I am back in the query trenches. Wish me luck!
My latest novel is another middle grade fantasy, but very different than Danger Tastes Dreadful. I like to think of it as a middle-grade Into the Woodsmeets War of the Worlds. While my debut novel was more straightforward and usually termed "lower middle grade", this novel is longer, more sophisticated, and uses an unusual narrative structure. With seven embedded original fairy tales (one is a classic fairy tale retold from a very different POV), a three part structure that echoes how classic fairy tales unfold, and a slew of literary and pop culture fairy tale references, this novel is funny, sweet, and ardently pro-consent. Told in first person present from the point of view of a quiet boy surrounded by strong girls and women, this turns many fairy tale tropes on their heads without ever sacrificing the compelling narrative that drives him forward.
With lots of help from critique partners and beta readers, this has been polished and strengthened to the point where I am ready to send it out to agents and see how it goes. Will I stop tweaking and rewriting? Probably not, especially as a couple of straggler beta readers may come up with new suggestions. But as self-critical as I can be, I am comfortable releasing my baby to the publishing world. It is always a leap of faith, but eventually you have to either leap or stay glued to the cliff.
Because there are several important witches in this novel, I include here a witchy poem, this one published in Feathertale in 2010.
Wicked Witch's Lament
Sitting in my castle gloomy,
Feeling old and rather rheumy,
Thinking of the peasants beaten,
Scrumptious children I have eaten,
Nothing evil left to do or see.
Getting old (two hundred eighty),
Every sagging bit more weighty,
Worst of all, I'm oh so smelly
Covered in bat guts, newt jelly,
A shame a bath would spell catastrophe.
Centuries of grime so sickly,
Crawling bugs make me feel tickly,
Thoughts of bathing drive me crazy,
Air around me dank and hazy,
Could a bit of water dangerous be?
Tempting thoughts of one good washing,
Dreaming of the soapy sloshing.
Dive into a bath all bubbly,
Never more to feel so troubly;
Cloak and broomstick all that's left of me.
Copyright © 2019 Ben Langhinrichs