Hi and Thank You for ordering my editing service. I like to go through a writer’s work as any first time reader would. My comments and critiques will reflect that. My words will always be in pink. Please note any deletions against the original. Let’s get started…
First of all…. a working title is necessary. Not just on the word doc… a title needs to accompany the manuscript. In short, name your baby. You can always change the title later.
This is Cleo. She loves to run and play outside.
Cleo is a buffalo. She lives with her Daddy Buffalo and Papa Buffalo.
One day, as Cleo was playing outside, she felt a tickle in her throat.
The tickle grew, then burst out of her mouth, “HICCUP!”
“Oh my!” exclaimed Cleo. “What was that?”
Before she could think another thought, the tickle was back, “HIC”
“Hello Cleo!” said Kyle the Wolf. Kyle was Cleo’s best friend.
“Want to play with me?” asked Kyle.
“Kyle, something’s ‘HIC’ wrong!” Cleo tried to tell Kyle about the tickle, but she had trouble getting out her words through each burst of sound.
OK… so far not a bad start to this editing service sample.
This looks like a book for kids 6 and under. I think the wording is appropriate for that age. You mention in your message that Cleo has same sex parents. You’re assuming the reader will know that. You’ve only told us so far that she lives with Daddy and Papa Buffalo. They could be father and son which would make them Cleo’s father and grandfather.. right? Let us know. Spell it out. Don’t assume kids will know that Daddy and Papa are her parents.
Also, this is very close to being a picture book but not quite. Which means it’s important to give more descriptions and not rely on the pictures to tell the story. The pictures must backup the text… not tell the story. Bottom line, if it’s not in the text it’s not in the pics.
“Cleo, nothing is wrong,” said Kyle. “You just have a case of the hiccups.”
“The hiccups?” asked Cleo.
“Yes,” answered Kyle. “I had them last week. My mommy helped me get rid of them. So now I can help you!”
Cleo was glad Kyle could help her get rid of the hiccups. They made a funny sound, which Cleo liked. But they felt strange in her throat, which Cleo did not like as much.
OK…. any story, including kids books must have an external conflict that moves the story forward.
It’s starting to stagnate and getting rid of hiccups is not strong enough to hold your reader’s attention.
Unless there is a consequence that makes it very difficult to continuing hiccuping. eg… Cleo bounces 6 feet in the air every time she hiccups and lands with a thud each time, potentially endangering herself and others around her if the hiccuping continues.
Up the stakes. Make it fun and funny. I like that a female buffalo is friendly with a male wolf. Play on that more if you can.
“HIC. What should we try first, Kyle?” Cleo asked.
“Let’s try holding our breath and counting to 10,” suggested Kyle.
Cleo took a deep breath. She held the air in her cheeks as Kyle counted to ten.
“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.”
Cleo slowly let out her breath. No hiccups! Cleo thought the hiccups had gone when, “HICCUP!”
“Hmmm,” said Kyle, as he scratched his chin. “Holding my breath worked for my hiccups.”
“Hmmm,” Cleo scratched her chin as well. “What else should we try?”
They scratched their chins?? – There is a big difference between anthropomorphic characters and human-like animal characters. Either one is fine but you must keep it consistent. This is the first time you’ve described their behavior. Do you see what I mean?
The specifics must be kept consistent in regard to their world for your reader to go along with it. Human beings need oxygen to survive and are at the mercy of gravity.
Make your characters react to the rules of their world as we are forced to live within the limitations of ours.
Then your readers will follow you anywhere. This is the key to this editing service too. Writing in such a way that the reader knows you know what you’re doing.
Kyle remembered that when his sister gets the hiccups, they go away if she gets startled.
Cleo agrees to try to scare the hiccups away. Kyle finds a hiding place while Cleo closes her eyes.
“Ready or not, here I ‘HIC’ come,” Cleo said.
She wandered around the yard and tried not to think about where Kyle was hiding.
“BOO!” yelled Kyle as he popped out from behind a rock.
“Eeek! Kyle you got me!” said Cleo. She was startled for a moment, but then giggled at Kyle’s funny faces.
“Are they gone this time?” asked Kyle.
Cleo and Kyle waited quietly. Then, “HICCUP!”
“Oh dear,” said Kyle. “I’m out of ideas.”
Cleo thought about what to try next.
This type of dialogue and information doesn’t do anything to move the story forward.
Kids, like any reader want to be engaged. There isn’t anything happening here. There are no stakes. There’s no humor. It’s just a couple of kids trying to get rid of some hiccups.
It’s a story not real life. There’s no point writing a story if there isn’t something unusual or heightened about it… right? I don’t want to be harsh. I’m trying to get you to think more like a writer and get the best story out of you for this editing service.
“Maybe I should drink a glass of water?” she said.
“Great idea!” No. It’s a regular idea. shouted Kyle. “That may help get the tickly feeling out of your throat.” How does Kyle know Cleo has a tickly feeling in her throat? She didn’t say that to him.
Kyle and Cleo went inside to find her daddies. Please explain this. This is a HUGE assumption. Some kids may understand the concept of same sex parents but most won’t. Give kids something to ponder.
“Hi Cleo, hi Kyle,” Papa Buffalo said as the kids came through the door. “What are you two doing?”
“Hi Mr. Buffalo,” said Kyle.
“Hi Papa,” said Cleo, “we need a glass of water, quick!”
She had hardly finished speaking when a loud *HIC* escaped her mouth.
I’m not sure about the *** around the HIC. I don’t think that’s correct, but I will let your proofreader correct that. It’s not critical at this stage in this editing service.
“My, my, my,” said Papa as he filled a glass. “Is that a hiccup I hear?”
“Yes sir,” Kyle answered as Cleo drank her water. “We tried counting to 10, but it didn’t do any good. Then we tried to spook the hiccups away. That didn’t work either. It was Cleo’s idea to drink some water.”
“Well that’s a fine idea, Cleo.” said Papa.
As she set down her glass, Cleo breathed a sigh of relief. Surely the hiccups had gone!
A buffalo using a glass to drink water??
*HIC* “Oh no!” cried Cleo. “The hiccups are still here.” Cleo felt discouraged.
“Hi everyone,” said Daddy as he came in from work. “What is going on?” What type of work does he do?
“It seems our Cleo has a serious case of the hiccups.” answered Papa.
“I see.” said Daddy. “That’s not so serious! Did you try a nice glass of water?”
“Yes Daddy,” answered Cleo. “And we tried scaring them away and holding my breath. Nothing seems to work.”
Cleo felt like giving up. “I guess my hiccups are here to stay.”
“Nonsense,” said Daddy. “You’re a smart girl, Cleo. I bet you come up with another idea.”
“Don’t give up just yet,” said Papa. “Keep thinking.”
There has got to be a bigger more serious problem they can wrestle with than hiccups.
They’re just talking about the same thing. Let’s try this… We tried that… Why don’t you try this… it’s the same kind of dialogue.
Unless they’re super charged hiccups find a bigger and/or more extraordinary challenge for them to tackle.
Daddy gave Papa and Cleo kisses, then went upstairs to change. Papa cleaned Cleo’s glass and went outside to get the mail.
Cleo and Kyle scratched their chins and came up with new ideas for getting rid of the hiccups. They tried handstands. Then they tried blowing bubbles. They tried singing loudly. But the hiccups were still there.
“You could try eating something,” suggested Kyle. “Maybe carrot sticks?” Carrot sticks were Kyle’s favorite snack. ??? A wolf’s favorite snack is carrots?
“Hmm,” thought Cleo. “A snack may work, but carrots are too crunchy. Maybe something creamy like yogurt or…” Cleo got excited, “or peanut butter!”
Cleo loved peanut butter, and she thought it might feel nice on her tickly throat.
She got the peanut butter out of the pantry while Kyle fished a spoon out of the drawer. Cleo took the spoon and put a heaping spoonful of peanut butter into her mouth. We do not need this info. Unless it moves the story forward DO NOT include it.
She smacked the peanut butter down. Then she took a second spoonful and ate that too.
“Mmmm!” said Cleo. “That was so tasty!”
“How do you feel?” asked Kyle.
Cleo waited. And waited. And waited some more.
Waiting is not active. Action, action & more action.
Always move the story forward. That’s one of the biggest things I want to get across in this editing service.
“They’re gone!” she said at last. “My hiccups are gone!”
“Hooray!” said Kyle as he pumped his fist in the air. Pumped his fist? What about a paw?
Cleo and Kyle danced around the kitchen. Papa and Daddy came in to see what the fuss was about.
“They’re gone, dads!” shouted Cleo. “The hiccups have gone away!”
“Hooray!” shouted Daddy as he scooped Cleo up into his arms.
“We’re proud of you, Cleo,” said Papa. “You and Kyle worked together to try old tricks and think up new ones. And you kept trying, even when you felt like giving up.”
*HICCUP* It was Kyle this time.
Cleo!” said Kyle. “Now I have the hiccups!”
“Don’t worry, Kyle,” said Cleo. “I know just what to try.”
OK… hiccups are far too ordinary to make this story sing. Make up something new and crazy or make something familiar unusual in some way.
Also, there is too much dialogue and text that talks about the same thing. Give them a real challenge so they can really wrestle with something. Think about their world. It doesn’t work if it’s not consistent with their physicality and behavior.
You’ve also got to address the issue of same sex parents. Most kids are not going to assume that’s what you mean by Daddy and Papa.
THE END of this editing service.
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