanced up to see a few boys playing baseball. 


A boy wearing a blue Dodger cap waved, “Hey! Koolura, what’s up?”


She raised her arm above her head and slapped the brisk autumn air.  “Hey! Stephan.” Then she looked at the horizon, west toward Santa Monica Beach. A gray cloud hung over the city. She breathed deeply and scanned Oceanview Park. The mountain top woodland park overlooked Bethune Elementary School. Bike paths twisted and looped around trees and boulders.


Linda and her gang hadn’t shown up yet. Koolura and her black Labrador, Keli, made their way along the paved path into a thickly wooded area of the park. Keli trotted next to Koolura almost reaching her waistline. The maroon nylon leash connected the dog to Koolura. 


“Didn’t Linda say she’d meet me around here, girl?” The canopy of leaves blocked the daylight.  “Karim would like this place. It’s spooky.”  Hairs on the back of her neck bristled. 


Keli pulled the leash taut and growled.


“Come on girl, let’s get out of here.” Koolura took larger, quicker steps as if the boogieman chased her.


             From behind lush shrubbery three girls leaped. Keli barked and yanked at her leash.  Koolura stumbled and fell on the concrete. Blood spilled from a gash in her knee.


            Keli barked again. Her eyes red and her bared teeth looked like a wolf’s.  


            Koolura tugged on the leash and got to her feet. “Are you guys crazy? This dog could rip you to shreds.”


            “We’re sorry,” Linda sang out. She brushed her hair from her brown eyes. Her lip twisted to a sneer.  “Can’t you take a joke?”  She wore cutoff jeans and a red T-shirt.  The front of the shirt showed the mocking mouth of a rock star.


            “Is that what this is all about?” Koolura glared at Linda.  “You trying to make me the butt of your jokes in front of your friends?” 


            The shorter of the two girls blushed bright pink and fixed her eyes at her shoes.  The taller one appeared like a high school student. She wore tight shorts and carried a leather purse on her shoulder.


            “Stop trying to take over all the kids in school.  I’m warning you.” Linda’s hands balled into fists, her pug nose red.              


             “Yeah!  Go girl!” The tall girl goaded; her purse fell to the ground.  “That’s telling her.”


            “Come on!  Ani, Margaret, let’s go.”


             The trio ran, swinging their arms in the air as if they were on a roller coaster at Magic Mountain.  And their laughter sounded like primates at Griffith Park Zoo.


            Koolura watched them with her mouth hanging open. She pulled her hair into a tight braid and let go. Nasty little monkeys.



Reaction from Mommacrit


First off, has M.Thal followed the guidelines?


“Send Mommacrit the first page of your story or novel. It must be less than 501 words. Label it clearly with its title, your name or a nom-de-plume, and its genre.”


No slush pile for M.Thal. We even read that the 461 words is a partial segment of a longer work. (What is a partial segment anyway? Could it be the opposite of an entire whole?) 


Does M.Thal push Mommacrit’s magic button? Does M.Thal write a damn good beginning and hook Momma into wanting to read more?




Put yourself in the Momma’s Jimmy Choos. The Momma comes home after a tired day at the office, pours an Econosized Pinot Grigio, and waits to escape the tedium of life with a new story. The fact that M.Thal included a genre makes the Momma feel all warm and fuzzy. YA works for the Momma, who is scarcely out of her teens.


A couple of glugs of Grino Pigio and the Momma is all fuzz and warmy. Her eyes wander down the overly written page. Action? Okay. Hmm, next paragraph reads like a travel commentary. More action but again, too many words. Oh, the unpronounceable protag falls down. Blood comes. Yawn. The mean monkey kids run off. Zzzzz.


See, if the Momma wants a boring story with very little point to it, she has her own life. A hook is supposed to take the Momma away from tedium, intrigue her and make her want more. Hooks grab a Momma by the throat and shout READ ME!


The Deception didn’t do it.