Author Topic: Susie Spellmaker, (6-8 yrs) please comment  (Read 3297 times)

Offline Mini

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Susie Spellmaker, (6-8 yrs) please comment
« on: January 21, 2006, 05:59:45 AM »
Here is the first part of a story that was written for my eldest two when they were 6 and 8 years old. I think I have 4 of the stories left I wrote about some mice who lived in Bluebell Patch. This was the first. I would love some feed back as I was considering reviving them and seeing if they were publishable.

Susie Spellmaker to the Rescue

Joshy and Zach lived in a small hole at the bottom of the Great Oak in Bluebell Patch. They were cobblers, making all the shoes for the village. It was a lovely place to live and all the mice were very friendly. Joshy and Zach were always getting into mischief. Or rather Joshy enjoyed playing pranks and Zach had to sort out whatever trouble Joshy had caused.

There was one small problem. Joshy and Zach had a good friend call Susie Spellmaker. Susie was a witch. Not horrid witch, but she could do magic, so the other mice of Bluebell Patch were afraid of her. Joshy and Zach were not frightened. They knew that Susie was a very kind mouse.

One night Joshy rushed into the house. He was very excited.

"I've done it. I've done it. I've solved Susie's problem." Joshy was squealing with delight. He danced round and round his brother.

"What problem? I didn't know Susie had a problem."  Zach was alarmed. He stopped cooking and looked at his brother.

"No-one will be afraid of Susie ever again. Everyone in the village will love her now." Joshy giggled.

"Joshy what have you done, now?" Zach asked quietly.

"I - I put a spell on the blue shoes and red shoes. Now the twins have to be good, and cannot run away from Ma Muddles." Explained Joshy.

"Oh No!” wailed Zach. “How? What Magic? And did your magic work?"

"Oh, not yet. But it will. Susie's magic always works. And I used her book." He assured his brother.

" Do you want Susie to be banished?" He asked crossly.

Joshy shook his head. "No."

Susie banged on the door very hard.  She looked quite flustered. Her hat was falling off and her hair was very messy.

"I've been on the big east branch watching those ghastly Muddles twins. They're being really naughty tonight. They just won't stay still. Everyone is getting cross with them, and Ma Muddles doesn't know what to do." She said very quickly.
 
"Oh No." Zach rushed out.

They all went up to the big east branch and looked down at the clearing below. They were just in time to see the Muddles twins jumping into a deep muddy puddle. Poor Mrs. Longtail was splashed from head to foot. But before she could raise her paw to waggle her finger at the naughty boys, they were gone.

They scurried across to the other side of the clearing running round and round Mrs. Baker who was carrying a large seed cake for Mr. Harvester’s birthday. They frightened her and she dropped it.

What a horrid mess it made.

The twins stopped long enough to snatch up a small piece of cake before they were off again as fast as their feet could carry them.

The twins rushed straight into the nettles that were growing at the edge of Bluebell Patch and disappeared from sight. Poor Ma Muddles tried to follow her sons.

"Those twins are being so naughty tonight."  said Susie, "It’s almost as if their feet have a mind of their own."
 
Zach and Joshy went home. Zach shook his head and sat down on one of the small toadstools and thought and thought.

"You'll have to tell Susie the truth." He whispered to Joshy. 

"Can't I just get shoes back and destroy them?" asked Joshy in a small voice.

"No", said Zach firmly. "The magic has to be removed. You know that. And only Susie can do that."  ......


Mini   





Offline chillies

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Re: Susie Spellmaker, (6-8 yrs) please comment
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2006, 08:36:15 AM »
mini, that was delightful. I certainly do think that you should bring it back into the world.

chillies

Offline Symphony

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Re: Susie Spellmaker, (6-8 yrs) please comment
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2006, 10:48:53 AM »
Hello Mini,

Ooooooooo I love the idea of this story. Such a simple little plot with so much potential. It's great - and I'd hate to see it go back to the bottom of any cupboard!!! Most of the little I've ever written has been for children, too, but I've had nothing published as yet so I'm no authority on the subject AT ALL! You've got some points here, though, that people have tended to comment on in MY stories, so I thought maybe I could pass them on to you. Other times, comments are simply things that have stood out for me on first reading. Feel free to ignore them at will!!!

(and apologies for being long-winded, but short and sharp makes my comments seem like criticisms rather than suggestions, so I've opted for the 'longer' option. Please bear with me!)

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Joshy and Zach were always getting into mischief. Or rather Joshy

This sentence came rather suddenly since you'd just moved away from Joshy and Zach to talking about the mice in the village. I thought it needed a little more of lead-up, if you know what I mean. I'm not sure about the full stop and then the Or, either. Not for any particular 'punctuation' reason, but the construction is quite difficult - even for an 8-year-old. Love the rest of this sentence though - great hook!

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There was one small problem
OK - this may be long-winded but my first thought when I read this was that the 'one small problem' in the village was Joshy and Zach always getting up to mischief - and not Susie. Does this make sense to you? Here it sounds more like Susie is the problem.

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Joshy and Zach were not frightened.
With the style of writing that you're using, I felt that this was the perfect opportunity to employ some repetition, which all children love, even the bigger ones. I felt it detracted from the overall meaning as well, by changing the 'afraid' of the previous sentence to 'frightened'. Of course, this may have been completely intentional, but I think the repetition of the word 'afraid' here would make the meaning clearer.

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They knew that Susie was a very kind mouse
How did they know? There was just a little too much to assume here.

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"Joshy what have you done, now?"
I would delete the 'now' from this sentence as Joshy has just used it in the last one.

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Now the twins have to be good, and cannot run away from Ma Muddles." Explained Joshy.
Who is Ma Muddles? It might be better to put something like 'their mum' or 'their gran' or something. Actually - in the previous sentence, it wouldn't be terribly clear what you meant by the blue shoes and the red shoes - perhaps you could clarify this by talking about 'the naughty twins' blue shoes and red shoes' ... or something ...

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But before she could raise her paw to waggle her finger

Liked the 'raise her paw' but thought the 'waggle her finger' detracted from it - made her human again, rather than a mouse. She needs to waggle a claw or nail - or even her whiskers, if you see what I mean ...

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They scurried across to the other side of the clearing running round and round Mrs. Baker who was carrying a large seed cake for Mr. Harvester’s birthday.

Yes, I know they're all mice, but this seemed like a lot of new characters and it's getting difficult to keep track. I also had to 'remind' myself that they were mice, before it all became clear. Maybe you could give these two characters a little description to help them along - could Mrs Baker be the plumpest mouse you've ever seen - or maybe you could give us the reminder by saying 'a large seed cake for Mr Harvester's mouse party ...' Does this make any sense to you?

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They frightened her and she dropped it.
This seems very short and sharp. Maybe you could soften it up a little - Poor Mrs Baker got such a fright that she dropped the cake right ....... - maybe you could add interest by saying what happened to the cake - we know it made a mess, but who did it land on? or did it sink to the bottom of the puddle? Or did she just dust it off and eat it anyway? (sound remarkably like my own children!!)

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Zach shook his head and sat down on one of the small toadstools and thought and thought.
Seems superfluous as he already knows what's happened. What's he thinking about? - Otherwise, you merely need to clarify in the next sentence ... "There's no other way! You'll just have to tell Suzie ..." At least, now we know that he was trying to think of an alternative.

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You know that. And only Susie can do that."  ......
Repetition of 'that'

That's it. Sorry - too much? I love this story, so couldn't resist drawing your attention merely to things that occurred to ME as I was writing. Please feel free to disagree. I'm sure others will, too. It's such a personal thing, isn't it?

Would love to read the next part - the characters are great and I love this good-mouse bad-mouse set-up. Dying to know what other mischief they're going to get up to before this problem is resolved!!

All the best and I hope you don't take offence/offense - argh! *must go and look that up now*

Symphony


Offline Mini

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Re: Susie Spellmaker, (6-8 yrs) please comment
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2006, 05:44:04 AM »
Symphony,

All your constructive critisms are most welcome.

It is very difficult to rewrite a story one is so familair with. Therefore a stranger's input is incredible helpful. I always embellished the stories as I read them to my daughters, so I am now trying to pad out the bare bones of them, (if that makes any sense).

Thank-you for taking the time to read it and comment on it. I have so much to learn.

Mini