I've had some amazingly useful feedback from my children's fiction tutor. It's helped me set an age for the readership (8-11) and has asked the question (which I hear ringing through this whole year) 'but what's this scene about?' So I've printed it off and am writing (in big, colourful writing) what each scene is FOR and, more importantly, what it could be for.What I'm hearing, and hear everywhere, is more hooks, more reasons to read on. These younger readers need lots of encouragement and short, snappy chapters. So I'm rewriting with a slightly younger audience in mind. This structuring and plotting is is a pain. The urge to just write the story is overwhelming, even though it would be waffly ramble to nowhere. I suppose I shall have to take those scene as raw material and starting points for the actual book.
Meanwhile, I have been reading The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. Wow. What a powerful dystopian story, which at its heart, is a wild western survival story against lawlessness and power struggles. I've passed it on to my son and it's another book on a list my kids are queueing up to read. Set in a pioneer world, Todd is brought up in a world without women. He's the last child, the others all having passed the initiation into manhood. In a world where everyone can hear each other's thoughts, Todd's feelings are broadcast to the town. So when he finds something remarkable that challenges everything he's ever been told... The guardian review by Frank Cottrell Boyce is here. Well worth a read - and I agree with Boyce, this is a book that will entertain adults. I have ordered the sequels. The sad truth is, I have a long way to go, as a children's writer.