Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

This fabulous little story is to blame for my new pet squid.  Honest–it’s all their fault!  If you look between the pages, you’ll see a cleverly written subliminal message telling people that they must have a squid, they can’t transcend themselves and achieve the happiness of enlightenment until they get a squid, and in fact, their home will soon be burglarized and their entire collection of Fruit Loops stolen unless they bring home their own squid.

Don’t believe me?  Well…I wouldn’t, either. 😉

The truth is, there are no squids (that I’m aware of) in The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom.  A dragon, yes, plus a giant, a witch, and a bunch of Charming Princes in pursuit of (mostly) heroic princesses–check.  But no squid.

Hero's Guide cover

What it does have is non-stop hilarity.  Really, I think it manages to be funny on every single page.  If it’s not Duncan the Daring tossing out names at random woodland animals he encounters, it’s poor Frederick attempting to be civilized and proper when coated in seven layers of muck.  And that’s just two of the Princes Charming!  In fact, the entire concept–that all the ‘Prince Charmings’ of the fairy tales got fed up with being known as nothing more than a generic male-candy-charming-prince after all their heroics and set off to attach some memorable adventures to their names–is pretty drop-dead funny by itself.

So, where did my accusation about the squid come from?  Well, it’s a little complicated.  First, I told my agent that I’d done all the revisions I could on NinChicks and was ready for her to send it out after the Holidays in January.  Then, I read The Hero’s Guide (more on that in a minute) and changed my mind.  That led to my doing a ‘make it funnier’ revision, which led to my awesome agent getting extra reader feedback, and my pulling out half of chapter two, which led to my creating this fiction of a pet squid.

You see, the pet squid represent humor.  For me, for you, for the whole world.  It’s a very charismatic squid.  So when asked to do a guest post on How To Be Funny, I took all the funny stuff that’s been popping around in my brain and was melded together on a three-prong stool that was my humor class, NinChicks, and the breakthrough I had when reading Hero’s Guide–and out popped a squid.  Or SQUID, to be exact.  My new and squid-improved tips for writing humor.  You’ll find the guest post here on The Author’s Think Tank, and my own dedicated page to it here.

The one thing that at first really irked when I was reading Hero’s Guide was what appeared to be a total lack of plot.  Things were all very amusing…but they didn’t seem to be going anywhere.  Later the story pulled its random parts together and produced a nice plot, complete with characters arcs for several members of the troupe, but I’d already extracted a very valuable lesson that I intend to hang on to: If All Else Fails, Be Funny.

Apricot Headshot one“I’d just like to go on record that if you bring home a squid, I will eat it.  That is all.





Many thanks, as always, to Shannon Messenger for hosting Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.  Stop by her website for links to other (marvelous) middle grade spotlights, reviews, and shenanigans.

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