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January 16, 2012


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Donna,I think the problems writing for children can be rather different to the ones that you grapple with, but still quite challenging.

Here is the first chapter of a story that I'm working on. My Grand has a bedroom with a large window through which she can see the night sky very clearly. Here I try to use that to resonate with her imagination.

Would be interested in any comment *smile*

Shadow of the Moon

Chapter 1 Charlotte Takes a Ride.

Charlotte lay on her bed looking through her window at the bright moon glowing in the night sky.

As she watched the dark shadows on the face of the moon, a small voice whispered inside her head.

“Hello little girl” the voice said. “I am so lonely up here with only the planets to play with. Mars is so rough. He wants to fight all the time and he always looks red with anger.”

“Then there is Venus who dresses herself in mist. She thinks she is so beautiful and wants me to dance with her all the time”

“I HATE dancing!”

“Oh, I so wish I had a little girl to play with”

“Would you come and visit me one night, If you have nothing else to do?”

Charlotte considered this. She knew that it was a long way up to the moon and she would need a space ship to get there, which would be difficult. So she decided to humour the man in the moon.

“OK Mr moon. I will come and play if you can provide transport” she said.

“Bless my shivering photons! Thank you. Thank you little girl” replied Mr moon.

“Just hang on to my moon beam now and I will bring you up in a trice for a sleep over. I have some lovely volcanic dust for a mattress and I will reflect the sunlight to keep you warm."

Before Charlotte could say fiddle dee fee, a large yellow moon beam shone down through her window and produced a bright circle of light on her bed.

"Just sit in the magic circle and think of me eating trifle" said Mr Moon.

Charlotte didn't usually do as she was told, but as it was Mr Moon she thought she had better do as he said or he might sulk and turn the night black.

So she sat in the circle of light and closed her eyes. She couldn't imagine the moon eating trifle so she just thought of her Dad eating a very large cream bun."

There was a crack of thunder and a flash of lightning, then when she opened her eyes and looked up she saw the Earth with its continents and oceans, floating in the sky.

Oh my. I really am on the moon, thought Charlotte, now what am I going to do.

She started to feel a little frightened and lonely, wondering if her Mum and Dad would miss her. She thought about all her school friends and whether they would miss her as well.

Then there was a shriek behind her and Emily appeared. “Charlotte” she said “How lovely to see you up here as well. We are all having a party down in the caverns. Mr Moon wanted to bring our teacher up as well, to keep order, but I persuaded him that it might be best to make it a children’s sleep over.”

Come on and join the others. We saved you some jelly.

Chapter 2 Charlotte Meets the baby Moon Beams

Donna Cummings

Q, that is utterly delightful! I can see where writing children's stories would be challenging, but I'd say you've made it look so easy. :)

I love how you've blended science with fanciful imagery, and the humor has me smiling (especially how the teacher wasn't invited -- LOL). You've also got me wondering what's going to happen next with this celestial sleepover. Very charming!


Donna, I love this! It feels like you're talking to me...and I like what you're saying! LOL It's true, a lot of those rules are what have obliterated a lot of what makes me keep reading a story. I know I've read -- or partially read, that is, when I didn't care to read more -- quite a few of those stories where "the characters were emoting, but they were not filled with emotion." But I can't remember. :)

I do know that sometimes I've wished the writer had told me more about the characters before beginning their story with an action scene. It's like this rule can backfire when I get that feeling that too much is missing...that being all of the nuances of a subtext that is significant to the character only because of who they are.

I like to think a little backstory and a touch of a flashback can go a long way. LOL

Q: Love the children's story! I know children will love hearing a story such as this that allows them to feel like they're participating in a journey.

Donna Cummings

Melissa, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one. :) I like to know WHY characters are going through certain situations, partly because I'll know better how they will react, or I can see what a particular event means to them.

For example, if they're being chased across a body of water filled with snapping alligators -- it makes a difference if they are an alligator trainer, versus someone who had their fiance eaten by one. LOL

I think we all want to fall in love with these people we'll be spending several hours with. And there's lots of ways to fall in love. :)


Donna, I like your alligator example. Maybe it's both; an alligator trainer who had his/her fiance eaten by one. LOL!

I think sometimes a writer (myself included) thinks the curiosity factor will carry the reader through. If we're ambiguous, then the reader is bound to keep reading to find out more.

Maybe. But for how long? I guess the distinction is that curiosity isn't the same as as falling in love. :)

Donna Cummings

Melissa, excellent distinction -- curiosity will take us a certain distance, but after that, we have to be hooked on the character and what could potentially happen (i.e., fighting an alligator, or getting eaten by one -- LOL).

I like to reflect on the stories that make me zip through it, to see how they took my curiosity and changed it into deep-seated NEED TO KNOW RIGHT NOW. LOL I want to incorporate that in my own stories.


In the film 'Crocodile Dundee', Mick saves the American reporter from being eaten by a crocodile. Gradually they then fall in love. Your thoughts are spot on!

Thanks for the comments on my story.
You know, I could get used to this. No-one ever praised my work in science this way.
Ladies, I luv you both! LOL

Donna Cummings

Q, we'll be your fan club! You've carved out your own storytelling niche. Sometimes it takes a while for the rest of the world to catch up to what trailblazers are doing. :)


Yay for this post! I get tired of being told to avoid adverbs and whatnot. As a voracious reader, there is room in my head for millions of different ways of telling stories. I will read books that are Spartan and books that are wordy and descriptive, evocative stories, giant backstory dumps, you name it. If they keep me riveted, that's all I care about!

Donna Cummings

Ruthie, I know exactly what you mean. I was re-reading one of my manuscripts recently, and I could see where I'd followed "the rules", and it just didn't feel right to me anymore.

I love that there are so many different and unusual ways to tell a story. That's part of the fun, and excitement, of picking up a book, getting lost in a world created by each particular author. :)

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