In Search of the Greatest Treat
Thank you for ordering my developmental editing service. I will give you my impressions as a first time reader, as well as, offer comments for improvement and/or clarification. My words will always be in pink. Please note any deletions against the original. Let’s take a look at your metered rhyming verse for kids,
I like the title and subtitle. It already suggests a dog as the main character and a lot of fun.
Hello ______ !
Thank you for coming along with me, 9
But are you ready for what you’ll see? 9
Adventure, trouble, even a monster or two. 12
Ok, not monsters, but the adventure part’s true! 13
My name is Spike, and I’m very smart. 9
I use my nose, my head, and my heart. 9
Yet on this adventure I need a friend 10
To help me make it until the end. 9
OK.. quite a good start. Metered rhyming verse for kids is the toughest way to tell a story and you’ve done a nice job here so far.
The numbers at the end are the number of syllables in the line. Along with the rhyme the beat pattern should stay the same. It’s off but I’m not going to get too strict with it. The biggest thing is the storytelling. That should always be paramount.
So far you’ve introduced us to Spike as if he is talking to us. That’s a nice approach.
What you haven’t done yet is clearly defined that he is a dog. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking the pictures do part of the storytelling and that they will or should ‘fill in the blanks.’ They never do that.
Pictures are there ONLY to backup the text. The text always does the storytelling with kids 4 and up which you’ve stating you are writing for here. The pictures are there to be a redundant source for the text. Text and pics should match.
Having said that, since the title seems to strongly suggest the main character is a dog, make it clear Spike is a dog. He’s invited us on this adventure we should be clear he is a dog by now.
It started on my daily walk.
Met a cat and had a talk.
Then I saw the sign on the post.
World’s Greatest Dog Treat contest on the coast.
I love, love love treats can’t you see.
That’s why the winner, must be me.
The top dog will earn a lifetime supply
So now you see why we have to try.
Together we can go on a journey so great,
Pack your bags, grab your leash, no time to wait!
Hold on… I guess if we are going to explore,
We don’t need that silly leash anymore!
OK… this is nice rhyming and storytelling although the beat pattern is all off. Remember you are trying to accomplish something very difficult here – Metered Rhyming Verse For Kids.
Although, I really like the idea that a dog who loves dog treats wants to enter a contest where the 1st prize is a lifetime supply there are a few missing details.
To make this stronger it needs to be more specific.
For example, it says Spike goes for a walk and sees the poster for the contest and decides to enter, then he immediately tells us to pack our bags. Yet, it’s never said that the contest is for those who can find the best treats. Is that the case? Or is it finding the best recipe and then baking them? And where are they going exactly? Is this a national or international contest? It just says it’s on ‘the coast’. Small details like this make a big difference in storytelling.
First place to check? The USA!
Good thing it’s a sunny day.
I’ll take a bite of Chicago’s best.
Their pan pizza’s better than all the rest.
So is their apple pie, and fried chicken can’t lose.
How are we supposed to choose?
But our journey just started, this couldn’t be it.
We have to taste each and every bit.
America has delicious snacks and pie
Now to Italy we go with a plane in the sky.
OK… so where is this taking place? You saw a sign on a walk saying there is a contest for the World’s greatest dog treat on the coast, but not which coast.
Then it says we should check the USA first and then it goes on to state popular US foods. Where are the dog treats?
If it’s a dog treat contest you can connect these types of ‘people’ foods to Spike and dog treats specifically. We also need to know which coast the contest is on. We also need to know if you are looking for actual dog treats that someone else made or a recipe to make them.
Also, with metered rhyming verse for kids you’ll need to make these foods specific to Spike.
After all, he’s the main character and the one excited about this dog treat contest. Tell us how and why he gets so excited about all these different treats. What do they mean to him besides a pleasant treat. Help us get invested in Spike.
Also, find a way to remind us of Spike’s name. Spike is a good name to rhyme to anyway.
As well, it’s never a good idea to have just one character in a story. They don’t have the opportunity to have dialogue. Maybe give him a sidekick? The cat maybe?
Rome, the capital, is a beautiful place
But why is that man, giving me that face?
“Bellissimo!” Who are they?
“Bellissimo” We better run away!
They think my spots are pepperoni? No!
Where or where can we go?
My tummy is growling, we need a snack.
Gelato will bring my energy back.
Maybe spaghetti and lasagna as well.
Oh yum yum yum, it all tastes so swell.
“Bellissimo!” They still want me as their treat!
These spots are cute, but not to eat!
Although, Italy had meatballs full of taste,
Let’s cruise to Mexico with no time to waste!
Mexico welcomed one and all
Should you be short, furry, or tall.
They have great salsa, spicy and hot
And they eat it quite a lot.
The flavors here are sure to inspire,
Except I feel like my mouth is on fire!
These treats are great, but we need to try more.
That is what this story is for!
If we don’t like spicy, maybe we’ll like sweet.
China is where we might find the treat.
OK… it’s fine that you want to take your reader around the globe with metered rhyming verse for kids like this, but you’ve got to anchor it with the contest. Always make logical links and character connections in your storytelling. Make it specific to the contest which you introduced right at the start.
China is the oldest country to date
With plenty of time to make food taste great.
Look I see treats, being made in a bunch.
Guess it’s good we forgot to eat our lunch!
Oooh sticky rice cake, tofu, and beans.
They even have peas and collard greens!
China is preparing for the Chinese New Year
It is the biggest celebration here.
We better go and not get in their way.
I’m sure we will come back another day.
Alright, if treats are what we are looking for.
Let’s try India to find some more!”
It’s starting to feel kind of rushed for a story set in metered rhyming verse for kids.
This is the trouble with trying to fit in too many people/places/things where there is a generalized theme. It starts to sound repetitive instead of like a fun adventure. If you concentrated on a couple of countries and had more food adventures connected specifically to the dog treat contest then it would be more engaging.
Maybe Spike (and company??) try to help one of the bakers or chefs and screws it all up. Again, bring it back to the contest. Does Spike have to make the treats? Perhaps he just finds them and brings them back? Maybe he ‘cheats’ by trying to hire a renown chef to make the treats for him and pass them off as his own? The more specific you can make it the more detail and humor you can put into it.
Wow it’s beautiful, but… Who is that?
“I am Ganesha, as a matter of fact.”
Ah yes, the Indian God quite well known.
The god of wisdom and his courage is shown.
“Try the Laddu.” Ganesha gave us a dish.
It is better than I could have wished!
A ball of rice dough with nuts on the outside
It is mixed with sugar and delicious inside!
So sugary sweet, and oh boy I am full.
The taste is incredible, it was wonderful.
Oh no. I can’t move. We need a break!
Too much food can make your belly ache.
Let’s thank Ganesha for showing us around.
It’s time we go to Africa and see what can be found!
I really like that we are going on a world tour, but it all feels very rushed and we aren’t getting to know Spike. And ultimately that’s how and why readers get engaged… because we care about the characters. Who is Spike? Bring his personality to the forefront. At this point it feels like a very quick food tour of the world yet we’re not getting to know anyone or the cultures very much.
“Hello travelers.” Awe, this Monkey is sweet.
“Hello! We are looking for the best treat?” – Where did the monkey come from and why? Specifics pls.
“Monkey Bread! That’s what you need”
“It comes from a fruit that starts as a seed.” – Doesn’t all fruit start as a seed?
I tasted it and what the monkey said was true, – What did the monkey say was true?
While we eat under the Boabab tree for two.
“Be careful! Don’t become someone else’s treat!”
Roar! That sure brought us to our feet.
“Run! Run fast!” Keep running with me,
I think there are more lions behind the tree!
Let’s get our tasty adventure back on track,
Maybe Iceland would have a delicious snack.
Iceland is cold, but it feels good on my fur.
Wait, did you hear that? It sounded like a purr.
Ah! It’s a cat! Does she have what we need?
“These are treats for you. So tasty indeed.”
We open the seal because it’s closed pretty well.
Oh, no! NO! What is that smell?
Why is a cat meeting them in Iceland and what is sealed that needs to be opened?
There are a lot of assumptions being made as to how the reader will interpret this.
How does the cat know they are looking for treats? Does the cat hand them a bag or a box of treats? Small details make a big difference. It helps the reader visualize the story… and no, pictures do not fill in the blanks.
Bleck. I know it smells bad and my eyes want to cry,
But we wouldn’t be treat testers if we didn’t try.
“It’s delicious fish sardines. Yum yum!”
The silly cat sang with a happy hum.
Although I don’t quite like them, there are people who do!
Everyone has different tastes like me and you!
So, now that Iceland is out of the way
It is time for Germany for a nice splendid day.
Whoa… this is head spinning in terms of how many different countries you’re fitting in. The trouble is this doesn’t allow the reader to get to know the landscape at all or the people in it. We don’t even know Spike that well. Narrow down where Spike goes to find great treats and keep connecting it to the contest and the fact that Spike loves treats. The more you do that the more you’ll have specifics to work with and the more your audience will be invested in the story and Spike.
When in Germany, let’s do what they do!
They are wearing lederhosen, so we should too!
Bavarian costumes with matching shoes
Everyone’s dressed up, in any way that they choose!
Oktoberfest has bratwurst and pretzel’s so large
We need to find just who is in charge.
“Try the schnitzels.” The bear said with a grin.
In Germany their food could definitely win.
Waffles, schnitzels, what could they not make?
There is so much for us to take.
There are lots of German words here that are not described. So, if you don’t know what they are you don’t know what they are. Kids may have trouble with this.
I don’t know how much more I can eat,
It is so hard to find the best treat.
Germany had food from the ceiling to the floor,
But let’s go to England, it’s almost next door!
London is a place with tea to drink,
And delicious biscuits. At least I think.
We’ve been invited by the Queen for tea.
She owns all of England, as far as you can see!
-Why? Why would the Queen of England invite a dog looking for treats over for tea? Kids may not be sophisticated enough to articulate something like this, but they always know when something doesn’t make sense.
Leaps in logic can be done only when the characters and their mission have been solidly established. Then you can get away with it.
I thought she’d be the best person to ask,
To help us with this difficult task.
“What is the best treat to find?”
She gave me a look that was so sweetly kind.
“The best treat of all does not have a taste,
It doesn’t have packaging, can’t go to waste.”
Now I was getting rather confused,
The Queen saw that I was not amused.
“The best treat of all, is time together.
With family and friends, that treat lasts forever.”
Now my mind was quite undone,
But we had to go, the contest had begun!
Our worldwide trip was now done,
Wasn’t it just so much fun?
We sailed across the seas and such
And we sure learned oh so much.
Like my spots look like snacks but it’s my fur,
And spicy foods aren’t what I prefer.
Now that we are back, and I’ve hugged my family,
I now know what I had to go see.
The best treat of all was not something you eat,
Family time together just couldn’t be beat.
And now you are part of my family too,
Because of everything we’ve been through.
It’s nice that the big treat at the end is spending time with family and friends. The trouble is not once has it been mentioned that Spike misses his family. We thought this was about the treat contest. Now we find out it’s a veiled lesson on spending time with your family. These are the pitfalls in telling a story that is engaging with metered rhyming verse for kids.
We won that contest, just so you know.
Now I get hugs wherever I go.
Until next time my wonderful friend.
For now, I must say it is The End.
Dude, give me a high five!
I would suggest keeping this about Spike and a buddy going in search of finding the best treat. Always keep it coming back to that. Have Spike and the buddy go to one or two countries at most. That way they could interact with each other and the locals. Perhaps you could have them engage people in the country they visit to help then with the contest and win a lifetime supply of the best treats ever. The more specific and focused the storytelling the more engaged your readers will be.
Ok that’s it for now.
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