Friday, April 10, 2015

Pitchslam Fun-- Entry Revenge

Fair is fair, so the Pitchslam crew are putting up their entries for your entertainment. Feel free to leave your critique. This little number is the manuscript that got me an agent, not from a contest but from the query.

Name: Michelle Hauck
Genre: MG Humor
Title: Pygmy Hazards
Word Count: 34,000

Movie Genre: Like any loyal military hamster, Tom would be fond of the Army hero Audie Murphy's movies.


Classroom hamster Tom escapes to avoid the pygmies dressing him as Strawberry Shortcake again. Now the principal wants him erased. To reach the woods, he’ll have to risk help from a grabby pygmy called Squeezer.250 Words:

Tom stared between the bars of his two-foot rectangular prison in the corner of the classroom. Close by, fellow prisoner Jerry the Third hunkered near their water bottle, chewing on a Kleenex box. There had been no brochure telling Tom what to expect when he was snapped up from the animal menagerie store two months ago. And if there was, he wouldn’t have believed it. Tom shook his head with a sigh, and then refocused on his guard duty. 
Across the room, the pygmies sat in a circle on the floor, their two legs bent crisscross applesauce, as they passed around a stuffed rabbit. The giant in the ugly brown and purple striped dress at their center had a look of patience plastered on her face.

One of the pygmies, Squeezer, held the rabbit. She gave it a shake so that its long ears flung in every direction. Tom winced and fingered his own neck. “Now that I’m seven, my mommy says I’m a big girl,” Squeezer said. “And when I’m eight, I’m going to marry Joey.”

The pygmy with red hair and freckles, sat up taller. “Not happening.”

“It’s my birthday. I’ve decided,” Squeezer hissed.

The giant cleared her throat. “Please pass Mr. Flopsey, Maggie. You’ve told us all about your birthday. Now your turn is over.”

Squeezer scowled, then threw the rabbit over.

Tom turned to whisper to Jerry. “When the big hand is on the twelve and the little hand is on the three, we make a break for it, recruit.”

Also see:

Mary Ann


  1. Hi Michelle,
    I really can't find anything to critique here, honest. I love humor (and suck at writing it myself). You've got loads of voice and humor and attitude here, The best part is you managed to characterize the others (the kids, the teacher), too, and in such a short excerpt. Perfect. And I just love that hamster.

  2. Thanks, Michelle, for the feedback you and the other judges gave to many authors. It was very useful in my case, and in appreciation here are my comments. I don't read/write MG, or books where the MC is an animal, so can't give appropriate comments. Readers get that Tom is a small animal, but not that he's a hamster. Maybe spell it out in on line 3 like "what an hamster should expect when he was ..." . Pygmies are known as short people from Africa, so I got confused by this term here.

  3. That's funny and makes me want to read the book.

  4. In the pitch, the word erased makes me think Tom is drawn, and not a real hamster. That's probably just me though. Other than that, the pitch is tight and makes me want to read this hilarious book.

    Oh man, I love the first 250. The only thing I can say other than wishing this was longer is that in the first paragraph where you have "his guard duty" I think you can drop the his.

    1. Thanks so much for the feedback. I'm glad you liked it.

  5. Probably true. I take some leeway with these little guys.