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Underd0g
April 4th, 2018, 06:38 PM
Andie's Mountain
Chapter One


There was a big change happening in Andie's life.
Andie is a young bunny, and today is moving day.

"What will it be like?" Andie asked his mother.
"It will be an adventure."she said, "Change always brings many wonderful surprises."

When they arrived at their new home,Andie was amazed at how different this forest was from his old home.
"Lots of surprises" the little bunny said to himself. Andie noticed a wild carrot growing nearby. It was beautiful.
"These are bigger and juicier than the carrots where I'm from." He set the carrot down on a tree stump and kept looking around.

"Welcome to the neighborhood." said a red bird perched on a limb.
That was a surprise, Bunny thought. A new friend and he had just arrived.

"Hello, my name is Andie, what's yours?"
"I'm Cardinal Red, but you can call me Red." the bird replied "And walking up the trail right now is Mr. Baggypants."

Andie turned to look and saw a raccoon lumbering up the path.

"Another surprise." saidAndie.
"Another surprise?" asked Mr.Baggypants, "What is this about a surprise?"
"I'm new here and my mother said there would be lots of surprises when we moved," Andie explained,"and she was right."

The cardinal asked "Like what?"

"Well, there's a spring and a pond by my house. That was a surprise. There are more trees here and they are taller than where I am from. And I have new friends, a raccoon and a cardinal... that was a surprise."
Andie remembered his carrot, "And the wild carrots are bigger and juicier than in my old neighborhood."

Andie looked at the stump where he had left his carrot, IT WAS GONE! Then he saw the raccoon just as he ate the last bite of carrot.
Mr. Baggypants had an embarrassed smile on his face and mumbled "SURPRISE!"



I am still rethinking this and want to add some more descriptive language, but I've been encouraged to do SOMETHING, so here is my first draft of the edit:

Chapter One

It promised to be a magical day. Andie's Momma had pledged that today, Andie could leave their burrow and venture outdoors. You see, Andie was a bunny rabbit and had lived underground all his young life. This morning would be his first grown up adventure.

"What will it be like?" Andie asked his mother.

"It will be marvelous." she said, "Change always brings many wonderful surprises."

As Andie headed toward the entrance of their den, the once dim light burst into a brilliant glow and it took quite some time for Andie's eyes to adjust. When they did, Andie was indeed surprised by the sight of the tall trees surrounding the deep blue sky.

"Lots of surprises" the little bunny said to himself. Andie noticed a wild carrot growing nearby. It was beautiful.

"This is bigger and juicier than the carrots my mother has brought me." He set the carrot down on a tree stump and kept looking around.

"Welcome to the neighborhood." said a red bird perched on a limb.

That was a surprise, the bunny thought. A new friend and he had just arrived.

"Hello, my name is Andie, what's yours?"

"I'm Cardinal Red, but you can call me Red." the bird replied "And walking up the trail right now is Mr. Baggypants."
Andie turned to look and saw a raccoon lumbering up the path.

"Another surprise." said Andie.

"Another surprise?" asked Mr. Baggypants, "What is all this about a surprise?"

"I'm new here and my mother said there would be lots of surprises when I ventured away from my home," Andie explained, "and she was right."

The cardinal asked, "What kind of surprises?"

"Well, there's a spring and a pond by my house. That was a surprise. These trees are so tall and the sky so big. There is grass and smells I could never have imagined. And I have friends, a raccoon and a cardinal... that was a surprise."

Andie remembered his carrot, "And the wild carrots are bigger and juicier than I've ever seen."

Andie looked at the stump where he had left his carrot, IT WAS GONE! Then he saw the raccoon just as he ate the last bite of carrot.

Mr. Baggypants had an embarrassed smile on his face and mumbled,
"SURPRISE!"

BlondeAverageReader
April 6th, 2018, 02:52 PM
One question springs to mind, how did they get to their new home?

Underd0g
April 6th, 2018, 11:12 PM
Well, I figure that would be seen in the illustrations.
I'm debating how much anthropomorphism there would be.
There is actually a prequel of his life on a farm.
I was thinking of when people re-locate, like the military or jobs that move families.

BlondeAverageReader
April 7th, 2018, 08:16 AM
My feeling was the journey should have been a part of this ‘surprise’ story. Are your animal characters going to be wearing clothes, Wind in the Willows style, or as nature intended but with the power of speech?

Underd0g
April 7th, 2018, 03:09 PM
Thank you for your feedback. This is a project I've been working on for a while but without much input or critique. It goes back into my drawer for long periods of time.
It's one of two ideas I have.
I'm not sure how much description to have as opposed to interaction with the animals. A lot of description would make the story longer.
Would the target age get bored?

JustRob
April 7th, 2018, 03:31 PM
I think we have to be careful about what young readers might pick up on. For example, one moment the wild carrot was in the ground growing and then somehow Andie had it and "set it down". How did that happen? I suspect that more detailed descriptions of events might actually be appreciated, especially by parents reading out the story and having to answer all the questions that the writer left unanswered.

I recollect a very long time ago reading a story about dragons from their point of view and it mentioned them cooking their breakfast by breathing fire on it. It had never occurred to me that dragons ate cooked food and I still remember being puzzled by that from maybe half a century ago. As a child one makes mental notes of things to find out about later in life and that one is evidently still on my list.

BlondeAverageReader
April 7th, 2018, 03:53 PM
Freely admit to a very limited knowledge of young children’s reading matter, they do have a shorter attention span, so too much chat without some action could bore them. I guess you’re aiming this book at 4-6 year olds so are you having pictures along with the story on every page?

Underd0g
April 9th, 2018, 05:07 PM
I think we have to be careful about what young readers might pick up on. For example, one moment the wild carrot was in the ground growing and then somehow Andie had it and "set it down". How did that happen? I suspect that more detailed descriptions of events might actually be appreciated, especially by parents reading out the story and having to answer all the questions that the writer left unanswered.

I recollect a very long time ago reading a story about dragons from their point of view and it mentioned them cooking their breakfast by breathing fire on it. It had never occurred to me that dragons ate cooked food and I still remember being puzzled by that from maybe half a century ago. As a child one makes mental notes of things to find out about later in life and that one is evidently still on my list.

Well that is an interesting perspective from the child's point of view.
I had a book on writing for children that had some interesting points. I'm going to have to find it again.

Underd0g
April 9th, 2018, 05:09 PM
Freely admit to a very limited knowledge of young children’s reading matter, they do have a shorter attention span, so too much chat without some action could bore them. I guess you’re aiming this book at 4-6 year olds so are you having pictures along with the story on every page?

I figure a picture to a page and two pages per chapter?

Sync
April 18th, 2018, 12:14 AM
I have read this a number of times and something just didn't quite work. I went over and over and I think I know what it is. Just my opinion, but I think it is caught between age groups. Parts are wrote in a very young child way of understanding, while others are written for a more experienced reader. They two voices conflicted each other.

I believe a reviewer mentioned the use of terms like 'he set it down' - it just doesn't work in this story. Even the carrot, I had pictured a wild scene and then carrot made me think they lived on a farm, but they weren't it seemed.

The names of the animals didn't quite work.

I think writers under estimate how difficult it is to write a children's story. In a way it is like an open book test. Though the answers are there, they have to be perfect in order to score top marks with the reader. They need to teach something also.

Keep at it. My opinion is just that. Not a rule to follow.

Thanks for the read

Sync

Underd0g
April 18th, 2018, 03:57 AM
Wow Sync, thank you too very much.
Your observations motivate me to get back to work.
I have several chapters which will have similar problems. The reason it seems to cross ages is because I have an ambitious goal.
To create stories with a bit of lateral thinking.
I'm new here and am gauging my way, learning what is expected of me and what I can expect of other members.
Thanks again.

bdcharles
April 19th, 2018, 11:14 AM
Andie's Mountain
Chapter One


There was a big change happening in Andie's life.
Andie is a young bunny, and today is moving day.

"What will it be like?" Andie asked his mother.
"It will be an adventure."she said, "Change always brings many wonderful surprises."

When they arrived at their new home,Andie was amazed at how different this forest was from his old home.
"Lots of surprises" the little bunny said to himself. Andie noticed a wild carrot growing nearby. It was beautiful.
"These are bigger and juicier than the carrots where I'm from." He set the carrot down on a tree stump and kept looking around.

"Welcome to the neighborhood." said a red bird perched on a limb.
That was a surprise, Bunny thought. A new friend and he had just arrived.

"Hello, my name is Andie, what's yours?"
"I'm Cardinal Red, but you can call me Red." the bird replied "And walking up the trail right now is Mr. Baggypants."

Andie turned to look and saw a raccoon lumbering up the path.

"Another surprise." saidAndie.
"Another surprise?" asked Mr.Baggypants, "What is this about a surprise?"
"I'm new here and my mother said there would be lots of surprises when we moved," Andie explained,"and she was right."

The cardinal asked "Like what?"

"Well, there's a spring and a pond by my house. That was a surprise. There are more trees here and they are taller than where I am from. And I have new friends, a raccoon and a cardinal... that was a surprise."
Andie remembered his carrot, "And the wild carrots are bigger and juicier than in my old neighborhood."

Andie looked at the stump where he had left his carrot, IT WAS GONE! Then he saw the raccoon just as he ate the last bite of carrot.
Mr. Baggypants had an embarrassed smile on his face and mumbled "SURPRISE!"

Hi

This is a sweet story and with lovely characters. Love the font too. What is it?

Just a couple of errors:

"It will be an adventure.[<- should be a comma]"she said, "Change always brings many wonderful surprises."

"Lots of surprises[<- should have a comma]" the little bunny said to himself.

The cardinal asked[<- should have a comma] "Like what?"

Andie remembered his carrot,[<- should not be a comma :)] "And the wild carrots are bigger and juicier than in my old neighborhood."

"I'm Cardinal Red, but you can call me Red.[<- should be a comma]" the bird replied[<- should have a full stop] "And walking up the trail right now is Mr. Baggypants."

Etcetera, etcetera. There are a few more of these.

Secondly, having read a good number of kids' books recently with my own children, I am conscious of how they are done. Things, it appears to me, are more distilled than adult literature, so the hook must be a Hook!, the message must be the Message! etc. The conflicts are very real and immediate and clear and relatable and unambiguous. What is your hook here? What is his "mountain"? He's moved house and met some friends. Moving house is not an insignificant challenge for anyone and for a child it will present questions about new friends, about missing the old place etc. But these are glossed over and all that's happened in ch 1 is that things have gone relatively well if uneventfully. I suppose, when I think of children's books (I have a seies planned) I think in terms of not just entertaining that child but helping them cope with something. And the child I am helping is the sort that sits inside with books rather than goes outside and kicks a ball about, so it needs to speak to them. Andie in this book seems set to have things fall in to place for him pretty easily. Strangers come up to him and are instantly friendly. His new home is not terrifying. If my six or however many years old self was reading that I would feel pretty alienated to be truthful. I would think: "what's wrong with me that random yet unthreatening strangers don't come up to me and beg for my friendship?" or "I want to go back to my old home where everything was lovely and made sense and not the bleak horror of the new-build." or whatever :) Sorry to sound harsh but I want to just put in your mind the things that matter to your actual readership (to whom such things may be real challenges that genuinely demand to be written about) rather than just their hopeful, time-strapped parents. So give it a go. Give Andie some challenges. Have him not want to leave. Have him have great things to leave. Have the new place be unwelcoming (at first) because that tends to be the reality where childrens' worries are concerned. Anyway hope this helps - ingore if not :) Good luck!

Underd0g
April 19th, 2018, 04:49 PM
Hi

This is a sweet story and with lovely characters. Love the font too. What is it?






Secondly, having read a good number of kids' books recently with my own children, I am conscious of how they are done. Things, it appears to me, are more distilled than adult literature, so the hook must be a Hook.

I suppose, when I think of children's books (I have a series planned)...

:) Sorry to sound harsh..

Anyway hope this helps - ingore if not :) Good luck!

The font is Storybook, yeah, kinda cool.

I've never been one to understand why people get offendedwhen someone takes a lot of time and effort to critique and give observations.Plus you spent so much time on your reply... DANG

You have educated me in many areas here with your post...thank you. I feel grateful for so many quality responses here.
I am building toward what I refer to as lateral thinking. I wanted to start with the humor of "Surprise" to kind of rope parents in.
In future chapters I have some conflict and problems. I even have some riddles that work out in the story line. I find that children don't necessarily like riddles. This way they see the riddle and answer without being put on the spot and be made to look stupid.

So BD Charles, what is the flavor of your series? Could yougive me a glimpse?

I'll try to attach a picture of my vision for Mr.Baggypants. He will be called Baggy in the future. I use "Baggypants"in a chapter about nicknames (because of his haunches of which he is unaware).

Thank you again, I hope to connect with each of you more inthe future. Please feel free to PM me.

Jack of all trades
April 19th, 2018, 04:59 PM
If this is a children's book, then the pictures would show the clothes, or lack thereof. No need to add descriptions.

Maybe you should mention the bunny pulling the carrot out of the ground. And I was surprised that the racoon was able to eat the carrot, as the prior mention of him was on the trail. Maybe he should actually talk with the racoon first, before mentioning all the surprises.

Just my thoughts.

Underd0g
April 19th, 2018, 05:33 PM
If this is a children's book, then the pictures would show the clothes, or lack thereof. No need to add descriptions.

Maybe you should mention the bunny pulling the carrot out of the ground. And I was surprised that the racoon was able to eat the carrot, as the prior mention of him was on the trail. Maybe he should actually talk with the racoon first, before mentioning all the surprises.

Just my thoughts.

Yep Jack, I'm seeing the potential of having the fun of getting into description.
I guess I was trying for brevity thinking kids have no attention span.
I'm learning that writing for children is its own little animal.

Thank you so much for your attention and advice.

Jack of all trades
April 19th, 2018, 09:11 PM
Yep Jack, I'm seeing the potential of having the fun of getting into description.
I guess I was trying for brevity thinking kids have no attention span.
I'm learning that writing for children is its own little animal.

Thank you so much for your attention and advice.

What age range is the target audience?

Underd0g
April 19th, 2018, 09:48 PM
What age range is the target audience?

Good question. Y'see, this is why I'm very glad that I posted this.
I guess I'm changing my mind from very young to a bit older. You would see this especially if you read the subsequent chapters.
Perhaps I'll pick a later chapter and post it. Should I do that on this thread or start another?

Anita M Shaw
April 28th, 2018, 06:54 AM
I guess they have a short attention span! My five year old granddaughter barely lets me finish a page before turning it to the next. And yet, she wants me to read every word. Go figure. She was worse when she was even younger. I just told the story using the pictures. Which for some stories was the only way I could do it because the font was so tiny or too light.

What does a bunny eat in the wild? I don't think I ever gave it a thought - and I read Watership Down years ago. Can't remember much about it. Seems like they ate a lot of grass. So, maybe the comparison could be about the differences of food choices they find now. No carrots but lots of berries, for instance.

I agree that the journey should be told to us. If they lived on a farm, why and how did they escape it? Someone must've left a door open somewhere. Or maybe a bunny chewed through the wood frame of the coop and out they went. Did anyone see them out and about and try to catch them? A dog or a cat chase them? Was the forest scarier than anything they'd experienced before? How did they find their new home?

I also agree the names aren't quite right.

For a story for little ones, you don't have to think in chapters. Well, really, no chapters are needed for any short story - but if you wanted to do it that way, maybe make each event in their life a chapter, however many pages it takes to tell it.

Underd0g
April 28th, 2018, 08:33 PM
Hi Anita, thanks for the response.
Short attention span, ha, I remember that. Maybe we don't give them enough credit for retention and understanding (wanting to turn the page).
I'm using blueberries as their currency. I figure they're colorful and easy to draw.
Names are a pitfall. I've seen some successful books with off-the-wall names, but I'm not locked in. Good thing it's so easy to edit in Word.
Heck, I'd collaborate if I could find the right person.
Since so many are being kind and replying, I'll go ahead and post another rough draft chapter.

Anita M Shaw
April 29th, 2018, 06:26 PM
Lol! Yes, she sometimes doesn't even let me finish the story. She will grab it away, and finish the story herself or toss that book and slap another on my lap.

Easy to draw is always a plus! I wish I could draw. Unfortunately, I'm not as good at it as a five year old! :)

Be here waiting for your next draft!

Underd0g
April 29th, 2018, 07:11 PM
I might have figured out a solution for the names of the animals.
Since I am leaning toward lateral thinking as a theme throughout the book, what about if I use anagrams?
Cardinal Red could be: Alden Ricard

I'll look over my chapters to see what I think would be best for another sample.

Underd0g
April 29th, 2018, 07:47 PM
I created another thread, or two.

https://www.writingforums.com/threads/177750-Andie-s-Mountain-Deux

https://www.writingforums.com/threads/178613-Andie-s-Mountain-Mittsu

Jack of all trades
July 6th, 2018, 02:16 AM
Having read the others today, I revisited this one.

Does the big change have to be moving to the mountain?

I'm thinking that being allowed out of the burrow to explore his world is enough of a change. Something to consider. It might address the problems the current story has.

Jack of all trades
July 6th, 2018, 02:21 AM
I might have figured out a solution for the names of the animals.
Since I am leaning toward lateral thinking as a theme throughout the book, what about if I use anagrams?
Cardinal Red could be: Alden Ricard

I'll look over my chapters to see what I think would be best for another sample.

Anagrams would go over the heads of young readers. Parents reading to their children might enjoy them, but too few parents actually read to their children any more. Or so it seems in my circle of friends.

Keeping the names fun, like Mr. Baggypants, seems best to me.

meghanwithanH
July 29th, 2018, 03:16 PM
This is great! I do agree with the comment above, however, that the relocation would provide an opportunity for many obstacles/surprises.

I've always preferred dialogue over descriptions, even as a child. I suppose I'm more interested in the characters' relationships and interactions. But that's just me - there's no right or wrong here.

Underd0g
July 29th, 2018, 03:52 PM
This is great! I do agree with the comment above, however, that the relocation would provide an opportunity for many obstacles/surprises.

I've always preferred dialogue over descriptions, even as a child. I suppose I'm more interested in the characters' relationships and interactions. But that's just me - there's no right or wrong here.

I don't think I ever actually explained but what I had in mind when I first wrote this were families that moved and the insecurity of children in a new place.
I like dialogue also, thank you for that.

Jack of all trades
July 29th, 2018, 09:40 PM
I don't think I ever actually explained but what I had in mind when I first wrote this were families that moved and the insecurity of children in a new place.
I like dialogue also, thank you for that.

The logistics of wild animals relocating themselves makes such a thing difficult.

I recommend that the book begin with Andie venturing out of the burrow for the first time. The idea of moving might better be handled by a story about a family pet that was moved, then travelled to Andie's mountain trying to get back home. Maybe Andie and friends could convince the pet to give the new place a chance.

Something to think about.

Underd0g
July 29th, 2018, 10:12 PM
The logistics of wild animals relocating themselves makes such a thing difficult.

I recommend that the book begin with Andie venturing out of the burrow for the first time. The idea of moving might better be handled by a story about a family pet that was moved, then travelled to Andie's mountain trying to get back home. Maybe Andie and friends could convince the pet to give the new place a chance.

Something to think about.

I've been thinking about it but my problem is working the punch line "Surprise" into it.

Jack of all trades
July 30th, 2018, 01:44 PM
I've been thinking about it but my problem is working the punch line "Surprise" into it.



I don't see the problem. Just replace "moving" with "going out on his own", and the rest of the story works, pretty much as is.

Jack of all trades
July 30th, 2018, 01:48 PM
Bolding are my suggestions :




Andie's Mountain
Chapter One


There was a big change happening in Andie's life.
Andie is a young bunny, and today is moving going out day.

"What will it be like?" Andie asked his mother.
"It will be an adventure."she said, "Change always brings many wonderful surprises."

Maybe add a piece here where his mother explains the running water is a spring, the still water is a pond, and the tall things are trees before going off in search of food.

[CENTER][CENTER]
When they arrived at their new home,Andie was amazed at how different this forest was from his old burrow home.
"Lots of surprises" the little bunny said to himself. Andie noticed a wild carrot growing nearby. It was beautiful.
"These are bigger and juicier than the carrots where I'm from Mom brought home." He set the carrot down on a tree stump and kept looking around.

"Welcome to the neighborhood." said a red bird perched on a limb.
That was a surprise, Bunny Andie thought. A new friend and he had just arrived only just started exploring.

"Hello, my name is Andie, what's yours?"
"I'm Cardinal Red, but you can call me Red." the bird replied "And walking up the trail right now is Mr. Baggypants."

Andie turned to look and saw a raccoon lumbering up the path.

"Another surprise." saidAndie.
"Another surprise?" asked Mr.Baggypants, "What is this about a surprise?"
"I'm new here and my mother said there would be lots of surprises when we moved out in the world," Andie explained,"and she was right."

The cardinal asked "Like what?"

"Well, there's a spring and a pond by my house. That was a surprise. There are more trees out here and they are taller than where I am from I thought from the stories Mom told me. And I have new friends, a raccoon and a cardinal... that was a surprise."
Andie remembered his carrot, "And the wild carrots are bigger and juicier than in my old neighborhood the ones Mom brought home to me."

Andie looked at the stump where he had left his carrot, IT WAS GONE! Then he saw the raccoon just as he ate the last bite of carrot.
Mr. Baggypants had an embarrassed smile on his face and mumbled "SURPRISE!"

These are only suggestions, but at least it points out all the little modifications that you would need to make.

Good luck with it! I hope to see your version soon!

Jack

Underd0g
July 30th, 2018, 06:28 PM
Bolding are my suggestions :


Maybe add a piece here where his mother explains the running water is a spring, the still water is a pond, and the tall things are trees before going off in search of food.


These are only suggestions, but at least it points out all the little modifications that you would need to make.

Good luck with it! I hope to see your version soon!

Jack

Well Jack, I think you nailed it. Instead of focusing on new experiences because of a move, new experiences because of new independence. Kids can relate to a visit to Grandma's house or an overnight play date. Venturing out from the familiar and learning from unexpected ways.

Thanks for that!

Jack of all trades
July 31st, 2018, 03:33 PM
Well Jack, I think you nailed it. Instead of focusing on new experiences because of a move, new experiences because of new independence. Kids can relate to a visit to Grandma's house or an overnight play date. Venturing out from the familiar and learning from unexpected ways.

Thanks for that!

Or the first day of school.

Glad you like my suggestions, and don't see any resemblance to Frankenstein!

Underd0g
July 31st, 2018, 04:33 PM
...and don't see any resemblance to Frankenstein!

"Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change."--- Mary Shelley

Jack of all trades
September 7th, 2018, 11:02 PM
Still waiting to see your version of the revision.

You've got a winner here! Get it done!

Underd0g
September 30th, 2018, 06:10 PM
Still waiting to see your version of the revision.

You've got a winner here! Get it done!

Thank you for your encouragement.
It's been hard getting back into the groove.
I posted it up front.
I'm still working on it.