The writing challenge, set by my local writers’ group, was to write a blurb and introduction for a book. I chose children’s fiction, as I somehow thought this would be easier. Imagining the world through the eyes of a ten-year-old girl is actually quite difficult. I’d love to know what my writer friends think. Pull it apart if you like. Writing fiction is fun, but i’d love to learn more.
Hannah is a ten year-old-girl pining for the summer holidays to begin. Although she doesn’t really mind going to school because she has lots of friends and a fun teacher, the summer holidays can’t arrive soon enough. In class, she daydreams about how she will spend the beginning of summer – with her aunt Elizabeth who lives beside the beach and a holiday resort full of amusements. Hannah thinks this will be the best summer ever. Aunt Elizabeth isn’t as strict as Hannah’s mum and she doesn’t have any children. She’ll let her stay up late, use her iPad whenever she wants and bring her shopping for clothes. The perfect holiday in Hannah’s eyes.
On Hannah’s last day of school, she races to her mother’s car where she receives bad news. Hannah’s mummy isn’t sure if Hannah can go away for the summer after all.
‘Oh I can’t wait’ I whispered to my friend Joe, just as Miss Morgan shot me another disapproving glare. She was definitely going easy on us today, it being the end of term and everything. Normally for talking, we’d be summoned to the front of the classroom and made to stand there in front of everyone. We were at the back of the class and I thought maybe she won’t mind if we just whisper.
‘So what are you going to do?’ asked Joe.
‘Well there’s the amusements, I told you that didn’t I? There’s the beach. My aunt even said she might get tickets for One Direction!’ I couldn’t help as my whisper turned into a squeal.
Joe started to giggle with excitement ‘One Direction! Oh your aunt is so cool!’
‘I know!’ I said ‘But best of all I get away from the three little monsters. They drive me crazy. My house is like a zoo.’
‘But your little brothers are so cute. At least you don’t have sisters. That’s far worse. They’re always stealing my stuff’ said Joe rolling her eyes.
‘Oh I know, I suppose they’re not that bad, it’s just that mum always asks me to watch them, while she’s working on her laptop. I make their breakfast, read them stories. It’s not fair. They lump me with everything and if I say anything, then I get in trouble because we’re supposed to work together as a family blah…blah…blah..’.
‘Yeah, but they really look up to you’ said Joe.
‘I know. Maybe when I’m away at my aunt’s, my mum will realise how much I help her. And then when I get back she’ll take me places on my own without all the boys.’
Once the bell rang, all of us poured out through the double doors into the school car park. I spy my mum leaning up against our old car. Normally she’s playing Candy Crush on her iPhone, but she’s staring in my direction as I skip towards her.
‘Bye!’ I shouted over my shoulder to my friends without taking my eyes off mum. I left the buzz behind me as the other kids hung around to say good-bye as some knew they wouldn’t see each other until next term. I was eager to see mum. I could tell something was up.
‘Jump in’ she says without a smile.
‘Er…What’s wrong mum? You look so serious… Did the bank say no again?’
‘No, no it’s not that, its little josh. But don’t worry, don’t worry. It’s nothing too serious. It’s just… he broke his ankle this morning. He tried to fly again only this time he jumped off the jungle gym instead of the sofa.’
‘Oh god is he in hospital? Can we go see him?’ I said.
‘He’s just arrived home. We were in hospital most of the day. He was as good as gold bless him’.
‘Oh thank goodness. I thought he was really sick when I saw your face’.
Mum smiled over at me. ‘No time for cooking tonight. Come on, we’ll grab a few pizzas for dinner.’
‘Supermarket or take-away?’
‘Definitely take-away tonight. After the day we’ve had.’
‘Yes!’ I quipped. Pizza was my favourite.
After we collected the pizza, mum agreed I could eat one slice in the car on the way home.
As I was eating, she said ‘Hannah, I’m not sure going to Aunt Elizabeth’s next week is a great idea. The timing is so bad. I’m going to need you next week. I have three meetings and an appointment with the bank’.
‘O.K. mum’. I was so annoyed but I didn’t want to talk to her at all. She had made her decision without talking to me and I knew I couldn’t change her mind.
I finished my pizza and stared out the window, deliberately avoiding mum’s eyes. I could feel her looking at me at the traffic lights and in between gear changes.
‘I’m sorry darling… I know how excited you were about going to Aunt Elizabeth’s. But I’m going to need you here to help me. We’re trying to get the new business started and you know how difficult things have been recently… I was really hoping you would understand. We’re a family and we really need to pull together when things happen like this dear. Hannah… Hannah! Are you listening to me?’
When I got home, I ran upstairs to my room, slamming the door in the middle of another desperate plea from my mother… ‘Hannah!!’
I grabbed dad’s iPod and shoved the earphones in my ears, but after a minute or two there were knocks at my door, my dad’s familiar knocks. Knowing it was him, I jumped off the bed and opened the door immediately. ‘Hello. Your little brother is downstairs and he wants to see you’.
‘Oh dad it’s not fair! I’ve done everything right. I’ve been so good. I got a good school report and help look after the boys.. You told me I could go! It’s not my fault Josh broke his ankle. Why am I being punished?’
I knew dad would listen to me. He’d understand how I felt.
‘You’re not being punished pet. The timing is bad that’s all. Josh is very upset too you know. I’ll talk to mum, and maybe you can still go for a few days. And maybe Josh will get his cast off before the end of the summer and then you can go to Aunt Elizabeth’s.’
‘Promise? Dad, do you promise?’
‘Yes, I promise, now go and say hello to your little brother. He’s dying to show you his cast’.
‘OK dad. I’ll come down’.
Photo credit: Lívia Cristina via photopin cc
I really got into this in the end. Wondering what’s going to happen! Hope she gets to go to the aunt’s house and something interesting happens there.
Thanks Sparrow! I wonder is it appropriate for kids’ fiction though, regarding content and style.
I think she does get away. Her dad has a knack for talking her mum round :o)
Not that I’m a judge, but seems appropriate to me. I think kids appreciate honesty.
Yes you are.. I really appreciate your opinion! :0)
I think that was what I was going for. Kids are so adept and intuitive. I think they sense family pressure and strains more than we care to realise sometimes.
You are a good writer! Hopefully aunt’s house will work out! 🙂
Thank you Sasha! This was my first attempt at kids’ fiction. I might keep it going. I think she does get away afterall. :o)
Oh, I always sought a second opinion too, from me da! It infuriated my mum 🙂
The story telling seems child appropriate to me. I can imagine it’s difficult to get in the right mindset but it reads great. Go for it. Well done!
Thanks so much Jackie. :o) It is hard to know what kids are into and what will appeal. I was hoping you’d have a read and give me your thoughts. I was cringing as I hit publish, but sure, what the heck?
I’ll certainly stick with it. Thanks again :o)
I Think you have totally got into the mind of a 10 yr old Olivia! Even i want to read more and know how it all pans out. You clearly have talent 🙂 x
Wow! Thank you so much. I might keep this one going. I have an idea for a book for younger children, maybe age 4-6. I was sort of reluctant as had no idea where to start, but i’ll just have to bet stuck in and see where it takes me.
Thanks again. Really appreciate you taking the time to read and for your comments. Your blog cracks me up. :o)
Olivia, this is really great, I love children’s fiction and would love to keep reading this to find out what happens next- fab!
Oh thank you so much. I read it earlier and discovered my tenses are a bit mixed up in places. I’ll tweak those before anyone else reads it! Thanks Ciara :o)
Wow! This is really good stuff here! Am thinking you are ON YOUR WAY!
You’re a hoot and very sweet. Thank you x
Good beginning, Olivia. I like how you work with emotions. Mum doesn’t want to upset daughter so she is torn. Daughter acts the part with anger hoping she will get her way. Quite a typical family upheaval. Keep up the great work.
Thanks Drew. That was my first time writing children’s fiction. I enjoyed it, but the words didn’t come easily. I tried to think of what might be important to a young girl nowadays and perhaps the iPhone, iPad etc featured too heavily. When I can think of an ending I’ll finish it.Yet another unfinished piece! 🙂