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Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop

January 27, 2013

Jennifer M Eaton has started a Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop in which writers post 250 words of their current Work in Progress and then hop around and critique everyone else’s snippets. To join,  click here to sign up and add your name and web site address to the list.

This first week will feature the first 250 words of the works, so here is my opening 250 from my novel Ockleberries to the Rescue. It’s a children’s story that I created in NaNoWriMo 2012. The format is still a work in progress. Just to be clear this is the prologue…

Woodland folk, such as the sprites Crispin and Tansy Ockleberrie, kept their distance when it came to humans. To encounter one; in the most part; led to an unfavorable outcome. Within their forest home, concealed by a magical shroud, they assisted each and every animal, which needed healing or help. Their knowledge had been passed from one generation to the next through stories of the goddess, Vila, who was lost in time but remembered in legend as having a profound knowledge of herbal healing.  Vila had taught the woodland folk, of her time, how to make powerful potions and the skill of healing. When Vila disappeared it was the elders who wrote down as much as they could remember. A book was then given to each clan before they scattered to all points of the compass thus carrying on Vila’s work. Clans of sprites inhabited forests throughout the land some were only a few members strong; while others were much larger depending on the size of the forest they lived in.  There were also special travelling clans, who roamed the lands between the forests, assisting wherever they could. Birds were used as messengers as well as transport from and to these travelling bands, enabling the closest to reach an injured or sick animal quickly.

It was always a matter of great excitement when a travelling clan stopped at a forest home. Their tales of faraway lands and the variety of animals they encountered had many a sprite fighting sleep to hear them all.

Please have a look at and, if possible, critique the work of these authors, while you’re here. look for this logo. It will take you to their latest critique post:Sunday Snippets


  1. Pingback: Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop #5 | Jennifer M Eaton

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  3. Pingback: Sunday Snippet Critique Blog Hop | J. Keller Ford ~ Author

  4. Pingback: Critique Blog Hop #3 – 250 words from my YA Urban Fantasy | Jennifer M Eaton

  5. Pingback: Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop! | Jennifer M Eaton

  6. Hi! Apart from your 250 words there was something really familiar about this whole post! 😉 ha ha!
    Reading people’s stuff recently, coupled with Jennifer’s comments gives me a good lesson in Show versus Tell. I’m still trying to get that hang of that. But I can see what she means here. And, yes I did see your warning that it was a prologue. I think prologues can be tricky to write. I’m still undecided about using mine – the one I didn’t use for my 250. I can see why you did your the way you did. But it looks like a great adventure for the kiddies!


  7. Sounds like this will be an interesting world but I agree that this tells us all about the story beforehand. Start with an animal needing immediate help. I’m trying to picture your two main characters (sounds like they will be). I bet they have specific personalities, habits, temperaments…Looking forward to hearing more about them.


  8. Hi there!
    I started my offering for this hop during nanowrimo 2012, too – whew!

    I agree with the comments above about relying on the story happening, and refraining from lectuirng. Lecturing runs dangerously close to relying on cliches and common stuff, and your story isn’t common. It’s yours. So, show me your world, help me smell the air.

    I look forward to the next bit.


  9. I think the comment above mine is a perfect idea. I know it can be hard to cut something so beautiful, so have it be a discussion of the world before the stories begin. Perfect. That person deserves a cookie.

    All I wanted to add was to watch for your use of commas. Quite a few of them are superfluous. Also, your use of semi-colons in second sentence is incorrect. Ironically, I think commas would work there, haha.

    But I love the world you’ve thought up and I look forward to the individual stories!


  10. I love fairy stories! I mean stories with fairies, not Brothers Grimm.

    Fairy stories had a particular vogue in Victorian England, often with a moral or spiritual element. I urge you to search on line for some Victorian fairy stories and read a few to see how they did it. Not to do the same yourself — modern kids run from stories that are overtly moral — but for inspiration and enjoyment.

    I can’t argue with the previous critiques that your excerpt tells a lot and shows very little. What I can do is suggest — and it’s ONLY a suggestion — that you shape this into a conversation between Tansy and Crispin. Parent/child, brother/sister, teacher/student… perhaps with one of them doubting Vila. A conversation is always fraught with personalities and power dynamics that illuminate your characters and past events. It could be a way to give the information you want, while setting the mythic tone, and yet enliven the process.

    I hope this helps, and I hope you’ll keep on with this project.


  11. I love those names! It’s amazing how much of a story is told from a name and I’m not at all surprised to hear this is a tale involving sprites with names like Crispin and Tansy Ockleberrie. 🙂

    That said as this is a children’s story, you are writing for readers with a child’s attention span. That means you may want to consider less background and more action. We have two characters, but we don’t know anything about them as all the detail in this 250 words is not about them but the world they inhabit. Great detail, but giving the opening of your story over to sharing that detail runs the risk of slowing it down.

    I would like to know more about Crispin and Tansy and their interactions within this world. That serves the dual purpose of providing interesting action straight away and allowing you space to introduce the world around them.


  12. I like the concept a great deal–it feels very classic fairy tale, with little faces hidden under leaves. It is a lot of ‘tell,’ though. Gives us the adventures, and stuck in some background as you go.
    Show us a healing, or a rush to escape from human notice.
    Look forward to seeing something from your action!


  13. lovely to read- looking forward to reading more 🙂 maybe this could be a prologue or put up bits of the history before starting the chapters? x


  14. What a lovely world you’ve created!

    What you have just shown us is a text-book. “No-No”. It is really easy to do. What you have done is started creating your world, and told your reader all about it.

    This paragraph is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL for an author to have, but it was never meant to be seen by your reader. This is your “notes” of what your world is all about. YOU need to know all of this, but your reader does not.

    Who is your main character? Start with that character, and let something “happen” You need to start your story as close to the “event” that springboards them into the adventure that your story is about. In doing this, “show” the wonderful world you have in your mind by having it “unfold” around your main character. This will draw your reader in and have them fall in love with your world.

    Give it a try!


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