Thursday, April 1, 2010

PAPER MAGIC - Test Readers


It has been a long process writing Paper Magic.

That might seem strange for an 8000 word children’s chapter book, but Paper Magic started life as a picture book text called Marina Mack and the Magic Paper. Granted, it was a commercially unviable-long picture book text. After fourteen drafts I could only hone it down to 1600 words. That is where it sat, filed away for a couple of years while I worked on other projects.
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Last year, I redrafted Marina from a picture book text into a short story version for the Charlotte Duncan Award. Surprisingly to me - as some of my favourite children’s authors had also entered - the story was shortlisted.
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When Sandy Fussell suggested turning Paper Magic into a chapter book and offered to help with the editing process I couldn’t believe it. She is such a brilliant writer and generous person. Her help with the rewriting process has been invaluable. Each chapter of Paper Magic has gone through at least four new drafts. The last few chapters still have some minor polishing to complete them but I thought it was time to find some test readers to get a little audience feedback.
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Most of the children from the Year Six class I work with knew I was almost finished writing a children’s book. Five of them asked me almost every day, ‘Have you finished your book yet?’ or ‘Can I read your book when it’s finished?’ So I printed off a copy each for them to read.
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Thank you Hannah, Bethany, Jess, Lucas and Kyle from 6J. The verbal feedback so far has been very positive. Lucas’ mother told me he got home from school, sat down and didn’t move or speak until he had finished reading the book. It has now been read by her and her younger son Noah.
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The surprising thing has been a number of other children from the class, ones I wouldn’t have expected, have asked for copies to read. Again, thanks to Tom H. Maree, Mekaela and Kaitlin. One of the girls complained today that she had only read two chapters because her mum had stolen the book and won’t give it back until she has finished reading it herself.
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I know you can’t really judge a manuscript from the feedback of children that know you personally. Their comments are skewed in your favour because they do know you. Still, I’m more than happy with the test reader results. All the readers are all going to give me their –hopefully - honest opinions of Paper Magic after the holidays.
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I can't wait.
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6 comments:

  1. Congratulations Jeff!

    I’m fairly certain a writer hasn’t truly succeeded until he’s reached his intended reader. And I’m also fairly certain that not being able to put the book down means you’ve reached those readers! Way to go – I can’t wait to see your name in print state side.

    Mariah (NaNo Miranda)

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  2. Thanks for the lovely comment Mariah. I can't wait either. I queried Curtis Brown Agents the other day. They invited me to make send a submission in for Paper Magic.

    That is Tuesday's job.

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  3. 以簡單的行為愉悅他人的心靈,勝過千人低頭禱告........................................

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