Manuscript Status: Finished
Mentor Name: Kara Seal
Mentee Name: Amanda Coppedge
Title: THE CABIN
Category: Middle Grade
Word count: 31,000 words
Summer vacation: sunscreen? Check. Bug spray? Check. Vengeful ghost? Check … ? Good thing eleven-year-old Laney is a paranormal investigator. When a specter imprisons her family in their isolated rental cabin, she must use all her skills and bravery to uncover dark secrets and help this tortured spirit—or face its wrath for eternity.
Alongside our bedtime fairy tales, Mom told me and my sister stories of her magical childhood home. Hansel and Gretel had their gingerbread house and hungry witch. Cinderella had her fairy godmother and delicate glass slippers. And my mother had her apple trees and the playhouse in the woods in Grebe Marsh, Wisconsin. When I was little, all these tales felt equally enchanting to me.
Tonight, we visited the old house for the first time. It was run-down and ordinary.
But the woods behind the house were another story.
“Look, it’s the path to your playhouse!” My little sister, Chelle, took off running for the break in the trees.
“Don’t you dare go in there,” Aunt Kim said.
“Come on, Laney.” My cousin, Natalie, forged ahead. If her mother said no, Natalie said yes.
In the shade of the thicket, the first lightning bugs blinked. Did the forest look spooky simply because it was dark? Mom always said There was something otherworldly about those woods. My hands itched for my paranormal investigation equipment, but I had vowed to keep it stashed in Mom’s car during our family trip this summer. If Natalie wasn’t here, I’d be taking a million photos.
“We know what you’re up to, Chelle.” I picked up a stick and thrashed the underbrush as we walked down the path. “You’re going to jump out and scare us. It’s your own fault if my reflexes take over and I whack you with this stick.”