Wednesday, 26 March 2008

It's Never Too Soon To Meet Your Audience

So I've been reading my unpublished book Ugly City to a class of nine year olds.

Thanks to Josh for this picture from last year.

Ugly City is about a city where kids live on their own, watching flat screen TVs, playing video games and eating whatever they liked.

But some unlucky kids still live with their parents.
That was the was the way it was with Pa. He was always marching into the room and turning off the TV. It was always turn that off, turn that down, do your homework, wash your hands, stop playing on the console.
I was gratified to see the boys in the class nodding their heads in total understanding! AND they laughed their heads off at all the right places! I felt like Sally Field at the Oscar Awards. They got my story!

Sure, agents always say they don't want to see 'my daughter's friends really liked the story' in query letters. But hey, that doesn't mean you, the unpublished, shouldn't go to your audience and bask in the genuine warmth of a receptive audience. It's good for the morale in this long journey we're on.

Last time I went in to read some chapters, the kids gave me some drawings they made of a picture book text I'd read to them - from that popular picture book genre Head Lice - about a mum who goes at more and more outlandish lengths to zap the head lice in her child's hair.

This one is from Mai:

This is Aisha's take on the Nit and Lice Suction Device:
This is Mai's take on the Zap Em Dead Electric Head Lice comb:

I love 'em!


  1. I actually think that children are a good barometer of your work. yes they love the attention and looking at a new work might make them feel special. But they are the customers. My family are ultra-critical of my work. To the point at which I dread them looking over my shoulder!

  2. AND they give good advice.

    my daughter (age 8)told me the other day: when you get published mum, make sure they don't put photographs on the cover because we won't read them. if you do, we will think it's for grownups.

    my son (now age 16 but at the time 14) told me: "skip the boring bits like all those long descriptions. we'll get it anyway."

    ... genius advice, given that he had not even read Elmore Leonard's ten rules of writing - "Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip."


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