FRIDAY FEEDBACK – UNDER THE BRIDGE

Thank you to Jeannie Meakins for providing today’s piece for Friday Feedback. This is an excerpt from Jeannie’s novel for children aged 8+. It’s called, Under The Bridge.

Kyle walked across the bridge over the creek.  As his foot reached the creaking board, he smiled.  Exactly thirty-eight steps.  Beneath the bridge he could hear the moving water.  The gentle breeze in his face barely disturbed the trees.

Over the sounds of the creek, he thought he could hear crying.  He stood still for a few seconds.  Yes, there were definitely sobs.

He walked to the end of the bridge and turned down the embankment.  Then he squatted down beside his dog and took the harness off.

“Off you go, Bonnie.  Go for a run.”  He patted her head and scratched behind her ears.  As soon as he lifted his hands from her, the dog took off.

Kyle put his hands on the ground behind him and carefully made his way down the embankment feet first.

The crying came from beside him.  From under the bridge where the afternoon sun cast cold shadows.

This is a lovely gentle piece of writing with some great evocative description… and the person crying creates curiosity for the reader and gives the impression that something is about to happen.

I found myself wanting to know about Kyle and how old he was and what sort of boy he was? I have made some suggestions where I think you could create a stronger picture of him for the reader. I think by creating a stronger character in Kyle you would also hook the reader into the story more.

Kyle walked across the bridge over the creek...

(Can you use a stronger verb than ‘walked’ to give us more of an idea of Kyle’s mood and perhaps his age? For example, if you said something like, ‘skipped’, we would know that he was happy and probably quite young.)

Exactly thirty eight steps. 

Is there some reason Kyle is counting the steps? Boredom? To stop himself getting to the other end so fast? Curiosity?  This is the kind of information that gives the reader extra insight into the character and their motivations.

Beneath the bridge he could hear the moving water.  The gentle breeze in his face barely disturbed the trees.

This has a lovely tone of gentleness, but I’m trying to picture the setting. If he is walking across a bridge over water, where are the trees? How far away are they?  Are they so close that you would expect a gentle breeze on his face to affect the trees as well? Which side of the bridge are they on? You need to make these images clear for the reader.

Over the sounds of the creek, he thought he could hear crying.  He stood still for a few seconds.  Yes, there were definitely sobs.

It might be more evocative for the reader if you gave some indication of the sound of the sobs – and perhaps, how they affected him. What do they sound like to him?

He walked to the end of the bridge and turned down the embankment.  Then he squatted down beside his dog and took the harness off.

Would he react more strongly to the sobs? Would he wonder who it was? Are the sobs familiar? Would he seek out the person in trouble to find out what’s wrong? Here again, these are the kinds of actions that will give the reader insight into Kyle’s character.

I was also wondering about the dog. Would he let her off when he knows that there is someone in trouble? Wouldn’t the dog go towards the sound of the crying?

Thanks for sharing, Jeannie. This is a lovely evocative piece and you have made me wonder who is under the bridge and what is going to happen next.

Good luck with the rewrites.

If you would like to have your 150 words on Friday Feedback, please email them to Dee@DeeScribe.com.au

Please include “Friday Feedback” in the subject line and the genre, target readership and word count or estimated word count for the finished story or novel.

Happy writing:)

Dee

If you have any comments or suggestions for Jeannie, please feel free to leave them in the comments section of this post.