Entry Nickname: Nobody’s Sidekick
Title: The Unchosen One
Word count: 30,000
Genre: Middle Grade Adventure


Twelve-year-old Peter wants to be a hero—enough to believe he’s chosen to fight a crime organization known as The Invisible Arm.

After he saves his sister from a speeding car (with a flat tire), Peter starts to believe he’s special. Lady Bologna, the (fake) fortune-teller, foresees he’s destined for greatness. Even the wise old mentor (mostly old) Sensei Cheng has been waiting for someone like him. All signs point toward Peter Harper: The Chosen One (unless they don’t).

When The Invisible Arm threatens to take over the city, Peter makes it his job to become the hero he isn’t meant to be.

First 250 words:

Third Street didn’t have a reputation for danger, but Peter’s sister chose the worst moment to chase after her baseball. She bolted from the bus stop before he could grab her knapsack and pull her back. He tried to warn her—tell her to look both ways—but his voice didn’t work. When Sally’s TOMS stepped from the curb onto the sizzling street, he began to hyperventilate. A pickup truck sped toward her, unaware of the helpless child in its path.

Peter couldn’t wait a second longer. He leaped forward, reached for Sally and raised the other arm like a traffic cop.

“Halt!” The word burst from his mouth as the overwhelming heat took his breath away. He shut his eyes and braced for impact. A deafening pop shot down Third Street. Burnt rubber and exhaust fumes drifted over Peter and Sally, but the truck didn’t follow.

Peter opened his eyes and released his breath. They survived. His damp pants suffered the most, but he did it. He saved his sister. Was he a hero? It was hard to tell, but yes, yes he was.

The driver, a scrawny boy with oversized clothes, slammed the car door, scratched his peach fuzz and examined the flat tire.

“Perfect.” He wiped his forehead and spat. “First it’s the muffler, now it’s a tire—rusted old hunk of scrap metal. Why don’t you die already?”

Peter turned to Sally. “Are you okay?” She clutched her baseball with the ungloved hand and nodded, unsure if she believed herself.