(A much more cheery post than the last.)
I am reflecting on the comments of my book champion (God bless her) who got ‘The Selkies of Scoresby Nab’ onto the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction long-list for 2012
Reasons to be cheerful – what the reader said that validated my writing:
- well-written and moving – the MA was well worth it, then
- narrative voice is incredibly strong – jump and down with delight – isn’t that what everyone say they want from a writer?
- a convincing Northern dialect – well, it is pretty much my own
- distinctive and attractive sense of place and period – I spent a lot of time there and then imaginatively at least – you won’t quite find Scoresby on a map
- Mattie undergoes a true journey of self-discovery, finding out not only who and what he is, but also what he is made of. The story has told itself well then – and that’s what makes it ‘moving’. I still can’t read a certain bit without sniffling.
Points to ponder – I’m not sure yet where these will lead me – here are some immediate thoughts:
- The lyrical, poetic quality of the writing and story may work better for girl readers. I am deeply uncomfortable with the idea of gendered books.
- With this in mind, it may be worth considering if Mattie could perhaps work better as a girl – although that could have too much of a knock-on effect on other plot points, and the relationships/friendships. She is so right about the consequences of such a change. He has been Mattie Henshaw, complete with name, from the off. I did try doing a girl version at one point – but it felt wrong. Mmmm.
- Does the period-feel work for a contemporary reader? The current challenges of selling period fiction in the children’s market would need to be considered. Sorry, but that’s not my problem. I can no more write contemporary fiction than fly. Besides, what about the sales of steampunk & gas-lamp fantasy?
- Is the story and the writing unique enough? Now that’s a biggie.
- She used ‘charming‘ twice – aaargh – I shall have to get grittier!
- I really love the feel, pace and detail in this manuscript. – I could hug her.
- The author can really write. Huzzah!
there might be possible scope for working editorially with the author to make this book the best it can be.
Ah well. I’m always up for developing my skills.
Let’s see what I can do with ‘Georgiana and the Municipal Moon‘ at The Golden Egg Academy 23rd & 24th March, then.