Saturday, October 25, 2014

NoQS Minion 2: POPCORN BRAIN, MG Contemporary

Genre: MG Contemporary
Word Count: 40,000

My Main Character’s Most Fearsome Obstacle:

Dodging the local scum, feeling queasy around girls, combating his teacher and her nasty breath—Royal can handle them all. But seeing his father’s self-destructive behavior and now questioning his own sanity, Royal fears if he doesn’t do something to prove his worth, something big, he will continue the legacy his dad has set. And not the good one of Royal’s earlier childhood which fills him with hope when he has nothing to eat, but the dark one that sucked his family into ruin.

Royal is scared to death he’ll become a loser.


Royal Crown knows he can get a bit … overzealous. Who can blame him? With numbers bouncing through his brain like a supercomputer, the boy is anything but calm. And when you factor in negligent parents who drag him from one run-down home to the next—acting “normal” isn’t always in the equation.

After moving yet again, Royal lands in Mrs. Snyder’s 5th grade class—a place brain cells go to die. Unable to see past Royal’s genius antics, Mrs. Snyder labels him as another troublemaker from a dysfunctional family and, with threats of suspension, steamrolls his mother into placing him on behavioral medication.

Humiliated that he has to take “the zombie pill” and eager to prove his worth, Royal enters Number Force, a national online math tournament, and blasts his way through the rankings. Yet, as the pressure mounts and the title dangles just within his reach, Royal discovers that playing the game is only part of his battle. Facing cheating accusations, elimination, and discrimination, Royal must decide to accept his lot in life and surrender quietly … or step up and fight back.

First 250 words:

A Bright Mind Is An Active Mind—Einstein Elementary’s motto hung under a poster of Albert Einstein on the back wall of room 501. Royal Crown wadded a scrap of paper in his mouth, spit it into his hand, and grinned up at his wild-haired hero.

“Don’t you worry about me, Einstein. I got it covered.”

He checked the calendar: November 18th. As of this moment, he had been in his new school for exactly 22-and-a-half days—180 hours—10,800 minutes—648,000 seconds—and he had yet to learn anything new.

Royal propped up his math book on the outside edge of his desk like an invisibility shield and placed his origami battle tank behind it, hiding it from view. Just a few more touches—game on!

Twenty feet ahead, Mrs. Snyder clicked the iPad on her teaching stand, projecting the day’s vocabulary word on the board.

Integers: Positive and negative whole numbers.

“Number lines,” Royal said under his breath. “Got it.”

He slipped a pen out of his desk and removed the ink cartridge and spring. Then he placed both parts inside the barrel of his tank and topped them with a spitball.

After a quick glance to make sure Mrs. Snyder wasn’t looking, he pulled the spring back with his right hand, held the ink cartridge with his left, and let it go. The spring shot forward, blasting the tiny paper cannonball up into the air and then down to his tattered sneakers.

“Perfect,” he whispered.


  1. Shiver! Please send the pages, synopsis and query to, and please put Nightmare on Query Street request in the subject line.

  2. Shiver! Please send me the pages in Word doc format, as well as the pitch and your bio, to my email address at #NoQs in the subject line will help me recognize it.