Sunday, August 1, 2010

Chapter One, Part Two

Here is the end of chapter one. Can you guess how many agents/publishing houses rejected my query letter and first two chapters? I will tell you at the end of chapter 2.

When the humans at the rescue found him in her cage that day, they were very surprised, but they figured it must mean that the two guinea pigs wanted to be bonded. So from that time on, they had lived together at the rescue until their new family had come to adopt them.

Donner had often daydreamed about adventures, but had never really had any reason to try and get out of his cage in their new home, until now. Their home was roof-less, and the walls were not very tall.

Slowly, cautiously, their hearts beating fast, and their tiny legs trembling, Donner and Macie peered up at the edge of the cage wall. Macie watched, as Donner finished pushing their purple-plastic house up against the wall, shoved his favorite log tunnel against the side of the house with his nose and began climbing up the tunnel to scramble to the top of the purple house. From that height, it would be easy to jump out of the cage. However, he had no idea how they would get off of the tall cabinet their cage sat on.

Now it was Macie’s turn. Her smaller size made it a little easier for her to wriggle up the side of the log tunnel, and pull herself onto the house. The cavies looked around them. They could see their cage with its soon-empty water bottles, bare feeding dishes and hay rack, the plastic tubes they loved to run in and out of, the soiled wood chips that hadn’t been changed since the humans had left, and their soft fabric chair, which they had spent hours relaxing in. The whole cage smelled like home to them, and when they raised their heads to sniff the air above and away from the cage, it smelled cold, moldy, and foreign. They peered over the edge and saw a pile of towels, food, and extra plastic tubes their owners had left on the top of the cabinet next to the outside of the cage.

“Okay, Macie, this is it. We’re going to have to jump for it. I bet we can land on those towels.” Donner squeaked.

“But…you…you didn’t say anything about j-jumping! I hate jumping. I won’t do it!”

“Macie…” Donner sighed, trying to be patient. “We don’t have a choice. We have to.”

“No! You find another way, or I won’t do it! I’m too scared!”

“Fine,” muttered Donner. “I’ll try to find another way, but this would be much easier if you would just try.” Macie looked at him silently, climbed back down the log tunnel, and crawled into their house.

Donner wandered unhappily from one end of the cage to the other, looking for a way to get out without jumping. After several hours, he popcorned 4 into the air and let out a squeak.

“I’ve got it! Macie, get out here. I’m going to need your help.”

After a few directions from Donner, the two cavies set to work. Macie began shoving their ceramic food dishes toward the purple house and once the first dish was there, she and Donner set it upside and shoved it up onto the top of the house. The dish was tall enough for Macie to simply walk over the edge of the cage. The two pigs climbed their way up and stood on top of the food dish, looking over the edge.

“Okay, Macie, I’ll go first, and when you step over, you can land on my back.” Donner explained.

Donner summoned all his courage, stepped over the edge, and landed on the pile of towels a few inches below.

Macie could see Donner through the bars, and knew he had made it safely. He called to her, “Okay, your turn, now! Climb onto my back!” Macie felt tempted to jump off the house in the other direction and run inside it instead, but she didn’t dare lose sight of Donner. She closed her eyes, drew together the small amount of courage she had, and with a whimper, she walked over the edge onto Donner’s back, climbed off of Donner, and onto the pile of towels.

“You did it, Macie! We did it!” exclaimed Donner, and they both ran around on the towels. They ran in circles, hopped in the air and nuzzled each other.
What they didn’t know is that the more they ran around, the less steady the pile of towels became. The towels were resting on top of several plastic round tunnels 5 and bags of pellets and hay. Donner and Macie’s running and jumping was causing the round tubes to roll underneath the pile of towels, pushing the bags of hay and pellets off the side of the tall cabinet.

“Donner! The towels are moving!” shrieked Macie, and down the whole pile came, tubes, towels, hay and pellets, to the floor below. The Cavies yelped and squeaked and screamed with fear, as they rode the towels down to the floor. Macie and Donner rolled forward onto their faces, hitting their noses against the hard tile floor, and landing in the thin layer of water covering it. They righted themselves and stood, wet and shivering, next to one another.

“Oh, why is it so wet? And why did we fall so far? Why did we leave the cage?!” yelped Macie. Donner was too stunned to answer and simply nuzzled closer to Macie and squealed with her. After they had recovered from their fall, they tiptoed through the inch of water that covered the ground, and looked around them. With relief, they realized that several bags of hay and pellets were on the ground close to them. This meant that they would have enough food to survive for quite some time. Macie used her sharp front teeth to chew a hole in the plastic bags and they both ate the hay and pellets until they were full.

“It feels so good to not be hungry anymore,” squealed Donner.

“Yes,” yawned Macie, “but now I am very tired.” They wandered across the wet floor to a pile of towels and nuzzled their way into a dry corner of the pile. They curled up next to each other and slept for hours.

4. When guinea pigs are happy, playing or excited, they will sometimes jump straight up into the air; this is called “popcorning”. Baby guinea pigs do this often, and it is very cute.

5. Cavies love to run in and out of tunnels. This is because guinea pigs live in dirt tunnels and holes in-between rocks.

*The image above is not actually Macie, but it is what she looked like. Photo credit goes to


  1. We have two guinea pigs called Guinness and Ripple.

  2. Hi Sandra, I for one are delighted you decided to share sections of your children's stories, they make great reading. Please don't get too downheartened with rejection, keep sending them to publishers. Good luck.

  3. Joe, I hope Guinness and Ripple are doing well. The two piggies in my story are inspired by two guinea pigs I used to have. Sadly, they both died a few years ago, but they died mainly of old age, and had had healthy, happy lives.

    Ryan, Thanks for the encouragement. Never give up. Never surrender.

  4. if Clifford the Big Red Dog can make it, your guinea pigs can definitely make it.

  5. Thank you, Carolyn. Of course, Clifford is actually quite brilliant in its simplicity. He's a big red dog. He has a little girl as his owner. What little girl doesn't want a big red dog? There is very high reader appeal here.

  6. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I've been reading the last few posts of yours and you've got a nice place going on over here.

    I'm an English teacher too, and one of my closest friends is a drama teacher. We used to work together when I taught the film elective.