I will give you my impressions as a first time reader, as well as, offer comments for improvement and/or clarification in this childrens book edit. My words will always be in pink. Please note any deletions against the original. Let’s get started…
A working title is always a good idea to include with the manuscript. It helps the editor/beta reader to connect the title to the story. In essence, name your baby. You can always change the name later.
A Long Journey
I am a six year old girl from a small village in Thailand. I am going on a new adventure to America. To a new land. A land of freedom.
I am happy to be riding on a big plane towards America! We can only take what will fit on the plane. I am sad leaving so many things behind.
OK…. you mentioned you hadn’t written anything like this before. This beginning is what is often called an information ‘dump.’ Although I prefer the word ‘drain.’ This means that you’re telling us not showing us the story. It’s a very common mistake with new writers.
What you want to do is provide this information within the context of the character/s performing relevant action and dialogue. I’ve written an ebook precisely for writing issues like this. If you wanted to receive the ebook for free just go to http://thewritersnexus.com/ and sign up to be on the email list and it will be sent to you automatically.
I am amazed that the airport is so busy! People are everywhere. Everything is moving so fast. The noises are loud. The lights are so bright. This place looks so different from the village! I am wondering how long the trip will take.
I have made it to America! The buildings and houses are so big. Things are moving around me quickly. I miss my friends, the school, and my village.
I miss my old life.
Is school the same in America, I wonder? Will the teacher be nice? Will I be able to understand what they are saying? Maybe they won’t be able to understand me? Will I be able to talk and play with the other kids? Will the teacher and students like me?
OK… so she’s a six year old girl from Thailand who took a plane to the US. Is she by herself? We know nothing about her at this point. Why is she here? We don’t know her name or anything about her circumstances.
All or most of that information should have been shared with us at this point within the context of action and dialogue.
I am brave! I am going to my new school. The school building looks so big! I am a bit scared to walk in, and I don’t want mommy and daddy to leave me. Tears well up in my eyes as my mommy and daddy hugged me goodbye. I am so alone, and feel small in this big place.
OK… so now suddenly she’s at the school? So she arrived at the airport with her parents and then suddenly she’s at school… hhmmmm.
Every good story follows this basic outline:
Introduction–> Rising Action–> Climax–> Falling Action–> Resolution
Without this basic storytelling structure you don’t have a story. You have a rough outline for a story.
I am thankful for my new teacher. The teacher said my name to the class. She smiled at me, and so did the other kids. Their smiles are beautiful. I understand their smiles.
I’m strong. The first few months of school have been tough. It is hard for me to understand what is happening. I really watch my teacher, and follow what the other kids are doing. At times, I feel lonely. I miss parts of my old life.
I’m growing. I feel like a baby sometimes trying to learn everything I can about this new place. My mistakes are helping me grow. I am learning something new everyday about my new life.
I am excited about living in America. It is beautiful here. I see and smell the beautiful fragrance of the flowers. Just like the flowers, I’m starting to come to life. My how things have changed for me. I have grown so much into my new life.
Well, Thailand is very beautiful too.
However, you haven’t told us what Thailand looks like or compared details of the two places. You’re assuming the reader will know what Thailand looks like and what parts of America have fragrant beautiful flowers. Since most places in the US don’t have lots of beautiful fragrant flowers… right?
I am a six year old girl from a small village in Thailand. It has been a long journey since I first came to America full of ups and downs. I am happy to be in this new place. I’ve learned that people won’t always remember what you do, but will always remember how you made them feel inside. I have a found a new place to call home. I am free.
Why is she free now? When was she caged? We don’t know. You haven’t told us. How is America full of ups and downs? You haven’t told us what they are. What is the new place? You’ve told us it’s America, but we don’t know which part specifically.
The part about people not always remembering what you do, but how you made them feel comes out of nowhere. There is no reference to it anywhere and seems like a large concept for a six year old.
In general, this is a good theme and plot line for a six year old audience. However, I encourage you to learn the storytelling basics.
Here is a quick example of how you could start the story and still include the information you provided…
***Frankie the Frog let out a big, “Ribbet! Look at these awesome pads! They don’t grow this big in Jersey,” and leapt to the nearest lily pad.
His best friend Johnny the Turtle and he had taken Frankie’s reptilian made Ferrari to the Great Florida Swamp Lands Reptile Academy where they were about to begin the semester. Frankie loved his ‘Frogerrari.’
“Woo hoo!” yelled Johnny. He was flipped onto his turtle shell doing the back stroke in the Great Florida Swamp.
The registration deadline was 4pm. If they missed it they wouldn’t be admitted and 3 years of planning would go down the drain.***
I’ll leave it there. Thank you. If my words have value in this childrens book critique please consider leaving positive feedback.
Wishing you much imagination…
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