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  1. #1
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    Post To Scary for Kids ? No harm in scaring kids half to death now and then is there?

    This is nearing completion. I think just minor tweaks here and there in light of feedback.
    It is conceived as an illustrated story to be read aloud. Any thoughts from any angle are most welcome. The 'Snowman' reference bothers me a bit (copyright) but it is essential so?

    THE SCARECROW
    By way of ‘The Snowman’ and being a cautionary tale for little Children who might have a fancy to read books.

    Once there was a little boy. And this little boy lived in the countryside. And the countryside is very nice as we all know. This little boy lived in a farmhouse, a farmhouse in the countryside. Which is even nicer as we all know.

    Now this little boy liked to read. Which is a bad thing. As we are well aware. He liked to read story books which is even worse. As we are well aware. His very favourite book in the whole world was the Snowman. I mean what else could it be? The little boy read it every day and every night before bed.

    Now it happened that just outside the little boy’s bedroom window and in the fields far away there was a scarecrow tied to a stick. Because that is what happens with scarecrows. They are tied to sticks. A scarecrow could not move even if it wanted too. It could not budge an inch. And the little boy could see it from his bedroom window. And you know what? The scarecrow was there every single night. Well of course it was. I mean being a scarecrow and all it is not likely to go anywhere now is it?

    Whole story is Scarecrow 21st Dec 2015.zip attached 2,225 words



  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt
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    What's the Snowman?

    No offense but I'm not going to download a zip file. That's how you get viruses.

  3. #3
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    It is a kids book and animated film. Sorry about the zip. I tried a bunch of formats but each was too big for here. It is only 2,225 words

  4. #4
    Rogue Mutt
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    I assume you mean this one.

  5. #5
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    I looked. It's a transcription of you telling the story aloud, and has several problems:

    First, your reader has no clue of the emotion you place into the words as you read because they can't hear your voice and they can't see expression, gesture or body language. Verbal storytelling is a performance art and requires the audience to see and hear you. But your reader can't. When you read, the words you hear are filled with emotion. Your facial expression illustrates the emotion and you know how your hands would visually punctuate because you're playing the part of the storyteller as you read. The reader gets only words, and can't guess how you want the line read till after they've read it and know what it says. And then it's too late.

    Second, you're talking down to the kids as if you have to break down the smallest statement into ten declarative statements explaining the point. But you say:
    Now it happened that just outside the little boy’s bedroom window and in the fields far away there was a scarecrow tied to a stick. Because that is what happens with scarecrows. They are tied to sticks.
    Forgetting that it can't be just outside the window and far away in the field at the same time, when you deflate it, the line simply informs the reader that the kid can see a scarecrow in the field. But you use thirty-seven words to say what actually requires only nine. Look at the line parsed into what matters (blue) and what's fluff (yellow): "Now it happened that just outside the little boy’s bedroom window and in the fields far away there was a scarecrow tied to a stick. Because that is what happens with scarecrows. They are tied to sticks. If the reader doesn't know what a scarecrow is they won't understand the term and all that explanation is meaningles. And if they do the words in yellow serve to tell them what they already know.

    In general, you're so busy trying to sound literary that you're shooting yourself in the foot by burying the story under a flood of words.

    Readers come to be entertained, not talked at.

    If you're going to write for children take the time to learn how.

  6. #6
    Rogue Mutt
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greenstein View Post
    I looked. It's a transcription of you telling the story aloud, and has several problems:

    First, your reader has no clue of the emotion you place into the words as you read because they can't hear your voice and they can't see expression, gesture or body language. Verbal storytelling is a performance art and requires the audience to see and hear you. But your reader can't. When you read, the words you hear are filled with emotion. Your facial expression illustrates the emotion and you know how your hands would visually punctuate because you're playing the part of the storyteller as you read. The reader gets only words, and can't guess how you want the line read till after they've read it and know what it says. And then it's too late.

    Second, you're talking down to the kids as if you have to break down the smallest statement into ten declarative statements explaining the point. But you say: Forgetting that it can't be just outside the window and far away in the field at the same time, when you deflate it, the line simply informs the reader that the kid can see a scarecrow in the field. But you use thirty-seven words to say what actually requires only nine. Look at the line parsed into what matters (blue) and what's fluff (yellow): "Now it happened that just outside the little boy’s bedroom window and in the fields far away there was a scarecrow tied to a stick. Because that is what happens with scarecrows. They are tied to sticks. If the reader doesn't know what a scarecrow is they won't understand the term and all that explanation is meaningles. And if they do the words in yellow serve to tell them what they already know.

    In general, you're so busy trying to sound literary that you're shooting yourself in the foot by burying the story under a flood of words.

    Readers come to be entertained, not talked at.

    If you're going to write for children take the time to learn how.
    Yellow is hard to read. Red works better.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the comments and the remarks regarding being talked at and taking the time to learn how. I take those points to a degree. The story is much to scary for very small kids and early readers to consume by themselves. The kid gets tied to the stick himself and then burned basically. The early portions lead you into the story in a certain way and that is the intended design. "Trying to sound literary" is your interpretation. But thanks. I think you maybe missed the point and did not read it all. Curse of the Zip file attachment. But yes it is designed to be read aloud and shared. Struwwelpeter Heinrich Hoffmann. Did something similar in the mid 1880's Maybe my intro to the little tale did not clarify so well and frame it clearly so I take your distaste at the style and author lightly and with grace
    Rogue Mutt yes it is that one. There was a very popular song that reached number one for several weeks on the back of the animated film version.
    Cheers for the helpful comments

  8. #8
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    The early portions lead you into the story in a certain way and that is the intended design.
    The problem with intent is that it doesn't make it past the keyboard. No one cares what you intend. It's your word choice and placement, and what that evokes in someone you'll probably never meet, someone who has a different background, and who is seeking to be entertained, not informed on the details of a fictional character's life. What you hear in your head is dictated by intent. What the reader hears is dictated by their interpretation of the words—without you there to clarify. And the book-report writing skills we learn in our school days aren't going to handle that problem because they're designed to inform, not entertain.

    You're trying to write an exciting story, which means it must race along, and take the reader with it, in the character's view, and in real-time—the moment they call now. The moment you drop into overview mode and start explaining things in unnecessary detail the scene is an explanation, not something the reader is living.

    You need to stop using the writing skills we're given in school in trying to write the book. The objective is different so you need different techniques.
    "Trying to sound literary" is your interpretation.
    And I am a reader. Instead of telling me I'm not seeing the words as you intended, ask yourself why I'm not, and fix the writing, because making the reader see the words as you intend is your job.
    I think you maybe missed the point and did not read it all.
    No. You misunderstand the customer. The reader is a volunteer, not a conscript. They arrive with mild curiosity, that quickly fades. Change that to interest with the writing and do it quickly, or they stop reading and will never see your wonderful story. You have to make them want to turn the pages. Sol Stein put it well when he said, “A novel is like a car—it won’t go anywhere until you turn on the engine. The “engine” of both fiction and nonfiction is the point at which the reader makes the decision not to put the book down. The engine should start in the first three pages, the closer to the top of page one the better.” To that I would add that if, on those pages you bore or confuse the reader for a line, the audition stops right then.

    I know this isn't what you hoped to hear, but it is what you need to know.

  9. #9
    Rogue Mutt
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    It's hilarious to watch Greenstein try to apply his Dwight Swain lecture to a children's picture book.

    I will say you should be economical with your words. You want to have as much room as possible for the pictures.

  10. #10
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Agree.

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