Structural Edit: The Mystery Trip
Thank you for the opportunity to read your draft of “The Mystery Trip”. This story follows the journey of two boys. It is one of their birthdays and they are about to begin a party.
By removing him from the focal point of the story the reader is transported to a parallel story. This first chapter is a good starting point of an adventure story, and thoroughly enjoyable. The atmosphere of the carriage is built into the tone very well, and I found myself eagerly waiting the story of the two boys, Brandon and Matthew. Identifying with the protagonist’s feelings for escape and adventure is quite a strong need for the reader to be a part of, and this has been achieved by setting the scene and describing their gradual disappearances from the party. The strength of the writing is due to the contrast created between two worlds within the same atmosphere of the party: the two boys’ and the parents’. They intersperse well, however, some sentences could be place in more optimal positions relative to the progress of the story.
By describing the party before describing the boys’ escape their motivations for leaving will be made clearer. This will develop the already relatable situation and extract more from the narrative by way of suspense and impending discovery of their disappearance. This will contribute to the thrill we so associate with adventure. This would be a good story for those interested in adventure stories and/or relationship dynamics between parents and children.
There are a few editing requirements I’d recommend making in order for this work to be at a publishable standard for Bentley Press. These amendments to the structure, I think, would increase the readability of the story. Please take my suggestions and questions into consideration only if you feel they are in line with the intentions of your work.
(1) Language and Tone – As this work is a children’s adventure story it would benefit from more clarity. At times the language can require a firm grasp of the English language to comprehend while the content of the story is mostly relatable to young adolescents. Keep your tone consistent with the rest of the work. If you’re aiming to have young children as the audience, simple language will strengthen it and improve readability. If your intended audience is older you will have to make considerations for this as well. Remember, children don’t have the vocabulary writers or editors do.
(2) Scene – Summaries of a scene should be used sparingly. You’ve built the scene using some strong descriptions, i.e. running for the train, and the baker falling over. And then contrasted these with the calm atmosphere of Buck. Let the potential of these descriptions come through by contrasting rather than mixing them. You might even make space for some possible dialogue or inner thoughts of the characters along the way. That way we get the entire picture of the train through a few different ways. By explaining the party through the characters in different ways we will see a better sketch of what’s going on. As we deepen our understanding of the party, we want to get away from the confusion and commotion because it feels suffocating. If the narrative is built gradually rather than spread out, the satisfaction of the two boys leaving the party will be strongest at the end, where the real adventure begins.
(3) Narrative perspective – Is this work from a third person or first person perspective? This causes the reader to wonder who the narrator is and how they know the information provided. Clarify it for yourself and the perspective will help in simplifying the sequence of events and therefore assist in the flow of your sentences, paragraphs, scenes, and overall story development. It may even add a unique flavour to your tone.
I really love the initial development of this story. The characters are drawn into plot and setting very well, making for an exciting tale of adventure. I’ve marked specific examples of these suggestions and questions into the manuscript below to point out my concerns. Please take your time reading over them as I undertake a very thorough read of every manuscript and only recommend changes I believe will develop the strength of a story. However, if you feel they may change the narrative too far from what you want then please let me know so we can figure out where to go from there.