Middle Grade Novels

The Thief of Time

Prague Clock Tower

Click here for Excerpt

Pitch:  An urban fantasy/horror novel that is inclusive and diverse; the first in a series focused on a boy named Joshua Parks that is a cross between Stephen King’s Needful Things and Clive Barker’s Weaveworld, but for children.

Back of the Jacket:  Joshua Parks isn’t just having an off day –he’s having an off life.  When his lieutenant colonel father goes missing in Iraq he and his mother, two younger brothers, and two older sisters must move from their nice home in a good neighborhood to their Aunt’s rundown house in the worst part of the city.

After an excruciatingly bad day that starts with a slap across the face from his older cousin and ends with a humiliating defeat at track practice Joshua finds himself drawn to an abandoned playground where he seeks a few moments of peace before returning home.  Here he meets the strange and colorful Mr. Charm who offers him his “unique services to extraordinary individuals” free of charge.

Joshua warily agrees to accept Mr. Charm’s gift: a box full of Time, but the more he uses it the more he’s drawn into a strange world where he discovers that the gift comes with a terrible price.  Now, in order to stop Mr. Charm from unleashing a dangerous and destructive force, Joshua will have to enlist the aid of angels, overcome terrifying monsters, and solve bewildering puzzles or risk become trapped in Mr. Charm’s world forever.

Status: Completed!

Pages: 291

Word count: 84,383

3 thoughts on “Middle Grade Novels

  1. Hello! This sounds very interesting (I read the synopsis, too). It is very polished. Do you do any workshopping or use a critique service? I’m also curious if you’ve spoken to any agents or publishers. My own upper middle grade (tween?) novel should come in at around 65,000 words, and I’m told that’s pushing it.

    You read my one and only blog post (and thank you for the comment!). I am committed to making it a weekly thing. I’m now considering posting a synopsis of my own novel.


    • Thanks for your kind words! I haven’t done any workshopping or used a critique service, yet. The Thief of Time has been a labor of love that took ten years to write (I was also working on an undergrad and grad degree and writing wasn’t my main focus) and two years of revisions, so far. I’ve only been really serious about writing as a career for the past year or so and there’s a lot to learn. Unfortunately, you and I have chosen an over-saturated market, which will make breaking in especially tough, but don’t give up! A lot of people make that mistake, but the ones who get published are the ones who keep sending query letter after query letter to different agents. On average, you have to query about 40 – 50 agents to get published, if you’re work is considered good enough for publishing. Sometimes less (about 20), sometimes more (about 100). Yeah, I know.

      Posting regularly is great! After you’ve sent a query letter to an agent (make sure to include your website) they will often look at what you’ve been posting. Posting short stories or snippets of writing is a great way for them to see your scope and talent.

      As for word count, it may seem a bit high, but I believe it’s better to overwrite and scale back than to underwrite. But that’s just me. Some current UMG titles and word counts:

      Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief – 87,223 (Rick Riordan)
      Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone – 77,508 (J.K. Rowling)
      Magyk – 112,921 (Angie Sage)
      A Wrinkle in Time – 49,965 (Madeleine LEngle)
      The Graveyard Book – 67,380
      Children of the Lamp Book 1 – 85,761
      The Alchemyst – 85,926
      The Name of this Book is Secret – 59,485

      Some of these titles may toe the line between UMG and YA but it gives you a good idea, however, if your story is well told at 35,000 words that’s also perfectly fine.

      If you haven’t checked out AgentQuery (http://www.agentquery.com) you should. It’s got great sources and information and was recommended to me by a friend who is published. They have great writing tips both for your manuscript and for your query letter once you’ve finished said manuscript. Good luck!



  2. I am enticed by how you establish a “normal” day for your reader, then transform it into a mystical, magical ride that then goes wrong until the wise protagonist takes hold of the reins.


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