This is my first attempt at actually putting this story in a book format. I usually told these stories to my children by saying, once upon a time, and jump into it. This is a bit different for me. Tell me if I'm on the right, or wrong, track. PB ----------------------------------------------------------
SLAM! The force of the wooden screen door shook the little tea cups that decorated the walls of the small kitchen. Little Benny stomped through the kitchen to the living room. He dived face first into an overstuffed sofa pillow burying his sobs and tears. His empty school backpack was still hanging from one arm as his sister, Celia, came up the porch stairs into the kitchen.
“Benny! Benny, don’t cry.” She dropped her backpack on the kitchen floor and walked to her brother’s side. “Benny, please don’t cry,” she said stroking his small, black-haired head.
“Oh, it wasn’t that bad!” Celia huffed and crossed her arms.
Benny’s shoulders shook as he sobbed harder into the pillow.
[This message has been edited by PB&Jenny (edited August 04, 2010).]
Excellent first thirteen. I think your kids are right about trying your hand at writing
the "SLAM!" is so jarring that it works in the context.
The hook is immediately. Why is the boy crying?
Only thing I'd consider for revision here is this line: "A small five year old boy stomped through the kitchen to the living room and dived face first into an overstuffed sofa pillow burying his sobs and tears."
I feel it just needs to be a little bit shorter. My rule that I try to follow is if I read a sentence aloud and i start to feel breathless from it, it is too long. In this case, I think it is only SLIGHTLY too long. I might drop the "five year old" as you can give indications of age later.
I agree - the start is put together nicely. Might want to tighten some (change "were decorating" to "decorated", break up the sentence Osiris referenced.) About the only criticism I can find is you are stuffing a lot of description in here (although that could also just be called "style.) Welcome to Hatrack!
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Two things in addition to Osiris's comments:
"A boy." I don't like the indefinite article. To me, it reads like it could be any boy that just marched in, unannounced, to this house as if the door was left open with no supervision, instead of someone who actually has business being there.
"Celia chided." Insert standard warning about said bookisms here. But, beyond that, "chided" doesn't fit with her attempts at comforting the boy.
Good 13, SLAM! - great hook, Anonymous boy should be named, Chided - wrong word,
Only one question: The first thirteen does give a very direct feel of a normal world story. So I felt it was a start to a tom sawyer kind of story, not f/df/scifi type story so I hope that was the feel you were trying to convey. If so it's practically perfect.