Monday, August 5, 2013

first impressions - MONSTER TOWN

Today for first impressions we have Garrett Vander Leun witht he first page of his MG tale, MONSTER TOWN. You can find him on twitter @TheMannyPoppins or at My comments will be in purple, and if you have a moment, go see what Dianne Salerni had to say about this first page.


Chapter One

Vampire, on the roof, freaking out in a beach chair.  Other kids had alarm clocks, I had my dad.
That was the first part, the little scoot-back.  He'd be chanting or yodeling or whatever he did while he meditated on the roof, and then the sun would sneak up on his little, grey toes. Ick! But I love the description!
That's how I woke up every single morning.  To Tthe sound of him scooting away.  A sound like the blade of a clumsy knife screeching across a plate.  Like an idiot vampire who should have known better. lol
It sounded like thunder when the sun put a little sizzle in his shorts and he fell over backwards. It shook the walls and rocked my mattress and absolutely guaranteed I was done sleeping.  I'd just lay there with my hands lumped into fists and wait for the rest to happen.  On the morning of my thirteenth birthday, the vampire (since we've established that this is his dad, I might say: On the morning of my thirteenth birthday, my dad the vampire...) jumped off my roof like a man on fire.  To be fair, he probably was.  When he sprung off the shingles, little white bits of ceiling sprinkled into my hair just like parmesan cheese on spaghetti. 
He came down in the bushes outside my window and snapped and crackled his way out of anything left standing.  The way his hands fumbled along the outside wall sounded like trouble.
I shook my curls out and kicked my sheets off and reminded my legs how to walk as I pin-balled down the hallway.  I couldn't remember if I'd left the sliding glass door open or not and those kind of things matter to vampires running away from the sun.
The sliding door was open, but the screen door was not.  My dad dove right through it, head first. 
“Congratulations, Dad - you're on fire.  Again.”  His hands looked like candles; I wondered what kind of wish I would get if I blew them out.  Maybe I'd woosh all the other monsters I had to live with right out of existence. OMG! You mean there's more?!
The kitchen sink wasn't too far away and the hose on the faucet (love this detail. It tells me that there's a hose attached to the faucet FOR A REASON) might have reached.  A cup of water definitely would have.  I crossed my arms and watched the human torch dance instead.  He'd heal eventually.
My dad slapped his hands into the carpet like he was ripping into some sort of wild bongo solo (I think this is the only thing that struck me as off. Would a kid his age be familiar with the bongos? Just asking.) and huffed and puffed through a rather lackluster ending when the fire finally went out.
"Well done, Dad."
He'd smacked brand new black, smoldering scars into the carpet right next to dozens of crispy older ones.  He turned his head sideways to look it all over.  "It kind of looks like cheetah print." Ha!

My thoughts: Okay, so I may not read a lot of MG, but I'm not finding much wrong with this except that there ISN'T ANY MORE FOR ME TO READ! Seriously. I love this! I love the narrator, and I love that his dad is a vampire who still hasn't gotten the hang of it. That's hilarious, and an awesome twist on the whole vampire thing. Not to mention the other monsters who I'm dying to meet, plus the sound effects and the voice all add up to a very sweet first page. 

But what do you guys think? Have any suggestions or comments for Garrett?


  1. That had a lot of personality to it! And his father enjoyed torturing himself every morning? Priceless.

  2. I like his style in that pic, if that's Garrett :)

  3. I agree that this had a lot of voice and was a unique way to present a vampire story. My only suggestion would be to focus more on the main character, Bobby.

  4. Nothing more to add. I loved everything about this piece.

  5. So very helpful - thank you for the kind feedback and the honest advice. Looking forward to the tweaks.

  6. Ha! Oh, that is a fun little piece. Very authentic voice, which is hard to do for MG.

  7. I totally agree. Totally love.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  8. Paranormal MG? Father is a vampire? Humor in pain? Sold!

  9. This is hilarious. It took me a little while to fully follow what was happening in the very beginning, but that's not a bad thing - it made me want to figure it out. Great, unique tone. I'd read the rest :)

  10. I agree that there isn't enough!! This is a very interesting piece that definitely has my attention. I will have to keep my eye out for Monster Town. It could really be a bit of fun to break up all the dark stuff I tend to read.
    Oh, and Ugh! I wonder if that photo was taken in the famous alleyway in San Luis Obispo, California - unless LA has one of their own. We were just there a few weeks ago and my sons added some gum of their own to those hallowed walls. Yuck! I wouldn't even venture into it. So disgusting! ;)
    *waves to Marcy*

  11. You nailed it, James. Bubblegum Alley in SLO:

    Thanks so much for the kind words. I've since given the opening line(s) a little tweak based on some feedback from on Dianne Salerni's blog.


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