Comment to 'I wonder if some of you lovely folks would cast an eye over my 2...'
  • Hi Kate

    Thanks for posting this. It’s certainly a very intriguing premise and has enormous amounts of promise. I very much get the feeling that something exciting is about to happen. As kids love the idea that a magical world is only an opening door away I think they could be drawn in very well.

    I do write MG, but 9-11, so not far off. Writing children’s books generally means that the protagonist is a few years older than the age group you are writing for and therefore could be about 10 or 11. I think that first person point of view does draw you in closer but it is of course limited due to having to be at the site of essentially all the action.

    My main comment would be to prune out anything that really doesn’t push the story forwards. The chapter describes the day on the beach but very few of the sentences/ideas actually push you towards ending up in the beach hut where presumably the real action starts. I feel that to keep children engaged the dialogue needs to be pacey, preferably funny and anything that’s mundane should be left out, for example the contents of the beach bag/details of cars etc..

    It also seems a massive coincidence that they happened to spot the correct beach hut and then they happened to find the key on the beach. I’m sure you are setting this up to be completely magical but my suspension of disbelief is pushed just a little too far for that. If the old man had dropped a note or whispered something like ‘The one with the green door. It will open for you, Polly’ then there could be more reason for the family going ahead to try it. Weird is completely fine but one does have two give a plausible reason for it. Coincidence is not an ideal reason for anything happening and I think you could strengthen up the reasoning for their decisions somewhat.

     I also felt there was an awful lot of telling eg at one point it says “she was jubilant”, rather than showing her doing a little dance on the spot or high-fiving her sister.

    So I would suggest sticking to story advancing material, funny, quirky, mysterious but leaving out anything mundane if it’s possible to do it without making the flow frankly stilted. I hope that’s helpful.

    Good luck with your writing.


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    • Hi Alison. Thank you for taking the time. I agree totally with what you are saying. When I read it back there is loads of superfluous information that adds nothing at all to the plot. I’m not entirely sure why I felt the need to describe every second of their day! They need to arrive at the beach hut in the evening but that I’m sure that can be done by just saying so. Plenty of stuff I can cut out. This is just how it flowed out of my biro. Now it’s typed up I need to get busy with the delete key! I watched Holly Dawson’s webinar the other day which was really helpful and I can see that my writing head has been busy but my editing head has not yet woken up.

      Reading it back I can see it was a bit odd Polly going straight to that beach hut. I need to make more of the bit where she sees the old man there. Make him beckon her maybe. I will do more jumping up and down etc too rather than just telling. Thanks again

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