1. Rzero

    Rzero Reluctant voice of his generation Contributor

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    600 word Seussian picture book beta read anyone? (with artwork!)

    Discussion in 'Collaboration' started by Rzero, Sep 7, 2019.

    There's a Jark Under My Bed is an adolescent picture book written in a lyrical style somewhat similar to Dr. Seuss or Shel Silverstein. I pray it's not as derivative as that sounds, but if you're not a fan of either, you should probably skip this one too. If you are, then please try to keep your expectations realistic. I'm very proud of this piece, but I did just invoke the names of two of the great gods of children's lit, after all. :p

    I'm as close to final draft status as I can get without some beta feedback. If you're interested, I'd be glad to swap reads for another picture book or short story.

    If you have a short you'd like critiqued in exchange, I'm partial to the fantastical, so I'm likely to have more insightful notes on fantasy/sci-fi/etc., but I'm open to reading just about anything.

    When it comes to picture books, I love it all, from ABC books about baby rabbits to wildly irreverent big kid fodder. I also have a five-year-old who is an expert in the field, in case you'd like an opinion from your target audience while we're at it. Fair warning though, he has the attention span of a five-year-old. :D

    I will also be including some beautiful concept art by the illustrator, the inestimable genius @The Piper! [APPLAUSE SIGN] Yay!
     
  2. badgerjelly

    badgerjelly Contributor Contributor

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    I’m interested :)
     
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  3. Rzero

    Rzero Reluctant voice of his generation Contributor

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    Cool. I'll send you a thing.
     
  4. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    What kind of critique are you looking for?
     
  5. Rzero

    Rzero Reluctant voice of his generation Contributor

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    The gentle kind. No, really I'm about ready to send in some queries, but it feels slightly rough in spots. I especially want to know if there are any rhythm issues, lack of language flow, that sort of thing. I'm working on two pieces at the moment. The other is much longer and almost rigidly lyrical, so I purposely played it a little loose with the meter on this one. Not surprisingly, this has left me paranoid that I took too much license. General impressions would be greatly appreciated too, of course. Is it funny, is it consistent, is it marketable, etc. The language and flow stuff is more about polishing and, to a degree, a matter of preference, but it's definitely on my mind.
     
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  6. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Cool. I'm in if you want me.
     
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  7. Rzero

    Rzero Reluctant voice of his generation Contributor

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    Def. :agreed: PM me an email address. I won't get anything sent until tomorrow though. I'm waiting on one of the illustrations I want to send with it.
     
  8. Rzero

    Rzero Reluctant voice of his generation Contributor

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    Any other takers? I'm up to two plus my mom, so I could probably use more help. :)
     
  9. SethLoki

    SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

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    600 words you say?

    Please let me have a look; I’m confident I’ll be able provide a pointer or two.
     
  10. badgerjelly

    badgerjelly Contributor Contributor

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    Some basic SPAG isssues:

    ‘peek’ not ‘peak’
    ‘faucets’ not ‘a faucet’

    Generally I really liked it. The use of vocabulary is broad so it will appeal to parents and help to make concrete some words they don’t hear every day.
     
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  11. badgerjelly

    badgerjelly Contributor Contributor

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    Thinking about this it would probably be more appealing if the reader was shown, partly, where the creature comes from. Adding jn a verse or two, with some tantalizing illustrations, would spark imaginations.

    Mystery and suspense are the main items you’re working with here.
     
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  12. Rzero

    Rzero Reluctant voice of his generation Contributor

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    Peek! thank you. That's embarrassing. I've been through this a hundred times and didn't catch that. I've reexamined the faucet line. There's an argument to be made that a plural can be compared to a singular in a simile without breaking any rules, but the fact that it sticks out to you (and now to me) is a problem either way. I think I'll change "with nostrils like a faucet" to "that drips like a faucet." It fixes the problem and flows a little more smoothly, I think.

    Oh, we're all over the illustrations. I can't wait for everyone to see. Question:
    Is it unclear that The Jark comes from the sister's imagination and probably doesn't exist in reality? If so, I need to address that. It's presented ambiguously, or maybe you'd call it ironic subtext, because the narrator doesn't understand any of that, but the reader is supposed to at least have an idea that that's the case. Is that even what you meant, or were you just wanting a little backstory thrown into the myth? Because that could be fun too.

    Great catches. I really appreciate the feedback! Very helpful.
     
  13. Rzero

    Rzero Reluctant voice of his generation Contributor

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    That would be great. Thanks! PM me an email address, and I'll send you a copy.
     
  14. badgerjelly

    badgerjelly Contributor Contributor

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    It’s crystal clear! I meant some kind of imagined landscape from the perspective of the boy - or from what his sister’s told him. I thinking from a child’s perspective here. I would want some hint of the kind of place these Jarks come from. A couple of bits with the boy pondering about its home and feeling sorry for the creature out of its natural habitat, would play into the child’s emotions/imagination (perhaps some attempt to help the beast get home too?)

    From a ‘moral’ position it would also reinforce s child’s natural inclination not to judge everything by appearance and play into their natural curiosity.

    It is fine as is, just a suggestion you can choose to play with and see if anything comes of it.

    GL :)
     
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