Today, author, Tracey Slater is generously sharing a piece of her WIP, Mia’s Marvellous Markers, a humorous junior novel for ages 6-9.
Please feel free to contribute your feedback at the end of this post.
Mum was always worried about teeth turning rotten because of too much sugar. Whenever Mia or her sister complained, Mum would say to Dad, ‘Show them what lollies do, Trevor.’ Dad would beckon the girls over and open his cave of a mouth. Every tooth in Dad’s head had a black filling, making him look like he’d been crunching flies and they’d got stuck in his teeth. Seeing Dad’s fillings stopped Mia asking, but didn’t stop Mia daydreaming about lollies, or wishing. Now, thanks to her magic pens, she could have all the lollies she wanted whenever she liked. And she didn’t even have to share.
Thinking it might taste of blueberry or bubble gum, Mia chose a blue lolly. Her mouth watered as she undid the wrapper. The wrapper crinkled like real cellophane. She popped the lolly into her mouth.
Tracey, I love the idea of a kid who can get whatever they want just by drawing it with magic pens. There’s heaps of room for great humour here. And I think young readers will relate to parents giving them a hard time about their teeth.
If this were my manuscript, I would probably bring Mia into the story a bit earlier. You want your reader to engage with your main character as soon as possible to hook them into your story.
So I would probably start with something like this:
“See what lollies did to your Dad’s teeth,” said Mum.
Mia gaped into Dad’s cave of a mouth, at every black-filled tooth. It looked like he’d been crunching on flies and they’d got stuck there.
Mia tossed her head. Now thanks to her magic pens she could have all the lollies she wanted.
Tracey, I was wondering about the next line “And she didn’t even have to share”. Why doesn’t she have to share? I think you might need more explanation here because it makes her sound a bit unlikeable. If it’s because Mum and Dad don’t eat lollies then that’s fine – but I think you have to show the reader why. Or is it because she draws the pictures in her room where nobody can see? In that case you could mention this.
It sounded like Mia had already drawn the lollies when Mum pointed out Dad’s teeth to her. If she hadn’t, then you need to make this clearer. Does she do this in her room? Does she draw her favourite lollies – if so, what are they. By developing this more you can show more of Mia’s character and also how she creates these things with her magic pen. I think the reader would be curious to know how all this works. Does she need special paper, does it take a while, is she a good drawer etc?
I think there needs to be more of a transition between the teeth scene and Mia choosing the lolly to make it clearer for the reader, and also you could add some action/conflict and setting here.
I’m wondering whether Mia accidentally draws things or whether she would specifically draw something that she wanted. In which case if she wanted blue bubble gum, she would draw it. There is more room for humour here too if she tries to draw something and it doesn’t come out quite as planned. Your story, it’s up to you, but by making your character more proactive and in control of the story, you will bring her closer to the readers.
You use some great descriptions. I could picture the crinkling wrapper and I loved Mia’s reaction to putting the lolly in her mouth. I can imagine a kid being really impatient to do that.
Great story idea and loads of potential for a fun character and hilarious misadventures.
Thanks for sharing your WIP with our blog readers. I hope you’ve found my comments helpful.
If anyone else has some constructive suggestions to make about Tracey’s piece of writing, please leave your feedback in the comments section of this post.
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