Title: The Day I Ruled the World
Word Count: 57,000
Genre: MG Fantasy
When twelve-year-old Teddy Bridwell gets caught practicing spells—instead of waiting until she’s thirteen like she was supposed to—she’s grounded and stuck doing inventory for her dad’s business.
That’s how she finds the enchanted barrette. When Teddy holds it, she can make people do anything she tells them to. For the first time in her life, she’s the one with the power.
But that power attracts the attention of a fanatic who looks like a knight out of a fairy tale and talks like he was sent by God. He wants to use the barrette to end all the pain and misery in the galaxy, even if human beings become mindless puppets in the process.
If Teddy destroys the barrette the wrong way, it will release the enchantment and let the bad guy claim it. So she’s playing “keep the barrette away from the crazy man” while she figures out the right way to un-make it. Now her shaky knowledge of magic and the stubbornness that’s gotten her into so much trouble are all that stands between humanity and slavery.
Maybe if she’d given the barrette to Mom and Dad as soon as she found it, none of this would have happened, but it’s too late for feeling bad. It’s time for Teddy to lace up her big girl shoes, fix the mess she’s made, and hopefully earn her parents’ trust.
First 250 words:
Spying is rude, and I would never, ever do it. Not without a good reason anyway, like needing to know if my parents suspected I'd been practicing spells in secret.
For Snooper's Delight, I needed a mirror, some magic, and a little privacy. Good thing I had my own bedroom, so I wouldn’t be interrupted by my bossy older sisters or nosy younger brothers.
I settled cross-legged on my bed, tugged on my pajama shorts to de-wedgie them, and balanced the mirror on my knee.
At six o’clock on a Saturday morning, Mom and Dad would be in the kitchen, eating breakfast alone and talking about stuff they didn’t want us to hear. That was the scene I had to picture to work the spell—the counter along the back wall and the big dining table surrounded by chairs. When the mental image was as clear as I could make it, I slid it into the mirror to replace the reflection. My brain relaxed, and I opened my eyes. There it was, a perfect picture of my parents with plates of eggs and glasses of juice set out on the table in front of them. I could practically smell the butter on the toast.
I had one second to enjoy my success before the side-effects hit me, the slam of crazy emotions that came with every spell. This time it was a wave of what-the-heck-does-this-have-to-do-with-anything sadness. Mean things people said to me years ago and disappointments I’d forgotten all about rolled in to drown me.
Entry Nickname: Girl Destroys World
Title: MAGICK 7.0
Word count: 85,000
Genre: MG Fantasy
There are two kinds of quests: the good kind and the bad kind. The good kind leads to pots of gold and unicorns and everlasting fame. The bad kind gets you and everyone you love killed. Horribly and painfully. Possibly by zombie sharks.
Fourteen-year-old Anne is leaving the orphanage she calls home to embark on a quest—and it isn’t the good kind. That’s what happens when you accidentally fulfill a prophecy. She could opt out, but then as per Paragraph 5 Subparagraph 3 of the Official Questing Regulations she’d be exiled forever and all of her friends would be tossed into a dungeon. But hey, at least she has options.
Slay a silver dragon that doesn’t exist (that’s bad).
In just three days (that’s worse).
With only the guidance of a wizard with a platypus for an arm and a sassy holographic sparrow (that downright sucks).
Oh yeah, and to top it all off, what Anne doesn’t know—what no one knows, in fact—is that finishing this quest doesn’t actually save the world. It destroys it (so, you know, not exactly environmentally-friendly).
If she uncovers the truth before it’s too late, she’ll be a HeroTM.
If she doesn’t, everyone dies (that also sucks).
First 250 words:
At Saint Lupin’s Institute for Perpetually Wicked and Hideously Unattractive Children they didn’t play favorites. Each orphan was treated with the same amount of disdain and neglect. They were provided with one threadbare tunic, one pair of ill-fitting shoes, and one dusty and moth-eaten overcoat. They were given a daily ration of gruel, and they were bathed exactly once per month, just before going on duty in the coal mine. This, incidentally, was consistent with the advice given in the popular self-help guide, How to Raise Orphans and Make Money.
There were three ways to leave Saint Lupin’s. The first was to get adopted. Perhaps by a nice family who would whisk you away to your long dreamed-of castle on a hill—one surrounded by forests and glens, filled with interesting and friendly people, rich with history and bright with promise and hope. The board of governors was extremely pleased with its track record in this regard as it had managed to prevent all adoptions since the Institute’s foundation.
The second way was to reach the age of fourteen and be unceremoniously kicked out on your bottom.
The third way was to embark upon a quest. Although quests were heavily regulated (so they could then be heavily taxed), there were no restrictions regarding age or background and thus anyone could apply. The secret to a successful application was first to fulfill a prophecy (also heavily taxed). At Saint Lupin’s, both of these topics, that is, quests and prophecies, were considered particularly taboo subjects of inquiry.