Over he past 12 months AWESOME SAUCE has been critiqued by some of my favorite people. They all gave me excellent feedback and helped shape the story it is today. Exactly 38 people have read various versions but I had forgotten giving my first reader, a neighbor with a bright underachieving son herself, the chance to read the final version this summer. The 45,700 words were quite different from the 79,000 she read a year ago.
I told her I would make a copy for her, but she stopped me mid-sentence wondering if I could do three so her weekly three person book club could join in. No problem but only if they were willing to give me feedback, which of course they were.
Last week I received their comments and they said AWESOME SAUCE was focused, funny, and the characterizations were spot on…except for one.
They wished Hender’s Mom got a little more credit for raising this challenging kid. I thought about their comment for a few days and then added a simple narrative from Hender that they all said was “perfect.”
Critiques are nice in the way they find minor or major flaws before the decision makers and reviewers find them for you. I continue to get requests from acquaintances that would like to read AWESOME SAUCE themselves before it finds a publisher. Another one this past weekend in fact.
So… the critique window is open again. Why? Well, trudging off earlier this summer to an unnamed copy store to make those three copies, I arrived to find the place quite busy. With all the self-service machines busy I decided to let them do the work. A flustered young man working behind the counter scribbled down my order for ‘3 double-sided-three hole punched copies’ and asked if I could come back in a couple of hours. I returned the next day to find instead of 3 copies, I had a heavy boxful of 30 copies . Yes, they had misread the order. Long story short, I took all 30 and only got charged for 10. I stuck the box in the corner of my office and stumbled across it this week.
If you have an interest in reading one of the 27 remaining copies of AWESOME SAUCE (edit: only 18 copies remain) there are a few guidelines. First choice will be given to students in the age 9-13 target audience but parents and teachers are welcome too. Another classroom critique would be most welcome. All I ask is for you to fill out a short feedback form so AWESOME SAUCE can become even more awesome. I prefer readers in the Denver metro area so the copy could be delivered but would consider an awesome request from out of state too. Here is the ‘book jacket’ description of the story:
“Who is my dad?” seems like a simple question but there has never been an easy answer for eleven year-old Henderson Wently. If he is to find the father he desperately wants Hender must control his impulsive ways and…Okay not so fast. Hender has never accomplished anything significant and is best known for being a disorganized, underachieving non-listener. Find his dad? Hender can’t even find his shoes. This could be a bumpy ride.
An overnight visit to the 32nd floor of a luxury hotel and a cramped stowaway journey supply a conclusion he won’t accept. Using his artistic visual mind and superb memory Hender uncovers a different truth. Before it can become real Hender must pull off the unexpected by doing more than what anyone thought was possible: Achieving personal success for the first time, rising above a female bullying classmate, and traveling alone to a foreign city with a worried mom in pursuit. With a worldwide audience cheering a boy’s question will finally get a surprising answer.
Thanks for your help!