I shared a while back that I had been writing a children’s book. It’s been a few months now so thought it would be a good point to give you an update on how it’s going.
In June this year, I began with The Golden Egg Academy. They are a children’s literary editorial service that offer editorials, workshops, mentoring and writing retreats.
Last week I had my first editorial with Nicki Marshall. I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew something wasn’t working with the opening of my story but I couldn’t see what needed to change. Nicki looked through thirty pages of my manuscript and offered some encouragement and critique. I can’t tell you how useful and positive it was. It was like I had been handed a set of master keys that could unlock all of these treasures hidden within the story.
My book is children’s dystopian fantasy. Two worlds exist side by side, separated many moons ago at the time of the great divide. One world, Grey is one of rules, oppression, darkness and fear, a place ran by a totalitarian government where dreaming, thinking and creativity is forbidden. The second world, Imagine is the opposite, the only rules are to dream, to love, to imagine and create. It is a place where a person’s hopes can become their reality and where children are in control.
The story is about how the two worlds collide when a group of children from Imagine come to Grey in search of a young boy called Jack who can’t quite live by his world’s rules. Their mission is to rescue him. His mission becomes the uniting and ultimately the saving of their two worlds.
Nicki asked me to think more about Grey, to think about how I might show the reader this world and the things that happen there. This has strengthened the story in ways I couldn’t imagine. I hadn’t realised or really shared in the story how awful Grey actually was. As I began to think about the rules, understand and outwork the oppression of that terrible place, the sadness of Jacks existence became much more apparent as did the urgency for his rescue and the beauty of Leah’s world.
Other things emerged too. Things that were once just a sentence or a thought in the first manuscript, have now come alive with mini stories and sub plots immerging. I had shared Jack was a bit of a dreamer but with a little unpicking, I found that this was significant. It was in his dreams that he first found Imagine. When Leah and her siblings arrived in Jacks town, they had come with a mission to rescue him. He had been reaching out to them in his dreams most of his life but hadn’t realised. This wasn’t apparent or clear in my initial writing, but this was something Nicki helped me unlock. I now read those first thirty pages with excitement, there is a reason to carry on with the story. I think the reader might feel this too.
I am really looking forward to working on the next part of the story and am excited to see what else I might find.
The reason why I wanted to get onto the Golden Egg Academy was because I believed that somewhere within my writing was the potential of a very powerful story. A story where children can rewrite the rules of their world, a story that unlocks hope, that fights fear and that can prove that if you imagine something hard enough, anything can happen. Now I have begun my journey with Golden Egg, I can see this potential being unlocked and with it, my own dreams and imaginings are beginning to be realised. I can’t wait to see what happens next.