Flog a Pro: would you turn this bestselling author’s first page?


Trained by reading hundreds of submissions, editors and agents often make their read/not-read decision on the first page. In a customarily formatted book manuscript with chapters starting about 1/3 of the way down the page (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type), there are 16 or 17 lines on the first page.

The challenge: does this narrative compel you to turn the page?

Please judge by storytelling quality, not by genre—some reject an opening page immediately because of genre, but that’s not a good enough reason when the point is to analyze for storytelling strength.

A First-page Checklist

  • It begins connecting the reader with the protagonist
  • Something is happening. On a first page, this does NOT include a character musing about whatever.
  • What happens is dramatized in an immediate scene with action and description plus, if it works, dialogue.
  • What happens moves the story forward.
  • What happens has consequences for the protagonist.
  • The protagonist desires something.
  • The protagonist does something.
  • There’s enough of a setting to orient the reader as to where things are happening.
  • It happens in the NOW of the story.
  • Backstory? What backstory? We’re in the NOW of the story.
  • Set-up? What set-up? We’re in the NOW of the story.
  • What happens raises a story question—what happens next? or why did that happen?

Caveat: a strong first-person voice with the right content can raise powerful story questions and create page turns without doing all of the above. A recent submission worked wonderfully well and didn’t deal with five of the things in the checklist.

This novel was number two on the New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list for March 15, 2015. How strong is the opening page—would this have hooked an agent if it came in from an unpublished writer? Do you think it’s compelling? Reminder: “compelling” is much different than “interesting”—it means that you are irresistibly urged to turn the page by what you’ve read. Following are what would be the first 17 manuscript lines of the prologue.


Brendan didn’t knock on the cabin door, just turned the handle and slipped inside, looking back as he did so to be sure no one had seen him. He didn’t want to have to explain what a young man from cabin class was doing in an elderly peer’s room at that time of night. Not that anyone would have commented.

“Are we likely to be interrupted?” asked Brendan once he had closed the door.

“No one will disturb us before seven tomorrow morning, and by then there will be nothing left to disturb.”

“Good,” said Brendan. He dropped on his knees, unlocked the large trunk, pulled open its lid, and studied the complex piece of machinery that had taken him over a month to construct. He spent the next half hour checking that there were no loose wires, that every dial was at its correct setting, and that the clock started at the flick of a switch. Not until he was satisfied that everything was in perfect working order did he get back off his knees.

“It’s ready,” he said. “When do you want it activated?”

“Three a.m. And I’ll need thirty minutes to remove all this,” the elderly peer added, touching his double chin, “if I’m to have enough time to get to my other cabin.”

Brendan returned to the trunk and set the timer for three o’clock. “All you have to do is flick the switch just before you leave, and double-check that the second hand is moving, then (snip)

My vote and editorial notes after the fold.
Continue Reading »


The Wide and Wonderful World of O.P.B. (Other People’s Brains): On Giving Critique

photo by Derrick Tyson

photo by Derrick Tyson

I just finished doing something that I’m certain has nudged me a step closer to writerly competence. As I mull its effect, I find myself wondering how many others consider its value. You may have guessed by the title that I’m talking about reading and critiquing a fellow writer’s work in progress.

I’ve seen a few threads on the WU Group page asking for members’ most valued tools or best craft advice. It seems, beyond the “butt-in-chair/just-do-it” layer of advice, having your work critiqued and learning to accept criticism are high on most writers’ lists. But I don’t recall anyone advising reciprocation. It’s understandable. Early on, having my work read, coming to terms with feedback, and utilizing it, were at the top of my own list. I’ve even written an homage to my beta readers. And of course I still consider having my work read and critiqued to be important. In spite of its importance, my appreciation for being on the giving side of critique continues to grow. So in the spirit of giving, I thought I’d share my growing appreciation with my community.

Prudent Pairings (A Caveat): Reading for others is time-consuming and can be taxing. Finding good matches for beta-reading can dramatically enhance the value of the critique, for both the giver and receiver. I’ve found the best reader-writer relationships are built on an existing foundation of trust and respect. Asking someone you don’t know well to read your work is a risky proposition. You may get lucky, and find a generous and insightful soul. But you may also never hear from them again, or find someone who has absolutely no interest in your genre. In the case of the latter, their feedback is not likely to provide much utility. The same logic holds true for agreeing to read. It’s prudent to choose to read those you trust to be dedicated to growth. And choosing someone who writes the types of fiction that you enjoy reading is likely to enhance the value of the experience for both writer and reader.

The Wide and Wonderful World of O.P.B. (Other People’s Brains): Continue Reading »


What Do Your Readers Know and When Do They Know It?


As any good operative can tell you, information is power.  Whether you’re dropping bombshells on your readers, teasing them with hints and suggestions, or letting them know ahead of time that disaster is approaching, you control their reactions by how and when you dole out the facts.  So how do you best wield the power of information?  What do you tell your readers, and when, and why?

It depends on whether you’re getting your tension primarily from your plot or your characters.  If you’re naturally drawn to creating tension from events – if you love building a story around plot twists that shock your readers – then you want to hold things back until the big moment.   But this is trickier than it sounds.

For one thing, unless you’re deliberately using an unreliable narrator, none of your viewpoint characters can know the key facts before you spring your plot twist.  There was a time when the narrators of mysteries could tease readers with hidden knowledge.  In The Door (1930) Mary Roberts Reinhart’s narrator regularly says things like, “It was then on Sunday afternoon that there occurred another of those apparently small matters on which later such grave events were to depend.”  Today that approach to building tension seems unbearably quaint (as does her sentence construction).

But if your viewpoint characters are aware of the pertinent facts and you don’t reveal them, your readers are going to feel cheated.  After all, if your readers are inside the heads of characters who know stuff, why didn’t they learn it as well? Continue Reading »


Should You Be Blogging? Eight Searching Questions to Help You Decide

rhoughtonToday we’re excited to have Robin Houghton with us! She has over two decades of experience in marketing and communications, formerly with Nike, then running her own business Eggbox Marketing since 2002 specializing in online. She now works primarily with writers and publishing industry professionals to help them make the best use of social media. Robin writes blogs on social media and poetry and has been a guest blogger for a number of sites including Social Media Today and MarketingProfs. She is a published poet and a commercial copywriter for web and print, and an experienced trainer and conference speaker. Her first book, Blogging for Creatives was a best-seller and resulted in two more commissions, Blogging for Writers (2014) and The Rules of Blogging (and How to Break Them) (2015), both published by Ilex in the UK and HOW / Writers Digest Books in the US.

Allena Tapia on About.com has this to say:

The availability of information is just remarkable. Not only does Houghton walk you through with a whole lot of hand-holding from conception to execution, but she also addresses just about every aspect of blogging a new (or even veteran blogger) can think of.

Follow Robin on her website , her blog, and Twitter.

Should You Be Blogging? Eight Searching Questions to Help You Decide

It’s a thorny issue. If there were a one-size-fits-all answer then we wouldn’t need to even ask the question, but there’s not. You only have to look at the lively discussion on Writer Unboxed in recent months  to know that it’s complicated.

So rather than asking, “Should writers blog?,” let’s make it personal. You’re a writer. Should you be blogging? Let’s say you have doubts about it; that’s understandable. A blog takes time and effort to get going, time and effort to maintain. There is a payback. You just need to decide if it’s enough of a payback for you.

Here are some of the questions I ask writers who are thinking of blogging. It’s a diagnostic tool—I can’t claim it’s scientific, but it helps people understand whether blogging is for them, or not. It also gets you thinking about where the challenges lie for you personally. Answer the questions honestly to get the most benefit from it.

Q1: Is blogging ultimately about generating sales of your books? 

yes / no / maybe

Q2: Here are some more reasons writers blog. How compelling do they seem to you? Continue Reading »


Of Clams & Editors


Today’s guest is Shawn Coyne–a twenty-five year book-publishing veteran. He’s edited, published or represented works from Michael Connelly, Robert McKee, Bill Murray, Joe Namath, Steven Pressfield, Jerry Rice, Betty White, and many others.

During his years as an editor at the Big Five publishing houses, as an independent publisher, as a literary agent both at a major Hollywood talent agency and as head of Genre Management Inc., and as a bestselling co-writer and ghostwriter, he created a methodology called The Story Grid to evaluate, edit and write stories. His goal is to make the work eminently practical…to remind writers that they are not the problem…the problems are the problem. His book isn’t yet available but it will be soon. Watch this space — StoryGrid.com — to stay on top of the book’s release. Word has it that it should be out mid-April or so.

Shawn comes to us today through a two-thumbs-up recommendation from one of our own, Jan O’Hara. “Two thumbs up” might be a clam, by the way. Read on and find out. And learn more about Shawn and The Story Grid on his website.

Of Clams & Editors

One of the things I love about professional cultures is their idiosyncratic insider language.

Football coaches pepper their speech with phrases like dime backs, wildcats, and now more than ever, thanks to Bill Belichick, tackle eligible.

Contractors speak of plumb lines, narrowbacks, and 220s.

Buildings and Grounds men, i.e. New England college custodians (a fraternity of which I was proudly a member) prefer not to slop out hoppers (toilets), but would rather spend the day in some form of bucket (seats on top of riding mowers or inside delivery trucks). One of my old colleagues was so adept at angling driving assignments we referred to him simply as “Buckets.” So much so that to this day I don’t remember his Christian name.

And if a B&G man has to “ring out the mop,” while there is a trip to the rest room involved, there is no requirement that an actual mop be in hand… During an evening’s after hours imbibing of beer with the fellas, young B&G guys figure out this turn of phrase pretty quickly.

By far my favorite insider-ism amongst professional writers is “clams.”

I first heard of “the clam” from a friend of mine who worked in the writers’ room for a big successful TV show in the 1990s. She got in the room in the first place with a hall of fame worthy performance in chutzpadik.

She had the audacity to write an entire episode for this huge show on spec and then took it all the way to the end of the line when she overnighted the script to the executive producer. A cousin knew an agent who knew the doorman at the exec’s building etc.

The guy actually read her spec, loved it and called her in. One rule still reigns…if you have the writing chops, you’ll find work. Guaranteed.

When she went into the writers’ room to meet the rest of the scribes, she felt like she’d walked into a support group at the JCC on Manhattan’s upper west side. She’d found her creative home. And the executive producer filled out his roster with an indispensible craftsman.

The way the writers’ room worked was this:

Each summer all of the writers flew to Los Angeles and camped out for a few weeks together to write up that entire year’s series bible. The bible would be the overarching story for the twenty odd episodes for that year. So all of the characters in the show would be analyzed and put through their paces and the group would sketch out beginnings, middles, and ends for all twenty episodes. And then the executive producer would divide up the episodes and each writer was responsible for writing up the first drafts for two or three episodes each for the season. He wrote first drafts too!

When the show went into production, the script was passed out to all of the writers in the room and together they edited it to perfection before the cameras rolled.

This group of writers was spectacular and absolutely supportive of one another. While I’m sure there was some pettiness and jealousy among them, when they went into the room all of that crap was put aside. What mattered was the work. But that didn’t mean they beat each other up.

Instead they tried to tactfully express that perhaps a line or two in a particular script was not perfect quite yet. The phrase they all used to describe lines that had entered the popular culture and had subsequently worn out their welcome was that the line was “a clam.”

Here are some examples of clams.

“That went well.”   This is a tagline that usually happens just after something goes horribly wrong.

“You had me at hello.” It was great one time…in Cameron Crowe’s Jerry McGuire.

“Too much information.” Who knows where this came from, but it’s time for us to stop repeating it.

“…Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” Ah Seinfeld… Can’t we please let the last century of brilliance from Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David rest? They’re still writing great stuff now…let’s focus on that.

The derivation of the term “clam” came from two television producers on the show Murphy Brown in 1992…Peter Tolan and Michael Patrick King. Click here for a really fun story on the coining of the term from The New York Times.

Anyway, my friend used to tell a story about how she’d unwittingly written a clam in one of her drafts. The other writers had certainly done the same thing in their pasts, so all of them were a bit reluctant to call her on it.

So they were saying things like…

Ummm. Maybe we should take another look at that line on page six…?


I’m not sure about that line either. For some reason I think it may be a bit too…uh… familiar?

And because it was like 4 o’clock in the morning and my friend’s ability to manage her emotions had left her hours before, she lost it.


They all nodded and then together they came up with a unique and better line.

I love that story.

Here’s why: Continue Reading »


Ask Annie: Retweeting @Mentions, Building a Target Audience, and Following Back

Ask Annie Neugebauer Writer Unboxed logoWelcome to my first Ask Annie column, where I’ll be answering all of your Twitter questions right here on Writer Unboxed every other month. I’ll pick 1-5 questions each time, depending on the length of the answers. I save all of the questions I receive, so if I didn’t get to yours this time, that doesn’t mean it’s out of the running! (More on how to submit your own question at the end of this post.) Let’s jump right in with our first question.


If I’m mentioned in a tweet, should I retweet it every time?

Nicki Gilbert (@nixgilbertca)

No! Forgive my jump to the punchline here, but no, no, no. Absolutely not. That’s a great way to clutter up your timeline and drive your followers crazy! If you retweet every compliment and/or every mention, people will start skimming over your tweets. You should only be retweeting the things you truly want all of your followers to see.

Now let me break this down a little better. Nicki, I think the root of your question is probably based in a concern for manners, which is a lovely concern. If someone takes the time to mention you, it seems only polite to give them something in return – or to at least acknowledge them – right? In general, this is true if you’re etiquette-geared, but retweeting every mention is not the answer! For one thing, it can make you seem egotistical; if you constantly retweet compliments it can come across braggy. But also, it simply isn’t practical. The more followers you get the more @mentions you’ll have, and retweeting them all is madness.

So what are some options to maintain good etiquette without retweeting every mention? Continue Reading »


Making the Jump: From Reigning Queens to the Queen of Fashion

cwgortnerWe’re so excited to have C. W. Gortner with us today. He’s  the international best-selling author of seven historical novels based on the lives of maligned women in history, as well as The Elizabeth I Spymaster Trilogy. A former fashion executive, he has an MFA in Writing with an emphasis on History from the New College of San Francisco. His most recent novel is MADEMOISELLE CHANEL, (William Morrow, HarperCollins), about the ambitious, gifted woman who revolutionized fashion, built an international empire, and become one of the most influential and controversial figures of the twentieth century. His books have been translated in over twenty languages.

Booklist has this to say:

Gortner brings history to life in a fascinating study of one woman’s unstoppable ambition.

Follow C. W. on his websiteblog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Making the Jump: From Reigning Queens to the Queen of Fashion

Taking a chance is always nerve-wracking for a writer. We spend so much time perfecting our craft and banging on publisher doors that when we’re finally let inside, we’re so relieved and elated we’ll do just about anything to stay. Once our book hits the stores, harsh reality sets in. However, those of us who succeed in overcoming reader attrition, chain-store extinction, and myriad of other woes can find ourselves in an enviable position. We’re being paid to write. Now, how do we keep doing it?

We’re often told to write what we know. I also believe we must write what we feel. You can research what you need to know, but if you don’t feel it, there is no point. Published writers are also increasingly told to write within their brand, which basically means our houses want us to stay in our comfort zone. If you write thrillers and your books are selling, keep doing it. Or, as in my case, if you write about 16th century queens, don’t stop. Why mess with what works? Your readers expect a certain type of book from you. Do you want to jeopardize all the sacrifice, the missed meals, the parties and outings you didn’t attend because you were on deadline? Unless sales decline or your editor moves or some other catastrophe obliges you to reconsider your trajectory, stay the course.

Continue Reading »


Snakes on a Brain (Multitasking Series, Pt 2)

snakes on the brain

Akiyoshi Kitaoka’s rotating snakes, featured on the cover of the Journal of Neuroscience


Last month I began a series on multitasking with a post called Monotasking: The Forgotten Skill You (and I) Need to Re-Claim, ASAP. Since then, I’ve continued my study of time and mind management (because that’s really what we’re talking about here) and interviewed multitasking expert Dr. David Meyer, Professor and Chair of Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience, at the University of Michigan. I spoke with Dr. Meyer for over an hour, and we covered a lot of ground, some of which I’ll share with you here today. One of my first questions was simple on the surface but a little knotty in reality:

What, exactly, qualifies as multitasking?

Does multitasking mean complex multitasking? Simple multitasking? What about these words from the world of business: switchtasking and background tasking and continuous partial attention? James Scott Bell referred to present-moment multitasking, then serial monotasking in comments last month. Bob Bois mentioned Monkey Mind.  For our purposes it doesn’t really matter what you call it. If you’re trying to do more than one thing at the same time for much of your day, this is for you. (Serial monotasking is safe, James. That’s actually an ideal way to work.)

When I asked for your feedback last month, for you to reveal your primary reason for multitasking, most of you said you multitask because you can’t seem to shut it down; it is like a compulsion. Only a few of you said you multitask because you’re good at it. Others said they had to multitask to stay on top of things. I’m going to leave that latter group for later, and not just because it’s alliterative. This month let’s talk about what might be behind the compulsion. Right after we talk about Keith.

The Curious Case of Keith Cronin

Our very own Keith wrote in comments last month:

I’ve earned a living for decades as a true multitasker – playing drums professionally. Drumming requires each of your four limbs to do something different – usually directly related, but sometimes not. And many drummers also sing while they play: task number five. It’s essentially like rubbing your belly while patting your head – while riding a unicycle and whistling.

Jealous of this skilland especially of the unicycleI was eager to bring up Keith’s situation with Dr. Meyer. Here’s what he had to say about it.

First of all, [Keith] might just be performing one task—the task of music production. I would suggest that for this drummer, learning came into play, and he essentially learned to perform the overall task of music production through a lot of practice. If you practice enough with certain kinds of tasks you can combine them so you just wind up with one task; these things become integrated. The tasks for which this is possible are the ones that don’t conflict with each other physically or mentally.

Makes sense, no? There are plenty of tasks that you can do concurrently without effecting the outcome because they don’t conflict with each other physically or mentally. Writing while walking on the treadmill. Listening to an audio book while driving or running. Cleaning the kitchen and talking on the telephone. And on and on.

Natalie Hart had something wise to add about Keith’s situation, too:

As a drummer, you may have limbs moving in different ways while often singing, but you are so incredibly in the present, which is the thing that multitasking attacks: the present moment. You’ve got to be locked in with the bass player, listening for cues from the other musicians, keeping that beat steady, but all flowing with that present moment — you lose the present moment and you lose the beat. Ooh, that’d be a good mono-tasking slogan…

Lose the present moment and you lose the beat. I like that, Natalie. Keith’s very much present when he’s making music, or to use one of our oft-used writerly phrases, he’s in the zone. Wouldn’t it be nice if each of our limbs could help us further along in our manuscript, each taking care of a scene or chapter? But alas. Language is tricky territory, becauseas Dr. Meyer stressedthere’s really only one language channel in the brain. This is why we can’t read articles while writing (unless our task is to copy), or type scenes for two novels at once, or draft emails and talk on the phone at the same time–at least not efficiently. And how often have you “lost the moment” in a scene, lost a perfect phrase, lost the direction of the plot, all because you were pulled away by…something.

Snake!!! Oops. That was Twitter. 

I mentioned last month that when I first fell into an obsession over this subject, I collected pages upon pages of research. One of the articles I read highlighted differences between voluntary and involuntary attention. It’s fairly obvious, I’ll grant you. Voluntary attention is intended action along the lines of “I’m going to read the news now/walk the dog/make dinner/write a book.” Involuntary attention is attention we can’t help but give.

It is the swerving car in front of us. It is the crying child. It is the snake on a plane.

A vivid illustration of the power of involuntary attention is provided by watching a young child experience his/her first snake in the wild. It is as if everything else in the world has disappeared. For this very reason, the strength of an innately fascinating stimulus constitutes a potential source of severe distraction such that an accident could readily occur. (- Stephen Kaplan and Marc G. Berman)

These distinctions have been around for a long time; they were mentioned in contemplative texts several thousand years ago. “The point of a lot of meditation practices is to get control over your attention and direct it, as opposed to letting it be captured by external forces,” said Dr. Meyer.

The more forces there are trying to pull at our attention the more likely we’ll experience Directed Attention Fatigue–what happens when the system in place to help protect our ability to FOCUS-JUST-FOCUS is worn down and even fails.

We are no longer in control. Game, snakes.

And by now you’ve guessed that I’m not alluding to real snakes. I’m talking about other things that are attention grabbers, in a 21st-century-at-a-writer’s-desk kind of way: Continue Reading »


Finding Mr. Write

I wish I could have these guys as pets.

I wish I could have one of these.

My high school boyfriend wore eye liner and had self-pierced body piercings. He dealt drugs and somehow managed to acquire a not-for-hunting gun. He was also Sophomore Class President. He loved me as passionately as one sixteen-year-old could love another sixteen-year-old. And after cheating on me (as sixteen-year-old Romeos are wont to do), he carved an “A” into his skin, right over his heart. We had recently read The Scarlet Letter in American Lit. Did I mention he was passionate? We dated for four years.

My college fella was (and still is) an exceptionally good man. He came into my life without piercings or illegal guns. Not once did he carve anything into his body. But while we dated, we made each other laugh and learned to tolerate each other’s roommates, and he didn’t care when Top Ramen and frozen yogurt gave me an extra fifteen pounds of poundage. However. I was Irish and Protestant (not Italian and Catholic), and that was the ultimate deal-breaker, especially in the eyes of his sweet Italian, Catholic mother. He and I still chat on the phone and exchange Christmas cards, and for that I am grateful. We dated for three years.

My post-college beau was the aforementioned Fritz. I loved Fritz’s parents and sister, and aside from the two over-the-phone break-ups, Fritz was kind and smart. He probably still is, but I don’t know because we don’t exchange Christmas cards. I do know he is a urologist in Milwaukee and based on the fact that he named one of his daughters “Sarah,” I assume he spends a good portion of every day regretting that he broke up with me twice. We dated for eighteen months, including the Time Out in between rounds.

My current boyfriend doubles as my husband. We met when we were both living in Chicago, and because I am 5’4” and he is 6’4” (and because he tends toward obliviousness), I needed to push him down into a snowy patch of Lincoln Park, get his face level with mine, and kiss him; he needed to realize we should give kissing a try. We were engaged ten months later. He thinks I am funny. I think he is funny. He almost never annoys me. He has never broken up with me. He went to see The Sound of Music sing-a-long with me even though musicals are as painful to him as infected body piercings. He loves me through my bouts of mental illness and has easily won Best Father every year since 2003. He did, however, lie to me the first time we met, and it was a doozey.

“I love to read literature,” he said.

No, he doesn’t. If he reads anything, it’s non-fiction Malcolm Gladwell. We’ve been dating for almost twenty years.

When I look at the evolution of my relationships, it makes sense that my search for the Ms./Mr. Write-ing Partner has been no less epic, upsetting, challenging, joyful and meandering. It took me years to find the proper tripod to support me in my writing. I imagine the same has been–or will be–true for you, too.

Why is it so difficult to find a fabulous critique mate? Continue Reading »


Share Your Earliest Literary Efforts

The young writer at workI’ve become quite nostalgic in recent years. But my interest in the past extends far beyond my own. I’m also fascinated by the pasts of other people – for example, I really enjoy seeing all those “Throwback Thursday” photos on Facebook each week. And in particular, I am deeply intrigued by glimpses into the mysterious pasts of artists whom I admire.

When did their gifts first surface? What inspirations awakened the artist inside the child? Did they always plan to become an artist, or fall into the life by accident?

In my case, I never expected to become a writer. A cowboy, yes. A movie stuntman, definitely. A milkman, briefly (long story). But a writer? Not so much.

It wasn’t until I turned 40 that I started getting serious about writing, making me one of many “late bloomers” in the writing game. But in examining my own past, I uncovered a few hints that maybe, just maybe, I had been destined to become a writer all along.

I was a poet and didn’t know it

Although I’ve long since lost the original work, I still remember a poem I wrote for an elementary school English class, at the ripe old age of seven or eight. It was an epic poem about a family of imaginary creatures called Grimble Bimbles, which were three-eyed monsters with very sharp teeth. I illustrated the poem myself, armed with a purple crayon and my own not inconsiderable sketching skills. Picture a three-eyed purple Pac-Man with stick-figure arms and legs, and you’re in the ballpark visually.

I have no idea why I can still remember this poem verbatim so many years later, but I can. And without patting myself on the back too hard, I think it’s safe to say that the poem shows traces of what would become my own hallmark style. (More on the whole “hallmark” thing in a moment…)

Submitted for your approval:

The Eleven Grimble Bimbles, by a very young Keith Cronin

There were eleven Grimbles.
Their last name was Bimble.
Once a Grimble yawned,
and saw through his eyes three
that in his mouth was flying
a giant bumblebee.
Now the Grimble’s dead.
The bee stung him in the head.
He’ll never budge again,
and now there’s only ten.

I’ll admit, I’m pretty proud of that closing line Continue Reading »