11-Year Old Writing Book Before Abduction

In the year before being abducted and all communications with family cut off, Eli (Elliot), an 11-year old had been waking up each morning at 6am and earlier to work on his book while he had coffee and breakfast with his father, before his brother and sister got up for school. Since his father had written a book, Eli figured he would too, only he planned to write a blockbuster and sell millions of copies.

Eli’s goal was to be published at 12, an age he has reached since his abduction. But it is a dream his father is helping him make real by assembling and editing together all the materials his son left behind in his notebook and on his computer. Eli’s close friend at the Masaccio middle school, Edoardo, is acting as the book’s Senior Editor, by ensuring that the completed story is faithful to the ideas that Eli often described to him late at night during sleepovers.

Here is the beginning of Chapter 1 of ‘The Half Elf’.

For the rest, you’ll have to buy the final version, to be published later this year since Eli’s goal was not only to be published, but to sell a million copies, or certainly more than his father’s book!

Chapter 1


“It was another beautiful spring morning in Astengurt, a small city known for its peacefulness, and the inhabitants had just started planting their plants in the farms.”

My grandfather took a puff from his pipe and continued with his usual Tuesday extremely long bedtime story.

“While the whole city was laughing, joking and listening to the music made by the birds, even the walls knew someone somewhere near the farms was not and never was happy. His name was Geoffrey Chosser, a well-known maniac.” …

Download first entire chapter: Half Elf – Chapter 1


20 responses to “11-Year Old Writing Book Before Abduction

  1. Eli, if you see this….we all miss you so much and hope you come home soon! I hope you are still working on your book!!

  2. Ciao Elliot,
    mi piace davvero il primo capitolo del tuo racconto. Hai molta fantasia e capacità di creare emozioni con le parole. Trovo proprio bella la figura del nonno John e dei suoi ” Tuesday stories” che vorrei tanto sapere come vanno avanti.
    Mi piace poi particolarmente la figura di Ted Dakota , la sua ironia ed il modo con cui la utilizza quando parla dei bulli.
    Spero che tu conservi sempre fantasia ed ironia e spero di poter presto leggere tutto il tuo racconto.

  3. grande elliot torna presto

  4. Marilyn Tucker

    Mike – What an incredibly talented and eloquent son you have, who can produce the beginnings of such a story! And what an amazing vocabulary!! Please know that my thoughts are with you and your son. – Marilyn

  5. Chris Campbell

    Hi Eli, A friend passed me the link to your book. I really like it and may start reading it to my nephews – well, an excuse for me to read it, because I am supposedly a “grown up”, and a fairly old one at that, but then who said the book was only for “kids”. Keep writing and we’ll keep reading! Chris

  6. Jennifer Flanigan

    Dear Elliot,
    You don’t know me, but your father and my husband are friends (which is how I came to read the draft first chapter of your book). Keep writing! You clearly have talent and stories to tell. I am looking forward to reading more by you.
    I hope we will have a chance to meet you soon.
    Warmest wishes,

  7. Hi Eli. I hope you get to read this soon because I am writing it to you. I met you and your grandparents in Florence on a Saturday in October a couple of years ago. I was visiting your father, who is my friend. You must have been about nine.

    I wish I had known that soon you were going to start writing. I am very interested in writing and writers. I wrote my first short stories when I was about your age and growing up in Illinois and Ohio.

    My question: Eli, when can I read the next chapter? I do want to see what comes next in the book. You really have an amazing command of story and language–for a writer of any age. You really do. In particular, I love the way you go from longer sentences to shorter ones, especially when you want to give an idea or something important to you some emphasis (which you do of course in the shorter sentence). In your case, though, you seem to “vary” your sentences natually and without having to think too much about it. You let the reader into your thoughts. And the words you choose are pleasing to the ear.

    And like Rob, in the first comment above, I like the way you handle a story-within-a-story. You also “borrow” well–like an older professional writer–from your own personal dreams to make your points (basketballs to arrows, which both hurt!).

    Please keep writing, Eli! Can’t wait to see the next chapter. And some day I will meet you and ask you questions about the title of your book. Which is wonderful!!

    Your friend,


  8. Eli, Thanks for a gripping beginning! The story within a story is already gripping and I can’t wait to see how it ties together. I loved the segué from dodgeball to arrows. Keep on writing, please!

  9. Pingback: Marianne Grin Update: 2012 « The World is Going Crazy

  10. Stacey Almazan Balagey

    Michael, reading this reminds me of you. Your son has your gift with the written word…I remember all the humorous and serious stuff you used to write in high school. You must be very proud of Elliot. Can’t wait to see the final book! Have shared this with my mom and dad. Wish you were here so I could give you a big hug…Much love to you, Stacey

  11. This is a great story. I’ve started reading it to my 3-year-old who is going to insist on future installments, and am also going to give it to my wife who teaches English to 6th graders. Thinking of you and your family.

  12. Mike, I was shocked to hear this. When I met you and Elliot for the first time and read a draft of this chapter in your home in Florence, I knew immediately that Elliot was getting all the support and guidance he needed to use and develop his talent. What I saw was a warm and nurturing environment and a father that cared immensely about his son’s advancement. Being wrenched from this environment must have been terribly unsettling for him and his siblings, and I pray that they will return home soon.

  13. I Miss You Really Badly Eli 😦 I hope things end soon! Keep On Smiling! 🙂
    Your Cousin Haley

  14. What a fantastic and thoughtful book! I cannot wait to read the rest of it. All my love to you and your family.

  15. I read the chapter. Wow, it is a great story and very well written! I am going to print it and let my twins and their school mate read during English class. He need to finish the book at home in Florence.

  16. Kathleen Scanlon

    Mike – What a lively sense of humor Eli has – I love it – the whole notion of schools giving out grades of G – below F – is really funny. Can you imagine have a gpa of “Z”? My eyes filled up when I read the line “On this particular Wednesday, there was nothing special in how the
    day started that would even hint my life was about to change forever.” The kids lives are changed forever – the time away from you and their family because of grave illness of their mother. Yet, love will prevail and the Half Elf will be part of the kids’ love story back to you and all that love them . . . Take care- Kathy

  17. It’s an honour to have a glimpse into Eli’s best seller before its publishing. I really look forward to buy the final version. A big big hug Rachele

  18. Mike, this is beautiful. Eli is a wonderful young man and he, along with the other children are going to be home soon I’m sure. We are all praying for you here in California! Karen

  19. Mike, Maggie, thank you for sharing this . I will pray, with my family, for your family. Easter is a very powerful remedy. Much love. Nino

  20. Mike, I had tears in my eyes reading this, though I am a 73 old man. Mike, I want you to know that I feel very close to you, I would do anything to help you, and that I am proud to be your friend, I am an optimist: this thing will be behind you soon and you will get your children back. I hug you. Ugo

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