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‘Crocs Crust’ – Developmental Editing Example

This is a (real) editing example of one of my developmental edits for a client.

It’s a children’s story. I’ve helped many new writers in this capacity.

Writing for kids is not nearly as easy as many adults might think.

There have been no changes except a name here or there to protect the writers work.

**As well, you should know I do very little proofreading in this type of edit.**


I like to go through a writer’s work as any first time reader would. My comments and critiques will reflect that and always be in blue and pink. Please note any deletions against the original.

Let’s get started….

Crocs Crust – Titles are Always Capitalized

Chapter 1

Roko is a crocodile who lives in Australia. He grew up in Tazmania but moved to Cairns to live with his cousins. Roko first thought he wanted to be a magician but realized he didn’t have any tricks or magic for that matter! He then thought, You know what I’ll be good at comedy! I’ll become a comedian and travel the world making people laugh! Until he realised he did not have many jokes and the ones he had didn’t make people laugh.

OK… the first few sentences of any book or chapter must be strong so the reader is pulled in. Nothing has happened so far. How about starting Roko off in the middle of some action? That’s the best way to grab a reader’s attention immediately.

What you’ve done here so far, is show how Roko is making his decision to become whatever it is he wants to be. Instead… Show us the action… don’t tell us about what he did or didn’t do… just show us.

**A character’s thoughts are always italicized and never in quotations.** Also, it’s best if you can have your main character with at least one other.

When the main character is alone there’s not enough opportunity to interact, have dialogue or move the story forward with action

One night he was lying on the beach and wished upon a shooting star in desperation, Please star give me something I am good at and I will be the best in the world at it! He sat there in silence and became frustrated.”Nothing?” Roko shouted out loud.

He stood up in a muddle. “Right, thats it! I’m going back to Tazzie. There’s nothing here for me,” he exclaimed as he threw a rock into the darkness and stormed off.

On his way out – out of where? I thought he was on the beach? he heard a loud shout, “Ouch! Hey watch it!”

“Oh, my what was that? I’m in for it now!” Roko gulped.

He sounds like an awfully timid crocodile. OK… that’s fine I guess… we need more action though. Nothing much has happened yet except a lot of yearning and wondering.

**Know when to use capitalization…**

Chapter 2     {Editing Example}

Roko looked around, “Who’s there?” he shouted. Just then he saw two eyes peering back at him.

“What’s the big idea? That hit me in the noggin!” the voice responded. Roko scurried closer and saw a small ferret.

**Different character’s dialogue = different and separate line.**

“Oh! I am sorry,” said Roko, “I didn’t think anyone was out here.”

“Ya, well be more careful next time. I’ll have a bump on me head the size of a mango after that!”

Roko looked curiously at the dazzled friend, “I haven’t seen you around here before?”

My name is Fergal the Ferret! I live across the river in Vogelville! Nice to meet you. You want to join us playing in a game of water polo tomorrow?”

**Capitalize names of people and places, please.**

No,” said Roko, “I’m going back to Tazzie!”

TAZZIE? Too bad. Oh well, let’s share a meal before your trip tomorrow!” offered Fergal.

Roko and Fergal strolled down the river embankment under the starlight. They came across an old pizza shack that looked like it was closing or ready to fall down. They ordered a pizza and 2 lemonades.

Ok, so what is the point of this story?…. it starts out with Roko wondering what he should do with his life and he meets a ferret who invites him to have pizza and lemonade. Kids want action and adventure. Something has to happen.

“Great,” said Roko, “I love pizza!”

Me too,” said Fergal!

“Eat up boys,” said the old turtle behind the counter, “This place be closing soon and won’t be openin again.”

“What do you mean,” asked Fergal,”You’re closing?”

“Nobody wants my pizzas anymore and I’m getting too old for this anyway!” said the old turtle.

What’s your name?” Fergal asked the turtle.

“Terrance,” replied the turtle.

Pleased to meet you Terrance.”

Just then Roko got a brain wave. A light bulb went off in his head. Up he turned to Fergal with wide eyes! It was the wish he had asked for!

Chapter 3        {Editing Example}

Let’s take over the pizza shack! Open our own pizza business!” shrieked Roko.

Roko loved pizza. He knew every type of pizza there was!

He was a pizza fanatic. “Hmmmmmmmmm,” said Fergal as he pondered.

Fergal always had an inquisitive mind, was especially good with numbers and was opportunistic.

I can see how it could work but…….”

No buts. Let’s do it!” shouted Roko, now up on his toes with excitement.

**Please study how to write dialogue and when to capitalize words. Different characters have separate lines for their dialogue.**

The turtle agreed to give the boys the business on one condition; they had to make the best pizzas in the world. So good, that people would travel from miles around to taste.

So they didn’t have to pay for the business? The turtle just gave it to them?

It’s a tall order, but with your business mind and my unbeatable taste for pizza I know we can do it!” said Roko.

Roko and Fergal shook hands, “Agreed!”

Roko and Fergal just met… how does Roko know that Fergal has a good head for business? Also, if this is Roko’s destiny… get him here FASTER!!!

Instead of Fergal and Roko not knowing each other… have them be good friends… get them to the pizza joint faster…. get to the action FASTER!!

You have a pretty good sense of dialogue… even with just the few words that the old turtle speaks… you’ve given him a personality. It’s clear that you can see your own characters and their uniqueness. Now you have to translate that to us in the form of a story. Always set your characters up for more and more action. Get them doing things not just talking about doing things.

This is going to be the best pizza parlor there ever was!” Roko said.

The turtle was delighted with himself that his business would stay open and go on for generations.

That night Roko lay in bed, full to the brim with excitement. It was like waiting for Santa on Christmas eve.

I cant wait to start! What will we call our new pizza parlour? and with that thought Roko fell asleep.

Chapter 4

Roko woke to his alarm, brrrrrrrrr. Wake up is 7am. It’s time to rise and shine!

Roko jumped out of bed and bumped his head with excitement!

So many questions were running through his mind, What will be my first pizza?

What toppings, sizes, shapes?

Where are my shoes? he pondered as he scrambled around the room.

Just get to the action!!! This is not interesting and it doesn’t move the story forward in any way.

He skipped downstairs and grabbed some orange juice and breakfast cereal.

He grabbed a glance at his watch, “Oh my,” he said, “Look at the time! I better get going, there’s so much to do!”

An entire chapter to get him awake and out the door? Think like your reader…. would you want to read this chapter?

Chapter 5       {Editing Example}

Roko arrived at the pizza house very early. He found Fergal already there who was equally as excited as he was.

Too many exclamation points in general. A ?! at the end of sentence is too much.  

“What will we call the place?” Roko said.

Pretty Pizzas? No. Fergal’s Frighteningly Fast Food?” joked Fergal.

Hey! What about Crocs Crust?” said a voice.

Who said that?”asked Roko and up popped a head from behind the counter. It was Terrance!

“Don’t mind me. I have been here all morning just gathering what’s left of my stuff from the shop.”

Roko and Fergal looked at each other, “Crocs Crust? Hmmmmmmm.”

It has a ring to it,” said Roko.

I like it,” said Fergal, “Crocs Crust it is!”

Chapter 6

The store was all polished up and ready to open. There was only one thing missing. The pizzas!

With all the hustle and bustle and excitement, Roko and Fergal had forgot all about the most important part, the pizza! Seriously?

Ok,” said Roko, “I have the perfect pizza toppings. Boots and soda cans!”

Boots and soda cans?” Fergal said, “You can’t have boots and soda cans on a pizza!”

But crocs like old boots.”

Fergal jumped in, “Yeah, but nobody else does.”

Hmm Ok. What about cheese twigs and…”

Better, but still I dont think very many people like twigs,” said Fergal, “Try something more people friendly.”

Ahhhh, I see, said Roko.

What about cheese, pineapple and mushroom.”

Great! Thats it! Keep ’em coming, shouted Fergal. Seriously?

Roko had finally got it!

For hours into the night Roko created the most amazing pizzas all with the help of Fergals friendly guidance!

Now they were finally all set to open their pizza shop. Tomorrow would be the grand opening!

OK… here we go with the deep dive critique…

This entire story could be told in a page and a half max… then you could start the real story. Nothing happens here. There’s too much talk and wondering and pondering and no enough action.

The whole point of a story is to get us to the good parts ASAP. Build a framework for the reader to fill in with their imagination. There’s nothing to fill in here.

I always love stories that are anthropomorphic in nature… use that more. You started to do that a bit and then fell back on the “human” aspects of your characters.

You could start this whole thing off with Fergal and Roko in the pizza shop discussing the purchase of the pizza joint.. then you can take them on a real journey from there….

Have a real point, theme & intention to this experience. If the point to the story is to encourage kids to keep trying things and searching until you find your purpose in Life… great! Then get them to the pizza shop faster and show us what happens…

Will it be happily every after once the pizza shop is opened? No… of course not… it never is. So what happens? Maybe they are wildly successful in their first few months because they’ve come up with a pizza topping that both humans and animals love.

If that is the case, you can show the difficulties and joys of having the human world interact with the anthropomorphic world. Just make it into something special. Something worthy of telling.

Maybe Fergal and Roko become locally or internationally famous for their pizza shop and the new found attention puts strains on their relationship. Maybe Fergal gets a squirrel girlfriend and she wants to “redesign” the place… then maybe Roko suddenly gets hungry for squirrel…

Now… Re: Chapter 4…

Would you tell your friend or spouse how you woke up in the morning, showered, got dressed, made your coffee and made your way out the door? If not, why should we read about it?

I don’t want to sound like I’m slamming you, but I see a lot of this. New writers underestimate the amount of thought, effort and discipline it takes to write a good story. Even if it’s for kids.

So, I encourage you to keep writing. Really think about the point you want to make with a ferret and crocodile who open a pizza shop together on the beach. That right there is an interesting concept… now make a real story out of it.

For more on the writer at The Nexus go to this page….

You may also want to take a look at these curated tips…

3 Questions for a Screenwriter

Check out this book review on Stephen King’s ‘Mr. Mercedes.’

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Email: thewritersnexus@gmail.com

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Renee, The Writer at The Nexus, writes about publishing and writing for TV, and stage. Renee is also a voiceover performer, podcast host and coach. She'll critique any piece of writing you send her.

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