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I am curious to what people think of the Triddle Tail series of stories I am writing. These stories have grown out bedtime stories I have told my human children. They are about my rats and their adventures as an A-team style crime fighting squad. The Triddle Team.

As this test story is lifted from one of my stories, it is out of context so I took the liberty of giving a character introduction before the story itself.

This test story was taken from Chapter One of my first book length story, each chapter closes with an related, just for fun story, so it is meant to be short. The book itself is longer and more involved.

I didn't know how to correctly format this for a BBS posting so I put spaces between the paragraphs. It reads better in normal format.

Please let me know what you think, what needs improvement, and any other thoughts and comments. I am very interested in what anyone has to say.

The Triddle Team

Triddle: The fearless leader and founder of the Triddle Team. This rat is at times intense, but is always thoughtful of the feelings of his team mates. He is generally regarded to be the most intelligent rodent in Ratropolis, but never brags or shows off his powerful detective skills. Triddle loves to read, to work out, and especially practice Kung Fu. Triddle's greatest strengths are his ability to lead, to think fast on his paws, and make others feel they can do anything.

Manwich: Second in command, well versed in weapons technology. This rat is very interested in creating new weapons and testing them in the field. He is certainly a boy rat, often rude, sometimes careless, but always with a joke to defuse tense situations. Manwich loves to lift weights, clean his guns, and tease Penga. In a pinch, he is invaluable in his ability to extract his team from tight spots.

Torgo: This large rat likes food. He likes to eat food, to cook food, and talk about food. If someone's candy bar is missing, check with Torgo. He possesses immense strength to match his girth and is capable of amazing acts of heroism in the heat of battle. He is often seen fighting with a rolling pin, but is very adept at blunt force frontal attacks. Picture a battle worn and trusty cook, and you have Torgo.

Ian: Ian loves himself. He in convinced beyond and doubt that he is the prettiest rat in history. It is not unusual to see him gazing deeply in his own eyes through a pocket mirror. Like a Greek tragic figure, Ian has decorated his room with mirrors so he doesn't have to go without seeing himself. Although he is slightly self conceited, Ian is well liked by the other members of the team, and is very sensitive to their needs. His whip tail stings the opposition and has won the day countless times.

Penga: The lovely and ever talented Penga is the technology specialist and scientist of the Triddle Team. She has a unique ability to invent and improve machines of all sorts, spout off long and boring theories, and is a quick thinker. Her scientific abilities are world renowned. Originally from Sweden, Penga speaks in a slight accent, secretly likes Manwich, and tends to be naive at times.

Nyal: The silly but usually well meaning financier of TT operations is always good for a laugh. He is interested in perfecting the paper airplane and is often seen hard at work randomly folding papers. His antics have frequently gotten the Team into trouble and Triddle usually has to think up a way t teach him a loving, but firm lesson. Nyal is well loved by the rest of the Team.

Others:

Chance and Johnson: The immature and cowardly interns who do the laundry, get the mail, and generally make life unpleasant for new hires. They often fight over the remote, lose socks, and cause headaches. They are often fired for incompetence.

The Villains

Stella: The founder and president of the Evil Kittens of Kenya-Ru-Ru (EKRR) has sworn to destroy the TT. She is the feline most responsible for their inception after she sent their owner on an ill advised evil vacation. She followed the Team to Ratropolis and has set up a lair opposite theirs. Stella, although priding herself a criminal mastermind, is not the best villain. She seems to lack the true passion for doing evil She tends to be lazy, trying to eliminate her enemies with as little effort as possible. She is very smart, but even more misguided.

Cyndi: Associate and assistant to Stella, this rat is an evil genius and Penga's rival. It is often her genius that has given Stella the means by which she can implement her evil plans. Cyndi is often given to deep reflections and can devise very troublesome inventions for the TT to figure out. She went to the same graduate program as Penga and once published a groundbreaking paper entitled Why I am so Much Prettier and Smarter than Penga.

Lydia: Cyndi's partner in crime, Lydia is a dashing and exceptionally beautiful rat. She knows this and uses her charms to her evil advantage. She is the Mata Harri of the rodent world and is an accomplished spy. She nurses a schoolgirl crush on Ian and tries to make eyes at him when engaging him in mortal combat for the safety of the city. A master of stealth, no one is better than Lydia at sneaking around.


The First Aside: Nyal and his Ipod


The Lotus Position is a very good tactic to use against an enemy. I am reminded of the first time it was tried out by the Triddle Team. Sadly, it did not work out so well at first, despite its genius.



Stella, the president and CEO of the Evil Kittens of Kenya Ru Ru, crouched in her lair, flicking her tail occasionally, in a foul mood. The lights flickered, buzzed, moaned, and then went out. Her tail slowly, and menacingly started slithering back and forth, left and right, in a way that meant bad things. She said nothing and did nothing to help her rat assistants (subcontractors as they preferred to be called), Cyndi and Lydia, light candles to alleviate the dark. Soon, the lair stood well lit, but nothing could dispel the gloom emanating from the evil cat genius.

“Okay, Stella, oh great and wonderful master,” said Cyndi in a not so sincere tone, “we are out of money. I looked over the budget and there is no way we can get the lights back on. We need to generate some income soon, the heat bill is on third notice and the cable is out. Plus, the insurance has lapsed on the Kitten-mobile.”

“This is unacceptable! It isn't supposed to be this way. Evil villains shouldn't have to struggle with paying the light bill or getting a ticket for driving without insurance! Now what am I paying you for? Give me a plan to get some money, and make sure it's evil.” Stella growled.

“I have an idea,” offered Cyndi, “I have devised something that will increase the speed of the kitten-mobile by a factor of three. We can then rob banks and jewelry stores without being chased off by the Triddle Team. I have been saving this invention for just such an occasion.”
Stella smiled so big, she looked less diabolical than Cheshire.



Nyal was annoying the rest of his team. They were playing Dropsy Blocks in the living room right beneath the giant map of Ratropolis that had little lights in it to indicate a place in the city, taking turns to carefully edge a bottom block out from a rattling, teetering tower and replace it on top. This is a game that required as much skill as a surgeon would need to perform a nose transplant. It was intense, but Nyal wasn't helping. Every time it came his turn to re stack a block, Torgo had to nudge him to get his attention and this, of course, was not ideal for the game.

You see, last week Nyal had a birthday and among the presents that the Team had given him was the greatest thing in the universe nowadays, an Ipod. It had been his favorite gift and from the moment he shredded the paper on that unfortunate prize, he had two little buds sitting in his ears with two white tails growing like irritating vines. After a week, Penga, who had given the Ipod, was beginning to regret not buying him a blender or something.

Torgo nudged Nyal again, startling him. He took his turn as Triddle cleared his throat.

“Nyal, you should really try to think of the feelings of others and put that music thingy away every now and again. It is rather irritating.” He didn't feel right bossing Nyal around. Oh well, he thought, I suspect this will pass in time. It was his turn now.

Triddle had been eying a small block two levels up that looked loose. It was late in the game and all the other blocks were already stacked up high. The block was supporting the tower a little, but only by a fursbreadth. The lopsided tower swayed slowly like a drunken wedding cake. Triddle crouched low and stared at his block as if his glare could loosen it. Very, very, very slowly he began pushing it with his pinky and it began moving. All the rats' eyes popped out staring at him. Could he do it?

Dee Doo, Dee Doo, Dee Doo, interrupted a mean little light bulb in the middle of the big, impressive map on the wall. Triddle gasped and the tower cascaded down his arms like a wood waterfall, the highest blocks hitting him in the nose. All rats in the room exhaled in a tense poooooooof. All eyes moved to the map, a robbery!

Without a pause, the Team skittered to their feet, snatched their gear, and took off in the Rodentus. The wheels spun in place before catapulting the super hero car with its super hero crew out of their cave. There were more important things to do. In a matter of minutes, they sighted the culprits (Stella again. Will she never learn?) loading bags with dollar signs drawn onto them with marker into the trunk of the Kitten-mobile at Mingo's bowling alley.

Stella caught sight of the flashy black car of our heroes and hissed, “Faster! They're here!”

“We are ready, but I didn't expect those guys to be here so quickly! No matter, the money is deposited in the storage compartment and we can engage the accelerator, then my invention.” chirped Cyndi brainily as they zipped away, just a tiny bit ahead of the Rodentus.

“We have them now! There is no way they will outrun us in that old thing!” whooped Ian. Indeed, the Rodentus had already shrunk the distance between the cars and victory seemed assured. Seemed, being the key word.

With a popping and squeeking noise, Stella and her henchrodents zipped off into the proverbial sunset. The Triddle Team could only stare in dismay, shock, and confusion. Triddle continued the chase until they could no longer see the other car, then began searching the streets of the city for the bandits. What had happened?

Back at Triddletopia, the rats discussed their failure.

“Clearly Cyndi has optimized the carbon extraction input ratio within the lower manifold,” exhaled Penga thumping a paw on the long, official looking board room table. “I should have anticipated her derivational analysis of our own conveyance!”

“Stella souped up her ride,” translated Torgo for the gaping Nyal.

“Penga, can you make our car as fast as theirs?” asked Ian. Penga shook her head.

“Not without a speculative projection of our own schematics, and the processes describing that application is too expansive.” answered Penga.

“No.” translated Torgo.

“I have an idea.” Triddle began. “I have been working on a new tactical formation for a fast moving enemy. I call it the Lotus Formation. It is simple, really, we position ourselves in a circular perimeter watching the middle part of the circle, the focus point, and close the perimeter when an enemy enters the point. If each rat is mindful of their duty, even Stella cannot escape us.”

“But how can we lure her into the focal point?” queried Manwich.

“With this” and Triddle produced a copy of the Ratropolis Squeeker. The front page read in bold and important looking font “Hopeless Diamond on Display” The Team had their bait. The rest of that long night was spent planning the operation for the next day. Each rat received a position hidden around the museum where the diamond would be stored, and on a pre-arranged signal, the trap would spring. Stella was certain to be caught.



Stella chuckled her evil laugh she had practiced so hard that morning in front of the bathroom mirror as she plummeted her car toward the museum. The lights, cable, and insurance was on again. Her evil plan had worked perfectly!. She even bought a new evil tea cozy for the breakfast table. Things were very much improving. The rat girls, Cyndi and Lydia, also chuckled because tonight's operation looked even more promising than last nights. Who needs money when you could steal a diamond and look pretty?

The Triddle Team stood alert and well hidden in position waiting for the trap. Triddle watched closely, waiting in anticipation for the first test of his new formation. He could hear a distant popping and squeeking as their prey drew near. Sure enough, the Kitten-mobile streaked up to the museum, through the gaping front doors, and into the lobby. Stella screeched to a skidding stop immediately in front of the Hopeless diamond's display case. An evil cat and two evil rats popped out of the doors and began cutting through the glass protecting it. They had them!

“Now!” whooped the leader and like a collapsing building the circular perimeter tightened. Lydia saw the trap, perceived the danger and sounded the alarm. They lept back into their vehicle and turned to leave but found their way blocked by an angry Torgo. They quickly swerved away but found their next path of escape plugged by Ian, then Penga, then Triddle. There was no escape! Stella prepared herself for capture.

“LOOK! A hole in the perimeter! Go, go!” squeeled Cyndi.

The Kitten-mobile popped off into the night barely missing a surprised looking white, spotted rat with ear buds on. Nyal had gotten bored and turned his Ipod on and had missed the signal to pounce. Stella's escape was assured, but it would be a long time before she tried her night raids again.

“Nyal......Nyal......you.....”sputtered Manwich.

Triddle put a paw on his arm. His blue eyes looked calm and serene. “Yelling won't show him the error of his ways. Stella got away, but the diamond is safe. I have an idea.” soothed Triddle. He sheepishly hung his head and said nothing as the Team returned home. Nyal would need to be taught a lesson.


The next night the rats sat around the living room, still rather annoyed by Nyal's foolishness, as Manwich described a new mission.

“The Green Pheasant is a priceless heirloom owned by a rich and very hifalutin rodent over on the east side. He read about our escapades in the paper this morning and is worried Stella will steal his statue like she almost stole the diamond. He seems to have some concerns about our effectiveness,” he shot an angry glare at Nyal, “but has asked for our help. The Pheasant is located in his home. We will form another Lotus Formation to protect it. I trust we will not repeat last night's problems. Let's go.”

And away they went to the mansion. They formed another cordon, hiding themselves as best they could indoors and settled in for a long night of waiting. The hours passed slowly and nothing happened.

Nyal determined not to let his teammates down again and stayed on the alert better than ever. After the first hour, he sat down, after the second, he leaned back, and after the third, he began to fall asleep.

No! He would not fail again! He stood up and marched in place for a few minutes. Time was so slow sometimes, he thought to himself, how long are we supposed to wait? He walked back and forth, hummed a little, talked to his tail, and became very much thoroughly bored. Oh well, he thought, she probably isn't coming. And out popped the ear buds again.

As soon as the Ipod powered up, Nyal heard a noise. It sounded like scratching. He listened closely but heard nothing more. Spooky, he thought. This mansion is kinda scary, what with all the knick knacks and cobwebs, I must be getting tired.

Then far off in the distance he heard something else. He listened. It sounded like moaning, and it was getting louder!. Nyal fidgeted nervously. Yes, the moaning was getting louder and now there were footsteps! Whatever that thing is, it's getting closer! Nyal shivered and trembled as the grating, metallic, groans continued to grow louder and louder until they seemed to fill his head with horror.

“Young rat, I want your sooooooouuuuuuuuuulllllll...........”

“Noooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!” Shrieked Nyal. He broke position and sprinted for his little rodent life straight out the front door. “Heeeeellllllp meeeeeeeeeeee!!!” and fell right in the laps of his hysterical friends, laughing themselves almost to a ghostly death at their music selection for Nyal.

Nyal never listened to his Ipod on missions again, come to think of it, that Ipod isn't exactly working anymore.
 

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*chuckles* i like that story and look forward to more. i would most definately buy the books for my son and i to enjoy.

and as promised this thread is now stickied. if you decide to post more stories do so in this thread.

if anyone else would like to write ratty fiction make your own thread then submit it for sticking. if there is enough interest we'll see about making its own section.
 

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HAHAHAHAHAHHA!!!!!!!!!!!! ^.^ That's a great story!
 

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this accidentally got locked, i'm very sorry njal.
 

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Good story indeed. Normally i dont read children stories with talking animals and etc. but that was interesting enough to read. I´m normally quite critical at that point.

I´m writing a rat book also, but i think it will take at least some years to finish it. The book i am writing isn´t for little children either and its a little bit more realistic. I´m tring to write through the rats eyes, as if the rat himself had written it. i have got about 40 pages at the moment. I have got few time to write. :/
 

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I don't have time at the mo to read the whole story- I'm on my way out to my other job.
But- looks like a good concept. Animal stories can be a hard sell these days. It's not easy to get the balance between animal and human attributes. For good examples, read the Poppy series by Avi, and the Redwall series, I'm sorry I dont know the author off the top of my head.

For children's writers, the best resource for marketing, networking and pretty much life-support is the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. It's $50 a year to be a member, but there are lots of wonderful free resources on their website at SCBWI.org.

Also, you might try looking for a critique group. They can be found online or in person if there's a local SCBWI group in your community. Check the site for "Shop Talk" groups. The Shop Talks aren't critique groups, but the members might be involved in a group or might be interested in beginning a critique group.

Be careful with online groups, never post your work to a "public" forum. Since this board is so specialized, you should be ok with the snipped you've posted here, but some publishers consider work posted online "previously published", and won't buy it.

I run an online writers' group: http://groups.msn.com/TheChildrensBookWritersCafe. We have some critique groups, I don't know who has openings, but you can check the message board for recent announcements, and you're certainly welcome to start a critique group by posting asking members of the Cafe to join.
You have to join the Cafe with an MSN account, but it's totally free. We only have the join thing in place to keep out spammers who were posting some pretty disgusting porn on our message board, ugh. :roll:
But we are definately "open to the public", anyone can join to discuss children's writing and learn more about the field. :)

Best of luck!
Happy writing.
Rejoicing in the day the Lord has made,
-Mary
 
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