Little Big Shot Editors

notebook macbook pro designer technology

Photo by Negative Space on

Over the years I’ve had critiques and edits on many of my stories. Adults with a passion for writing or often a job to critique manuscripts have always provided excellent reactions and advice. Last May I had the opportunity for a different type of a critique. A teacher friend offered her writing club of fifth and sixth graders a chance to become junior editors for one of my unpublished stories.

These kids were at a school close to my home and we had never met. I didn’t expect to get a lot of useful feedback. Maybe a this was good or I liked the characters. The reality in middle grade is the majority of books are purchased by parents, teachers, and librarians. Adults also control the publishing of books because they know what sells. But this was the target audience and boy did they have something to say…

So there I was on a lunchtime visit to hear from these fours students (two girls; two boys). They gave me thirty minutes of feedback along with a page of written remarks each. You’d never know these kids were 11 and 12 years of age:

*Cut down on the figurative language connected to how fast Ethan can run. Younger readers are not going to understand this.

*Give the mother a raise in her job and why must every story I read have to have a happy ending?

*I was weirded out with the one scene where Shirley dressed up as Mrs. Dumphey, but I loved everything else.

*More background on the adoption. Make it so the mom was always going to adopt but was waiting until it could work out. This would provide more anticipation.

*You could go deeper with some of your character emotions especially in the first chapter.

*I liked every character but this could be longer than the 44,000 words you stated on  the cover page.  Maybe one more side plot?

And that was only the beginning. They did in fact love the story and thought it was sequel worthy. I thanked them and spent the evening contemplating more changes. They have a promising future based on their professional comments.

Junior editors?

I don’t think so.


Coming up next week is another…
If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com
 (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Critiques, Editing, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Little Big Shot Editors

  1. Antoinette Truglio Martin says:

    You give kids an opportunity and they will take it. Love this.

  2. feeroberts64 says:

    Kids are smarter than adults give them credit for.

  3. Wow, what great remarks from your targeted audience. Such a good idea to share with kids — I know most PB authors do. Will you incorporate any of their ideas? Did you agree with any of their suggestions?

    • They were spot on with many of their critiques. I made quite a few changes and deletions afterwards. I kept the happy ending though. A great group of kids who all want to be writers.

  4. This is great. I’ve actually had the opportunity to have both my novel manuscripts read by classes and gotten feedback. Yup. Kids know what they want and how to fix problems. Lucky you to get this feedback.

Place your thoughts here with a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.