Author Topic: Milligan Shrinkimp (1st half) - for kids  (Read 3009 times)

Offline Symphony

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Milligan Shrinkimp (1st half) - for kids
« on: February 01, 2006, 11:40:33 AM »
First half of a story for children - would appreciate any comments. In particular - do you think it would work as a picture book or is it too old/not enough imagery? Would it work better standing simply as a story for magazine perhaps?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Milligan Shrinkimp

Milligan Shrinkimp was up to no good - again! Of course, one can't be too judgmental, can one? Not when it comes to imps. After all, it's just not in their nature to behave. What would be the point in being a well-behaved imp? Besides, a shrinkimp's life is short enough as it is - literally. I mean, the very tallest shrinkimp baby only ever measured 13 ¾ centimetres - and by the time he'd learned to hover properly he was already half a centimetre shorter. This is, of course, the real reason why shrinkimps are so unbelievably badly behaved, by any imp standard. The shrinkimp lifespan is so incredibly brief they've just got to fit in as much mischief as they possibly can before shrinking to such a small size they eventually ... well, they just vanish, don't they?.

   Milligan was no exception. Having already lived 5 centimetres of his shrivelling life, he'd decided to make as much use of the remaining 2 as he possibly could. And so we find him, in Mrs Tarquin's lovely garden - or rather, what used to be her lovely garden previously adorned with glorious delphiniums. The ugly slug brawl he’d organised had worked out better than expected and there was really not much left now that you could identify as a flower. He was really quite pleased with himself. "One has to leave one's stamp on life", he'd always thought ... and thought .... and thought! Well, that was his problem, you see? All thought, no action - not good for a shrinkimp.

   Milligan was just about to lapse into yet another millimetre's worth of thinking when a wing-shattering screech sent his ugly little turquoise body hurtling uncontrollably through the air before depositing him very unkindly in a puddle of slug slime barely an inch from Mrs Tarquin's extremely angry purple wellies. Unable to hover, Milligan picked himself up best he could and disappeared quickly behind a flower pot, eager to observe the rest of the proceedings from a position of relative safety.

   Mrs Tarquin's face, he noticed with some delight, was now much the same colour as her wellington boots, her perfect garden full of beautiful delphiniums utterly destroyed. Milligan had chosen the ideal victim. I mean, she was just too perfect, wasn’t she? More than any shrinkimp could bear. And as for her house – well, imagine this.  Situated at the end of a very pretty road, the two perfectly square windows at the front of her perfectly square cottage had two sets of the prettiest curtains (imprinted with darling little butterflies and bluebells), each tied back with precisely the same amount of perfectly matching ribbon.  The lovely red door with its frieze of delightful robins – and a bell that rang a sweet little tune, opened onto (or, should one say, used to open onto) an equally enchanting little garden full of what used to be the most exquisite delphiniums, all growing in perfect clusters and rows, blue on one side, white on the other and pink ones in the middle.

   Now, before you comment on how ill you're feeling after reading that revoltingly gushy and quite nauseating description of Mrs Tarquin's Sweet Pea Cottage, just think how an imp might feel! And there's more! Mrs Tarquin herself, with her pretty face and Very Smart Clothes, was the envy of everyone (except the shrinkimps, of course). She was also the loveliest of ladies: helpful, charming and practical. No-one, but no-one, would have suspected that she, of all people, would ever be the target of those naughtiest of naughty imps – or, in this case, just one shrinkimp – Milligan! Boy, was he feeling chuffed with himself right now. His squidgy little yellow eyes, sitting either side of the swollen pimple which he called a nose, pulsated in and out and in and out as he watched the sickeningly flawless Mrs Tarquin reduced to a bundle of heaving, blubbering  imperfection!  Milligan remarked on the fact that in this state even her new dress seemed to have withdrawn and crumpled up in horror at the scene. And what was that? Crawling up the left purple wellie! A slug! It was a slug!

        "Oh, please look, Mrs Tarquin. Please see it. Please!" thought the evil imp.

(to be continued ...)

Offline Foxy

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Re: Milligan Shrinkimp (1st half) - for kids
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2006, 12:32:39 PM »
Well I don't know how children will take to the story Symphony but it certainly kept me entertained and I'm a cynical old curmudgeon or so I've been told...
Actually I think kids will love it! The voice is excellent, it almost felt like it was being read to me.

A couple of minor things: The first three paragraphs all start with the same word, nothing intrinsically wrong with that but it made me double check, which took me out of the story. And in the very last sentence you refer to Milligan as "the evil imp." Right up to that point I was rooting for Milligan all the way, even though he is mischievously naughty he is still a sympathetic character and I think that the word "evil" is a little too strong, but that's just my opinion.

Are you going to post more? I hope you do. It's a pity that Shrinkimps have such a short live span, measured in size and not time (I loved that concept by the way, very funny and very clever) because I think that Milligan could quite easily be an ongoing character in a series of books. Maybe you could have him discover a way to stop shrinking.

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Offline Gltagaman

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Re: Milligan Shrinkimp (1st half) - for kids
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2006, 04:20:11 PM »
This is the first of your stories, Symphony, that I have read. I feltit was a well plotted story of impish mayhem, had me laughing. and would certainly appeal to my five year old granddaughter. I wait gleefully for the next part. However I do feel a little sad for Mrs Tarquin and hope for a happy ending.

I'm not sure how it would work as a picture story. I go to an art class on Thursday morning and would love to show this to my tutor. She is an illustrator and could give a more qualified opinion.


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Offline mary

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Re: Milligan Shrinkimp (1st half) - for kids
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2006, 05:24:44 PM »
Hi Symphony,

  You have helped me so much I almost feel sheepish offering my two cents but here goes. DELIGHTLFUL !!!

  In P-2 "that could be identified as"  or if the flower talks  "that could identify itself as"  ? (I reader, was confused)

 In P-3  What is an "angry wellie" ? I don't think we have any in America.

  In P-4 Is chuffed an emotion?  Does it have an American or international equivilent?

   Maybe Mulligan was only being "cheeky" - instead of "evil" ?

  With your wonderful imagination I bet Mulligan has a child before he uses himself up completely and the tales of "Child of   Mulligan" could be just as rollicking as Mulligan's adventures. (In case a sequal is demanded by your following)

Respectfully submitted   ;D  mary


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Re: Milligan Shrinkimp (1st half) - for kids
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2006, 06:09:32 PM »
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and could quite clearly imagine reading this aloud to a group of squeeing ten year olds.  They would love the mischief and nastiness of the 'swollen pimple' nose and slug slime.

Only two things popped out at me, first the repetitive use of your imp's name to begin the first few paragraphs (perhaps it was intentional - to refresh the children's memories?), and the use of 'evil' to describe him. Thoughout the tale he appears micschievous and annoying, but never really evil. He doesn't seem to be interested in actually harming your perfect Mrs. Tarquin, only in seeing her dismayed. Perhaps it is just my perception of evil.

Offline orchid15

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Re: Milligan Shrinkimp (1st half) - for kids
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2006, 10:04:56 PM »
I think it is adorable.  I agree with the remarks already posted that don't want to see him as evil.

But I wish you would change the short lifespan. When you started talking about their short life, I thought you were making a pun because the imps were so short, and thought children would love it.  Then I realized he was shrinking away and might be gone by the end of the story, and it was such a disappointment.

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Offline Symphony

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Re: Milligan Shrinkimp (1st half) - for kids
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2006, 09:01:22 AM »
Absolutely wonderful (and complimentary) observations from everyone. Thank you. I shall go back and incorporate them all - particularly the 'evil' one. I hadn't spotted that at all.

Thanks a million. I'll even try and think of a way to include another story from somewhere - although this shrinkimp's for the 'shrink', to to speak!!! (ooo - 'nother idea just popped into my had')

Mary - a wellie is a Wellington boot - what do you call them? Those rubber boots for rain, mud, etc. (and particularly FREEZING in snow!)

and 'chuffed' is sort of 'puffed up with pride' - might have to think of another word ...

Thanks again, everyone.   ;D