The First 312 Words

Gabi Lessa is having a fabulous contest on her blog in honor of her birthday!

Here are the rules if you’d like to join!

  1. Visit her blog to sign up for the contest. You have until noon on Saturday, March 12th, to sign up.
  2. The contest is open for everyone. You can enter either a finished manuscript or a work in progress.
  3. Post the first 312 words of your manuscript on your blog. Just the first 312! It doesn’t matter if it ends mid-sentence, that’s ok. But please be sure to count! 312 words, not one more, not one less!
  4. When you post your entry, post your title, your genre and your manuscript’s status (finished or in progress).

So…here’s Rupert!

TitleRupert Reginald Robinson, the ninth & the House Next Door
GenreMiddle Grade
First 312 Words:

Rupert Reginald Robinson clutched a thick book to his chest, his forehead rested against the glass of the backseat car window.  The car bumped across the road.  His head slid to a new place and left a smudge of grease on the glass.

“Ouch,” he said as his head whacked against the glass for a third time.  He released his book and rubbed his forehead with two fingers.

In his left hand he gripped a baseball.  The ball was worn and frayed as if a dog had chewed on the red bindings.  As the car bounced down the road the ball rotated around, his fingers moved methodically so the ball was always in motion.

Rupert placed his head back against the glass and looked out onto the street.  At the corner stood Bobby.

Bobby was the school bully.  A small grey rat rode on his shoulder.  This rat was his favorite form of torture.  Bobby would hide it in kids’ lockers to scare them.  He scowled when he saw Rupert spying him through the glass.

“Aunt Miriam?”  Rupert asked and looked up to the front seat.

“Hmm?”  Miriam kept her eyes on the road.

“Are we almost there?”

“No Rupert, we are not almost there.  Do not ask again.”

Rupert turned back to stare out the window.

Beside him, his cousin sat in a booster seat playing with dolls.  She hummed quietly to herself as the dolls clicked against each other.  Rupert could hear her lips moving as she silently talked to herself

“Mom? Are we there yet?” Delilah asked absentmindedly.

“We’ll be there in just a few minutes, sweetie.”  Miriam said and reached back to pat her daughter on the knee.

Rupert rolled his eyes.

The car came to a halt in their driveway and Delilah began to squirm in her seat.  She quickly dropped both her dolls to the car…

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17 thoughts about "The First 312 Words"

  • Gabriela Lessa says:

    Great entry, Juliana! Quite a scene you have there. You really draw the reader to this place and this moment. Well done!

  • Jolene Perry says:

    LOVE his name. Fun, the smudge on the glass… nice.

  • Tanya Reimer says:

    Ha! Nicely done. I already hate that aunt. fun stuff.

  • Juliana L. Brandt says:

    Thanks, Gabi!

    Jolene- I'm quite attached to his name too 🙂

    Tanya- Trust me, she doesn't get any better through out.

  • Richard says:

    I like the foreshadowing of conflict with the bully. I know something's going to happen. Good writing.

  • Juliana L. Brandt says:

    My only regret with these first 312 words is that there is no indication of the magical elemental that occurs further along in the chapter!

  • Kate Larkindale says:

    Interesting opening. A very unusual name for a kid these days, so that instantly intrigued me.

    There were a few places the punctuation was off and I had to read the sentence a couple of times to figure out what you meant. Try reading it aloud and you'll find the places you need commas.

  • Deana says:

    Middle Grade novels are so fun. Great start! I wish I knew what the magical element was too:)

  • Juliana L. Brandt says:

    ugh, you're right, Kate. Punctuation has always been the hardest part of writing for me. Thanks!

  • haleywhitehall says:

    I've tried to write for middle grade readers but the stories usually evolve to YA or adult. I like your introduction!

  • Christie Koester says:

    Sounds great!!! Loving it so far!

  • Ivy Hawthorn says:

    I'm loving this! I wish I knew more!

  • Gabriela Lessa says:

    Congratulations! You are one of the 12 finalists! Your entry has been forwarded to guest judge Lora Rivera. The 3 winners will be announced on March 30th. Thanks for entering the contest and giving me the chance to read some great writing! Good luck!

  • Juliana L. Brandt says:

    Ahh, thank you Gabi! You should have seen me dancing in my car when I read this 🙂

  • Wes says:

    The head whacking on the glass made me laugh! You do a great job of painting the aunt as… problematic, to put it nicely. It is obvious even from this she is going to make me want to smack her. Excellent 312!

  • Peggy Urry says:

    Great visuals and foreshadowing – and ditto the comments on Aunt Miriam.

  • towriteperchancetodream says:

    I enjoyed this. I used to read middle-grade novels when I was the appropriate age (sometimes I still read them if I absentmindedly find my old collection). You did really well setting out four interesting characters in just 312 words! I'd love to read more.
    The only issue I saw was with redundancy but I'm horribly anal about that, so it may just be me.

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