The Writers Nexus

Sneak Peek Critique© [#1] Gerald Becomes A Wizard By Carl Hackman – A Short Children’s Comedy (VIDEO)

Swords Gerald Wizard

Sneak Peek Critique #1

GERALD BECOMES A WIZARD

A Short Story – Children’s Comedy

by Carl Hackman

(VIDEO Below)

 

Sneak Peek Critiques are about the Importance of getting your audience’s attention immediately.

Many editors, myself included, know if there are problems on the first page of a manuscript… the rest of it won’t get read.

One very experienced editor has said they know within the first 8 LINES if the story is worth reading or not.

This is why I’ve created the SNEAK PEEK CRITIQUES section on the Writers Nexus.

I’ve chosen to review the first 8 Lines from a variety of self published ebooks.

Many of them can be found on SMASHWORDS. Smashwords.com has been around since 2008 and was formed to help independent authors self publish their work. It was founded by Mark Coker.

For any writer who is or wants to be self published or traditionally published, my hope is that these Sneak Peek Critiques guide you on your writing journey.

Please enjoy this Sneak Peek Critique…

From GERALD BECOMES A WIZARD (short story) by Carl Hackman

Gerald leaned against a soft tower of straw reading his latest wizarding text. – First sentence

He would have called it an educational piece, but due to it being mainly constructed of colorful images, we would have called it a comic. – Second sentence.

Gerald devoured these valuable stories of famous wizards with gusto, every penny he acquired as gifts and wages from his father was saved in an old wizard’s pouch hidden under a floorboard beneath his bed. Third sentence

He didn’t earn much, but what he did he saved until he could afford a text book—one of the floppy ones filled with pictures. -4th sentence.

The huge pile of straw he had secreted himself behind was the perfect place to read, and he knew that he must study hard if he was to become a famous wizard. – 5th sentence.

The fact that he was just an eleven year old boy living in a little dreamworld had no affect whatsoever on his aspirations. – 6th sentence.

Also, the small detail that not one person in his family had ever been a wizard didn’t detract from his ambition. -7th sentence.

This was quite a large problem because the only way to become a wizard was to reach the dizzying height of four-foot-eight; well that and the requirement of the family tree to contain a magical gene in it somewhere down the line. – 8th sentence

 

GERALD BECOMES A WIZARD (short story) by Carl Hackman

OK… “Gerald leaned against a soft tower of straw reading his latest wizarding text.” – is the very first line of this story.

Writers underestimate just how important this first line of ANY story is.

In this case, it’s not too bad. It’s not great either. We’ve got a certain amount of info about the main character that sort of compels us to continue reading.

Leaning against a ‘soft tower’ of straw while reading, is technically an action. However, it’s not a very active action.  You want as much action as possible in any story. This sentence gives us the main character’s name, his interest in wizarding and the possibility that he lives on a farm.

Next… “He would have called it an educational piece, but due to it being mainly constructed of colorful images, we would have called it a comic. Gerald devoured these valuable stories of famous wizards with gusto, every penny he acquired as gifts and wages from his father was saved in an old wizard’s pouch hidden under a floorboard beneath his bed. He didn’t earn much, but what he did he saved until he could afford a text book—one of the floppy ones filled with pictures.”

The above is the rest of the first paragraph. Basically, it’s saying that Gerald saved his money to be able to buy as many wizarding graphic novels as possible.

Rule of Thumb: If you can say it in fewer words then do so.

It makes for a smoother and easier reading experience.

The second paragraph goes like this… “The huge pile of straw he had secreted himself behind was the perfect place to read, and he knew that he must study hard if he was to become a famous wizard. The fact that he was just an eleven year old boy living in a little dreamworld had no affect whatsoever on his aspirations. Also, the small detail that not one person in his family had ever been a wizard didn’t detract from his ambition.”

OK… again… these are a lot of words to tell us he’s eleven, studies hard to be a wizard without the help of mentoring. Uhm… Okay. I like the premise. It just needs to be cut down to the bare minimum of words to get the point across.

Less is more.

The third paragraph is this… “This was quite a large problem because the only way to become a wizard was to reach the dizzying height of four-foot-eight; well that and the requirement of the family tree to contain a magical gene in it somewhere down the line. But, the apparent absence of such a gene in any of Gerald’s forefathers made no difference to him; he was going to be a wizard.”

OK… we’ve got some new information here. Gerald needs to grow to be 4’8 and have some wizarding genetics. So Gerald is a very determined dreamer. I like the premise. I just have some difficulty with the wordiness of getting the reader to this stage.

Bottom Line:

Does this writing make you want to read more? The answer is: Maybe.

A few other technical issues with the pdf download from Smashwords.com. The cover of the book was NOT in the download. Instead the first page has a picture of the author with the copyright. This is not a professional format.

The cover should be in the listing on the platform it’s sold on. In this case, smashwords.com. It should also be on the very first page of the digital book.

A short introduction or dedication is always nice as well before launching in to the story. This was a short story so a table of contents was probably unnecessary.

However, the pdf has 29 pages and 13,000 words. That’s more than long enough to have a few chapters. A table of contents would be appropriate for a story of this length.

Thank you for reading this Sneak Peak Critique for GERALD BECOMES A WIZARD by Carl Hackman

Thank you for reading. I wish you many imaginative tales.

R.M. Robbins  info@thewritersnexus.com

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