Thank you for working with me once again.
Here is the manuscript critique. As always… I will give you my impressions as a first time reader, as well as, offer comments for improvement and/or clarification.
My words are in pink. Please note any deletions against the original.
My Mom’s a Ninja
by Thalia Atkins
My mom can do a bunch of things normal people can’t. Hypothesis: My mom’s a ninja.
Fact 1: She loves the color black. She has black pajamas, black dresses, black suits, black hats and black gloves! She even has a black car. There is even a store she goes to (NOTE: Black House, White Market) to buy more black clothes.
OK… so far I’m loving it. I love the concept. Just a few small criticisms.. I’m not sure the age of your audience on this but I would say “hypothesis” is a little bit beyond most kids’ vocabulary.
You could try one of the following:
guess as to why
P.S. I don’t know what is meant by (NOTE: Black House, White Market) – What am I missing? Is that the name of the store or shopping mall she goes to?
Fact 2: My mom loves to exercise but not like normal people. Her friends go to the gym and jog. But, my mom goes to the backyard and practices her moves. (NOTE: yoga and meditating)
I Love – “my mom goes to the backyard and practices her moves.” – However, you gotta give us more than meditation and yoga if my mom’s a ninja… why not a few karate kicks and nunchuck moves??
Fact 3: My mom loves when my sister and I practice tae kwon do. She says that she likes that it teaches us discipline and we get exercise. But, she likes watching me practice with my sword and she loved when my sister got her black ghee (NOTE: received her black belt).
I get the gist of Fact 3 but it’s too wordy. The word ‘ghee’ is clarified butter. The word ‘gi’ is the martial arts uniform. That needs to be made clear to the reader.
Why this has worked so well in Fact 1 and fact 2 is because you’ve gotten to the point quickly. It’s almost like these facts are punchlines. You’ve set it up really well and now we are reading through the facts like they are the ‘jokes’.
What is the point of Fact 3?? That the main character and his/her sister practice tae kwon do? Is it that they wear the gi? Is it that they use the swords? It’s funnier with just one point per fact.. If you know what I mean.
Fact 4: My mom loves to make dinner. Her lasagna and chicken fingers are the best! Yum! But, sometimes she makes a super fancy dinner with things like avocados and shrimp and arugula. Yuck! Luckily, she always has a Plan B. (Note: mac and cheese in front of kid with fancy meal in front of mom/parents)
Remember these facts are to back up why the main character thinks his/her mom is a ninja. Just because mom likes to make dinner does not make her a ninja because it’s not unusual enough. When she wears and buys everything in black then YES… she could be a ninja… making the best lasagna and chicken fingers then NO… she’s a candidate for a home cooking show. However, if she does it in a black apron wielding a katana sword and nunchucks then
YES… my mom’s a ninja.
Fact 5: My mom loves when I get ready for bed without a fuss. But sometimes I’m not tired and yell, “NO! I don’t want to go to bed!” Most parents would get mad and maybe yell back but not my mom. She is always calm and cool.
OK.. again… give us something specific to the ninja experience. For example, if she gets calm and cool and closes her eyes and begins reciting haikus backwards to a count of ten… then YES she could be a ninja.
Remember kids love outrageous stuff and you have a great premise here. Push the limits of the ninja theme and it will reward you..
Fact 6: My mom loves to read and snuggle with me (Note: at bedtime). She can read book after book after book. She is always focused.
My mom loves to fall asleep with me. (NOTE: girl thinking “black everything”, “yoga and meditating”, “martial arts” , “prepared” , “calm” , “focused”. – Maybe the emphasis here could be on being focused… so the mom could read her a book and put her in a trance at the same time.. with special hand movements or a crystal swinging like a pendulum… etc.
[Picture mom sneaking out of bedroom as child is sleeping – Agile like a ninja.] – YES I like this visual… it would make a good illustration for the book.
Fact: My mom is a ninja. [Picture of child with one eye open, laying on the bed like she is asleep looking at mom in ninja outfit sneak out of child’s room.] Cool ending.
Introduction–> Rising Action–> Climax–> Falling Action–> Resolution
I would suggest this story have a ‘high point’ in it somewhere in the middle. It feels a little bit like a list of facts. Maybe mom does some really cool ninja move to get the cat off the roof or something… or whatever.
OK… that’s it. Great job! Any questions please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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