Seven brand new stories for children. Strange things are happening in the seaside town in which Susan lives. The seagulls have grown tired of begging for food from humans and have taken control of the promenade. Most of the grown-ups have run away screaming in terror. Eight-year-old Susan is not running away. She enlists the help of mysterious odd job man Mister Sixty in order to save the town from danger. The pair go on to face such weird threats as rebellious TV sets, out-of-control baths, and giant goldfish in order to defend the sleepy coastal town.. Finally, they must pit their wits against The Happysad in order to win the battle once and for all. The stories are exciting, funny and heart-warming and will captivate children from eight years old and upward.
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‘I initially wrote these as separate stories for children age 8-13 but found that, even though most of the stories can be read independently, there was a definite plot progression which meant that they were best read in a particular order. So it may be that the stories end up being called chapters or maybe I’ll just have a list of titles. Anyway, here’s the stories/chapters/titles in the correct order.’ JK
- Evil Seagulls
- Susan Shocks
- Bad Television
- Talk Talk
- Inside the Machine
- Ice Scream
- The Happysad
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This track is so addictive, playing it on repeat is starting to drive me insane. I think Balthazar is a Belgian band but I don’t know much more than that. They’re albums are on Spotify and there’s lots of good tracks but this is the most addictive.
We have someone new in the house. Sheila the cat is now a permanent resident. When she originally came to us she was called Scruff but you’ve never seen a cat who is less of a scruff; she’s actually smooth and silky. So she’s now called Sheila.
When I was a kid I had a dog so I’m not experienced with cats. I love animals but I’d never choose to have a pet (I was outvoted in this case). Dogs and cats only really live for 10 to 15 years which is just enough time for you to grow to totally love them as one of the family before they cruelly die on you and leave you a sobbing, traumatised wreck. Why would I volunteer for that? Plus there’s the cleaning up of the crap.
I took these shots in North Wales last week. I like how the water looks like snow.
“You shouldn’t have said that, Geoff.”
I took these photographs recently at New Brighton, Liverpool, England.
Over the last few months I’ve been trying to write stories for kids. In the past I’ve written a couple of books for adults which were fun to write but also a hard slog at times. I was thinking that writing children’s stories would be an easier ride. Nope.
I decided to write stories rather than a novel. I wanted to do a series of stories about a number of regular characters. I thought it would be good if they fitted together in a similar way that episodes in a television series do; separate stories fitting together into an overall story arc. I remember reading Enid Blyton stories as a kid especially the Brer Rabbit and Amelia Jane stories. In these, there was a limited number of characters inhabiting a particular environment, e.g. animals in the countryside, toys in a nursery etc.
So far I’ve written five or six stories about a character called Susan who is a seven year old girl, and a more enigmatic character called Mr. Sixty. The regular characters are Susan’s mum and dad and various other people such as Susan’s school teachers and friends. The characters live in a small seaside town.
As I wrote each one I started off feeling really pleased but I then read them aloud to my seven year old daughter and, although she liked them from the start, I noticed several parts that didn’t work. The main problem with those sections was that they were either too rambly or too description-heavy. I realised that children’s stories need to be lean; there’s absolutely no room for flab. There must be not one word there which is not essential. If the writer rambles on about how pretty the sea looks then he or she has lost the reader. The only things you need are character and story. That’s it. All the rest of the stuff, the bits which show what a clever writer you are, go out of the window.
This is undoubtedly the hardest writing I have ever done. I still lack confidence when doing this kind of writing and so I wondered whether I dared to publish one of the stories here on my blog so that I could get the views of all those who read it. If I do, would you be prepared to give me your opinion, either as a comment here or as a message to my email address? I’d be really grateful. I may post the first story of the series here so you can read it and then give me feedback. What do you think? My email is email@example.com