Children's Writer's Guild Forum » Highlights Critique Group #1

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Smile Because It Happened

(13 posts)

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  1. Sheila
    Member

    Hi, Everyone!

    This is the thread for posting critiques on Patti's story. Please note that the deadline for all critiques is March 21st.

    Looking forward to discussing this lovely story!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  2. Hi, Patti!
    I really enjoyed reading your story. It made me think of stories I had heard as a child where royal children were spared a beating by having another child absorb the punishment, thereby creating the term of a whipping boy. But your story is much happier than that and conveys a much more positive message.

    I am wondering about the target age of your readers. As I read the story, I couldn't determine if she were an especially wise (for her years) child in the range of a 6 - 10 year old, or if she were an early teen. I'm inclined to think more in terms of a teen, especially when the father says he will go to the village and bring a boy to the palace, then have that village "commoner" be so wise in how he deals with the loss of the puppy, how he deals with the day at the beach, etc. It would be hard to believe a pre-teen could be that adaptive.

    On page 3 at the end of the second paragraph, the words where and ever could be joined to form the word wherever.

    In the next paragraph, the word "to" is placed in front of the word "back" (3rd sentence)and should read ... the ball back to Yao-Shih, who wrestled ... I also replaced the words "and he" with the word "who" in that same sentence.

    I'm curious why the puppy would run away from a home where he was fed, given water, and lots of personal attention. It almost seems like you put that in just because the father was concerned that it might happen and this was thrown into the story just to prove the point.

    At the bottom of the page, Shaiming asks if Yao-Shih is unhappy to have lost the puppy. The answer is good, but would such a young child not have responded more like, "Yes, (answering the question) but" it was fun having him... (Just my thought!)

    On the next page, the paragraph beginning "Father, I think..." do you need that punctuation between little and pink? Are they talking about both little AND pink shells or just little pink shells?

    In the next paragraph, I would change "will" to "would" in 2 places in the second sentence.

    The one line sentence starting "Shaiming frowned as ..." needs the word "a" between like and blanket.

    At the top of page 5, same question about the comma between pearly and white. And in the 4th full paragraph on the same page, I would put the word "still" between seem and to in the next to last sentence, making it read "You seem still to be so sad." (This does not split the verb, to be.)

    Finally, in the next to last sentence on page 6, I would suggest some action phrase such as, "as the sun burst from behind the grey clouds and shown ..." Up to now, the skies have been cloudy and grey, but with Shaiming catching on, it's like a light coming on in her head, chasing away the darkness.

    As you will note, most of these suggestions are technical or stylistic and do nothing to change the overall story. I think its a heart-warming story and I wish you well with it.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  3. Sheila
    Member

    Hats off to Marvin for getting his critique in first! Good work, Marvin. One thought though -- let's all "attach" critiques instead of writing them as regular posts. The reason being that we can scan posts quickly for timely comments, etc. without them becoming too long.

    Please let me know if anyone experiences difficulty with attaching documents.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  4. phutchison
    Member

    Thank you, Marvin. Your suggestions make a lot of sense and I will note them in my rewriting. You gave me a lot of food for thought!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  5. Is no one else going to critique Patti's beautiful story?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  6. Sheila
    Member

    Don't forget everyone, March 31st is the deadline to submit a critique on Patti's story.

    Patti, I loved this story, and I hope that you will find my comments helpful. I think that you have a winner here (with some tweaking).

    Attachments

    1. Because_It_Happened_by_Patti_Hutchiso.docx (126 KB, 15 downloads) 5 years old
    Posted 5 years ago #
  7. Carol
    Member

    Hi Patti,

    This is the first time I've ever critiqued anything. So I'm afraid my comments are short. You have written a beautiful story and I wish you the best of luck.

    Attachments

    1. Smile_Because_It_Happened.docx (13.1 KB, 5 downloads) 5 years old
    Posted 5 years ago #
  8. Sheila
    Member

    Patti,

    Here is my critique in a different format. Please let me know if you are able to open it. Also, do you have Microsoft Word installed on your computer?

    Attachments

    1. Because_It_Happened.doc (33.5 KB, 14 downloads) 5 years old
    Posted 5 years ago #
  9. Carol
    Member

    After seeing Sheila's latest post, I realized that my critique, which is in Word 2007, may be a problem for some people. Please let me know if anyone has a problem opening this file.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  10. phutchison
    Member

    Carol, I couldn't open your file. Could you please send it in another format? I am eager to read your comments. Thanks!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  11. phutchison
    Member

    Sheila, thank you for your deep thoughts about my manuscript. It's funny that you think the "helper" should be a girl, because I have been thinking the same thing. I also appreciate your thoughts about changing the puppy to a bird. I would like to know how Carol and Marvin feel about this. I agree it sounds more Asian, but I'm not sure many children would relate to a bird as well as a puppy. It would be great if everyone could weigh in on this. Thanks again, and have fun in Boston!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  12. I absolutely agree with the bird in a cage as a replacement for the dog. While I didn't make the Asian connection that Sheila made, but with which I now wholeheartedly agree, I raised the question as to why a well fed, well cared for puppy would run away. The bird makes much better sense to me. As for the helper, I don't recall for sure but I think I picked the gender up from a pronoun in the manuscript.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  13. Carol
    Member

    Patti,
    I just logged in to see if I've missed anything about your manuscript. I realized that you had asked for further input. I'm a little torn between whether a bird would be a better choice than a dog. I agree that the bird makes more sense with the Asian connection and I agree with Marvin's question about why a well cared for puppy would run away. At the same time I also feel that children would relate better to a puppy and would think that children can play with a puppy more than a bird. I also agree with Sheila that the helper should be a girl. I think that Shaiming could relate better to a girl since they may share more of the same interests.

    Posted 4 years ago #

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