Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Sunday Snippets…31st March 2013

March 31, 2013

sunday_snippets2Happy Easter Sunday to those of you who celebrate it. I am sharing a small part of my current WIP today. It is a children’s story about two woodland sprite’s who heal sick and injured animals in the forest they live in. It is very rough as it was my NaNoWriMo novel, so apologies for editing errors I have not got to as yet. The title is Ockleberries to the Rescue.

The following excerpt is the end of a chapter where the sprite’s home was seriously damaged by a storm. Their deer and beaver friends have come to help re-build. I would appreciate comments on word usage and an idea of the target age I should go for.

“That’s a very impressive bit of building you have there, Crispin.”

“It’s all thanks to the beavers to be honest, Dash.”

At that moment Matilda appeared carrying something in her mouth. She lay it down in front of Tansy.

“A home warming gift of sorts, Tansy something for the new room. I hope you like it.”

Tansy picked up the beautifully made bowl. It had finely gnawed edges and sides.

“It is exquisite. Thank you Matilda. There was no need to bring anything; you and your family have been more than kind helping us.”

“It was my pleasure and anyway I enjoy making finer objects. I knew the boys could cope without me for a while. Looks like they have been more than just coping.”

“Yes, they have been very industrious. We only have the holes to block up now and Crispin can hang the door into its new place.”

“So if you are happy to finish on your own I think I will take my boys home.”

“We can certainly finish up ourselves, thank you all for an amazing job. We know the extra room will be a real bonus when helping our fellow woodland creatures.”

Arm in arm in front of their new façade, Tansy and Crispin waved the beaver family off. It would take a few weeks for Crispin to make extra furniture and Tandy more shelves but they were happy knowing it was all for the benefit of the animals that came into their care.

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  1. What a cute idea!
    There’s not much I can say that hasn’t been said. A little bit of action in the dialogue would certainly be helpful, and maybe some more description.
    For example, the gnawed bowl–I’m sure it must be made of wood, but what kind? Is it deep or shallow? I know you can’t add too much and disrupt the flow, but maybe a few dashes of color here and there would work.


  2. My tutor at my last workshop always used to tell us not to worry so much about age appropriate words when writing a children’s book; the editor would tell you what to change and when.

    I’m not sure I entirely agree with it, but I can see the sense I suppose. It runs the risk of making it too hard to write the novel if worrying about the words you use.

    That aside, the language is simple enough. There are a couple of words I might not have used personally (industrious / exquisite) but the overall tone of the writing is certainly child friendly.

    For me, I think you need a couple more dialogue tags. I wasn’t always sure who was speaking and, since this is a bunch of animals, have you considered more animally (I know it’s not a real word, sorry!) descriptions? So someone flicking their ears, waving a paw, or ruffling their fur? Just small things to remind your reader that it’s animals.


  3. This is going to be a fun book!


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