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    I have a friend who has an idea for a particular writing style and has asked me to post it here to get some feedback, so, if you have a spare 10 mins would you mind reading the paragraphs and give an honest answer

    Aimed at 7+

    The Scottish Kids

    Chapter One

    Hi there, my name is Roddie Rags. Pleased to meet you.
    I live on a farm called Brooklands, in the north east of Scotland. I have lived here forever or as long as I can remember. I live here with my family just outside the town of Castleford.

    My Mum & Dad, Gordie and Maggie Rags, are farmers, well, dad's a farmer, mum says she's a jack of all trades. They grow food in the fields around our house, Potatoes, Carrots, Broccoli, and they don't just grow vegetables, some of our fields have animals in them, Cows, Sheep, Horses, Llamas, it seems if they have legs, they can live with us. My parents are busy people, busy doing things inside the house, busy doing things outside the house, except on Sunday's! Mum say's Sundays are for re-charging your batteries, just like our phones or our television remote controls.

    I have an older brother Angus, we don't really see much of him, except at meal times. Mum says she loves him, but he's driving her crazy, Dad says he doesn't understand when or why he changed from being a great little helper, to the person who treats the house like a hotel and grunts a lot, and Granny Noonie says, Relax, He's at that stage, he's a teenager and it happens to all of us until we get jobs. He is pretty cool, as brothers go, but boy does his bedroom smell! Mum says it smells like a hundred pairs of dirty socks and she's right, but it's not like that all of the time, when he has friends come over the room smells of peaches, or other kinds of sweet smelling things. Mum's trick? She opens the door a little, squeezes her hand through the space with an aerosol can and sprays and sprays again and again until she smells summer!

    My little sister is called Roberta - we all call her Bertie, she is always dressing up. Since she was old enough to dress herself, every day is a chance to pretend she's walking down the runway of a fashion show. We never know what she's going to come out of her bedroom wearing. Granny Noonie is always bringing her piles of clothes that she buys from car boots and jumble sales that no-one else seems to want except grannies and my sister. She like it when we let her hang out with me and my friends.

    Granny Noonie lives with us in the newest part of the house built onto the side. Mum and Dad added that part when Granda Bert died. She was sad when she came to live with us, but as we got older, mum said she noticed grandma Noonie started smiling more. Noonie's part of the house is filled with lots of old things. Grandma Noonie says when we get older we will be the same, just you wait, you'll see, she says. I hope so, I can't imagine getting rid of any of my stuff.

    Speaking of my stuff, you’ll also get to know my friends, well, my closest ones. First there's JJ McAdam, he's pretty talented, he can play the piano, guitar and the drums, and breaks into song whenever he gets the chance - it's like he's a whole rock band rolled into one. Then there's Christo Ferguson he is good with gadgets, phones, computers, he likes to fix things - my dad loves when he helps him with some of the farm machinery. The three of us have known each other since the first day of school. Sure we've had fall outs from time to time, even had a couple of fights (I'm not saying who won), but we've always end up speaking again a couple of days later. The newest kid in our gang is Malky Wilson, he just moved to Castleford about a year ago, he's from Edinburgh. He has muscles the size of small mountains and loves sport and lifting heavy things. His mum and dad aren't living together at the moment, his mum moved here to take over the bakery - and his dad is still living in Edinburgh working for the Edinburgh Gazette, once his mum gets everything settled with the bakery he'll move to Castleford too. At moment Malky's dad doesn't want to be a Baker. Malky misses his dad, and misses living in the big city. We told him yeah, it's smaller here and everyone knows everyone but Castleford has a lot going for it and the place isn't as boring as you'd think. It was easy for us to say that to him, we had a secret.

    Moppy, she's the youngest member of our family, she’s our Old English sheepdog. We called her Moppy because as a puppy she had fur sprouting from everywhere and looked like the bottom of mum's old mop that she uses to catch the cobwebs with. Even though she's the family dog, we all secretly think she's really our special dog - except Angus, who knows what he thinks - he's a teenager remember!

    So, that's me introduced some of my family and friends. I think Moppy and I are the most normal ones in the family, okay scratch that - maybe Moppy is the only normal one, because. I have a secret, with the help of some very old stones and an old cottage at the edge of the woods, this Scottish Kid and his friends are magical. So come with me and let me tell you about how we started the first of ours many adventures.

    Chapter Two

    Grrrr! That bird!! I was dreaming about dad coming home with a shiny new car, not like the one we have just now which looks like it's was made the same as year dad was born. Sit in it dad said, I was just about to climb into the driver’s seat when I heard this squawking. Cockadoodle doooo, Cockadoodle doooo, ah no, how about Cockadoodle don't! Why does that bird think just because he's up we all have to be?
    I pull the covers over my head and close my eyes and try to go back to my dream. I'm ready to be driven about Castleford and have people just about break their necks checking out the coolest new car in town. Oh yeah it's mine, I tell them dad is just using it till I'm allowed to drive on the road with it, Sure Wendy, Wendy Patterson, we can give you a lift to the Monster Cafe, oh yeah, I can come in and have a plate of chips and something to drink with you, what time do you want...Cockadoodle doooo, Cockadoodle doooo. That blooming bird! It's done it again - no sleep in for me this morning. Okay there's no way I can get back to sleep now, so I guess it's that time.

    I throw back the covers, sit up, stretch out my arms, yawn the widest yawn accompanied by a load argh noise and force myself out of bed. I head to kitchen where it's nice a cosy, and the smell of freshly baked bread is in the air. Morning handsome, I hear my mum say. Morning mum. How did you sleep? She asks, Alright I say, until the cockerel took away my new car. Mum said 'What?' So I explain to her about the car dream, but leave out the bit where Wendy Patterson and I are sitting in the Monster Cafe.

    Bread's fresh, cut yourself some slices if you want toast says mum. I cut four medium slices and put them in the toaster. Pour myself some orange juice and sit at the table waiting for the toast to pop up. I spent longer waiting for it to toast than I did eating it. What's you plans today? Mum asks. Eh the usual I reply. JJ and Christo are coming over. I think we're going to take our bikes for a ride round the woods. Get your dad to check your chain on your bike before you leave, mum yells as she's goes out the door ready to hang out some washing.

    As I head back upstairs to change, I'm meet Bertie coming down the stairs, eight a.m. and she's wearing a bright white top with a panda on it and bright lime green trousers, so bright you need sunglasses to stop you getting a headache just looking at her. We exchange our good mornings, Morning Roddie, morning Bertie, where are you going? I ask her. Grannie Noonie is taking me to the Coffee morning at the town hall, there's going to be a cake and candy stall, a book and games stall, bingo and lots of other things to buy, do you want to come she asks. Nah, the boys are coming over, have fun.

    I hang about my room watching the TV till the guys come. It's about 10.30am when they come over. I grab my jacket and we head over to the barn for dad to check out my bike chain. Dad looks at it and says, yep, time to put some oil on it then your good to go. Boys are your chains okay, yours need greasing as well? They both look at each other and shrug their shoulders. That's all dad needed to see, he gives their bike chains a grease and says right, now all of you are good, off you go and don't go into the woods keep to the perimeter that way we won't have to send out a search party. I say okay, JJ and Christo nod and say yes Mr. Rags.

    We take it in turns to be the leader on our bikes, almost colliding with each other at times. We cycle fast and furiously, going over all the bumps and holes in the single track road, not caring about the possible damage to our tires when we land with a thud. We stop by the pond, spend some time throwing stones and of course it turns into a competition, who can throw the furthest. I think I have it and then Christo goes and throws a stone that could reach the next town. No wonder the junior cricket team want him.

    JJ. Jumps up onto an old long log, squints and says, guys look over there, isn't that a grey heron.? We watch him try to jump onto a series of smaller boulders like stepping stones moving to get closer to it. The bird is standing dead still then all of a sudden the bird's long thin neck and head disappears under the water and seconds later it pops its head back up, it looks like it's got something in his pointy beak. Just as JJ, gets closer to it, there is a flap of wings & the heron takes off. Let's follow it, see where it's going, see if there's a nest. Christo and I know it's pointless to say no, so we follow him taking care not to slip on the boulders as we rush to catch up with him. JJ. Turns back and shouts hurry up you two slow coaches.

    We come to the side of the wood, climb through the fencing and make our way into the woods, Dad's last words long forgotten about.

    Chapter 3

    It's not too dark when we first start to trample into the woods. The chase is on with JJ at the front and Christo and I following him. The smell of pine is all around us. We take care not to let the odd branch hit us in the face as JJ pushes through some of the thicker areas. We are trying to keep up with JJ, but with looking down and hearing a swish and whoosh and then sometimes a branch hits you in the face every now and then. A crackling comes from under our feet, sounds of the newly stepped on branches and pine cones that are lying on the ground being trampled on. At one time point JJ is so far in front that we lose sight of him.

    Hurry I think it's going to land JJ shouts, follow my voice, then he starts to sing, In the jungle the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight , we listen and following the singing when it stops just as quickly as it starts. All is now not only quiet, but dark, we've come quite a way into the woods, way more than we expected or should have. Christo looks at me and points left, this way I think. Two minutes later we catch up to JJ. Standing, looking up and craning his head looking left and right and listening. Ah shoot, we've lost it, he says. Just a bit further down there, see, there's an opening, its maybe there. No, let’s go back I say, we'll never find it now. JJ is determined to find the heron and its possible nest. I look at Christo, what do you think? Yeah let's go on a wee bit more, I smile and roll my eyes.

    He's right, as we go on a little bit more, the wooded area starts to open up, it becomes lighter and as we get even further into the woods, we see there is an old shack. Not someone's home, it can't be, no-one lives out here, except the wild life. The door is half off its hinges, some of the wooded walls have gaps in it. It looks like little puffs of dust are coming out of the walls. We go up to investigate - well we are here now, might as well.

    Open the door JJ. Whispers. I say to him, why don't you open the door, you wanted to come down here. He shakes his head, could be snakes in there, I'm allergic to them, I turn and look at him, since when have you been allergic to snakes and how on earth did you find that out? He stutters, well, I don't know for sure I'm allergic, but I know I would be if I was bitten by one. I shake my head at him, you scaredy cat. So it's left me to be the brave one, I step forward, reach for the door slowly and just as I'm about to put my hand on the old handle a claw comes thudding down on my shoulder and grabs me, then I hear laughing. I jump back a little- Christo is holding his mouth trying not to laugh, yeah not so brave now are you? Well I'm still the one in front aren’t I? I say. Anyway, don't do that you idiot, I could have knocked you over. I start to the door again.

    Just like in the movies, the door creaks as I pull it all the way back, I don't stand right in front of it just in case there is a group of allergy causing snakes ready to slither out. Nothing comes out to meet us. I Lean in a little, but don't want to step forward too much when next, I feel a push on my back and I no longer have a choice, I’m pushed inside this hut like place. Well, what do you see, says a voice from outside? Nothing really, if you come in you'll see for yourself. Mind the snakes though. What yells JJ, I'm joking I say.

    My two not so brave friends carefully make their way inside the shack behind me. We all are just standing letting our eyes get used to this different kind of darkness inside. There are open spaces here and there in the walls where windows are meant to be. There might have been glass in there once, but there's not now. On the main back wall there is something that looks like what would have been a kitchen area, an old steel sink, make shift shelves on the wall with old bottles of differently colored liquids in them. Cob webs everywhere, I don't know about snakes I say, but spiders live here, and hopefully they don't anymore.

    There's a small table in the center of the room, not big, you could maybe sit two people at it, I pull my finger across the top surface and it leaves a thick clean trail. I hold my finger up, there's about two inches of dirt now covering my finger with some of it under my nail. I wipe it off on JJ’s shirt, he jumps and says, thanks, now I can't wear this tomorrow, like your mum would let you wear a shirt two days in a row anyway I answer. Nobody's been in here for ages that's for sure.

    What is this place? Says JJ. We are all still looking around taking in what we see. Really old musty dust covered books, a few candles on the shelf, again, just like everything else in there, it’s all covered in dust. There's a curtain hanging in the corner we pull it back and see a bed. It's tiny or at least looks tiny. We've not stepped into Giant's house in Jack and the beanstalk then, I say sarcastically.

    By the bed is a little table with a piece of material on it. I walk forward, looking at my feet just to make sure, there’s no snakes in this part of the shack, and go to pick up the old piece of cloth to see what's under it. It's not a cloth, it's made of cloth but it's a bag with something in it. I pick it up and hold it at arm’s length, and shake it. Christo says what are you doing, I turn to him and say I'm listening for a rattle in case there's a snake or something in there. He looks at me with a frown - we're in Scotland, not Africa or America we don't have rattle snakes here silly. I remind him, eh I'm holding the bag, if I want to shake it before I open it, that's what I'm going to do.

    The bag doesn't move like it's got something living in it, so I feel it's safe to bring it closer to me and open it up. I pull at the tight twine wrapped round the neck of the bag and slowly open it up. There inside are six differently colored stones, not brightly colored stone, more like grey, white, black and a rusty red one. They all have the different symbols carved into them. A small bit of rolled up paper is in there too, a bit like the ones you see in a fortune cookie, only the paper isn't like normal paper, it's not white, and more yellowish, it's rough and thick. It says in really weird and fancy writing Beware carrier of what you wish for. It doesn't look like anyone's handwriting that I know.

    It's probably been left by some old witch says Christo from years and years ago. Now who’s coming up with crazy thoughts, says JJ. Well there's no one living here now, what else is in here, I say out loud, not really looking for an answer. What's in that back corner there, it looks like another door. We all three of us head to the corner right at the back of the other side of the room - maybe it's a room that will take us back in time says Christo. JJ and I both turn to look at him with a really, really did you just say that expression. Christo shrugs his shoulders hey you never know stranger things have happened. Maybe we'll end up back in the Middle Ages. This is Castleford not Narnia I remind him. I then take the lead again and open up the door, this time, there's no creaking, and this time there's no back bedroom or bathroom like we expected, it's a cave! Yes, really it's a cave inside a shack. Shouldn't it be the other way around?

    Chapter Four

    The three stare into black nothingness, we look at each other, like we are having a trick played on us, You're seeing those walls in front of us right asks JJ. How can we be in a cave inside a house? He's right though we are in a cave inside a sort of house. Sure enough, those are cave walls, old and dirty one of them has green stuff on it and feels wet. JJ is mumbling. I don't think he's really asking us questions, more he's speaking to himself asking more questions, with a screw up face.

    Well, I say, we're here now, I reach into my pocket and pull out of my small torch that I got last year in my stocking at Christmas, never had to use it before so it should work. I twist the end and hey presto, a light comes on. Christo says, hang on I've got something too - he pulls out a Swiss Army knife, it has about fifteen attachments on it, the first one he pulls out is a cork screw - great, your gonna corkscrew something to death if there's something in there. We all laugh, there’s more to it than just THAT he says. We turn back and face the cave.
    Well? Are we going in? They shrug their shoulders, and look to me as their kind of leader and say, you first.

    I point the light towards where should be a back wall, but there's no back wall, it’s just dark, so with my brave head on, I accept the challenge and walk in - I can feel a breath on the back of my neck, we're all so close make that two breaths I'm feeling. As we walk further into this cave, or whatever it is, we seem to be going downhill like we're walking down a long a corridor, a pitch black corridor. As we are walking I realize I hear an echo. I stop walking and whisper, do you hear that? JJ grabs the arm of my jacket and says what, what is It.? Is it a snake? No you dafty, enough with the snakes, we are hardly going to hear them now are we? I'm saying do you hear that because there's an echo in here. Where do you get echoes? Caves.

    We walk further into the unknown and the further we walk it starts to get lighter. Eventually we're back out into daylight again. That's weird Christo says, we've walked into the cave to come out of the forest? Yeah it looks like it, I said, but, I stop, I don't really know where we are. I don't see the pond, and we can't have walked all the way to the other side of the wood yet, we've not walked nearly far enough. I don't see the Williams farm grain tower, so we can't be out of the woods that side I said pointing west. Things are different, it feels different, It looks different it even smells different. The three of us stand there looking left to right and back again.

    There in front of us as far as our eyes can see is a valley, water running through it, trees to left and the right, with rocky hills either side of it. It's very clean looking, no houses, no cars, heck, and no roads even. Where on earth are we asks JJ.? I don't know, I say out loud. Well you should do says Christo, this is your land isn't it? I know that I reply sharply but I just don't see anything I recognize. So there we are standing at the top of a hill looking down into a valley.

    All of a sudden about two miles away from us something bursts out of trees to the right hand side of us. It looks like a dog, no wait it's bigger than a dog it's hairy though. Is that a dog? Wait no, it's not a dog, it's too small to be a dog. Do you think it’s a pony Christo asks, not unless it's a midget pony that doesn't have a hairy tail, when did you see a Shetland pony that looked like that, that things ugly and it looks like it's got wee tusks on its face. I think you're right Christo, says JJ, it's a pony maybe just not a Shetland Pony. I was about to turn round and say something when we hear some yelling coming from the same place this whatever it is came out of, and all of a sudden there are about 10 guys chasing this animal. As if all of this is not weird enough these guys are wearing what looks like dresses short one's with leggings and boots, and their hair is long and scruffy and their charging down the side of the hill screaming at the animal and they are running with swords. The guy at the front is wearing a green colored dress, he's the only one that looks like he's catching up to the black animal but, I don't think he's going to catch it, when suddenly the animal stops and turns round and starts to the chase the men chasing it. It is hilarious. All of the men except the guy in the green start running back into the wood. The guy in the green stands still like a matador waiting for the bull to charge at him - the black beast is making a loud huffing and grunting noise as he charges at the man, the green man moves to left just in the nick of time and spins round and reins a powerful blow of his sword onto the beast. The beast cries out loudly and falls to the ground. The man in the green dress walks up to it and instead of kneeling by it and checking to see if it's okay, he looks down, grabs his sword with both of his hands round the top and thrust it downwards again into the animal.

    For a moment, there’s silence, all three of us stand with our jaws wide open in disbelief, then like something out of a comedy show the guy in the green dress shouts out something and all those other guys come running back out of the woods again only to stop in front of the beast and the man dressed in Green. They exchange words, although we can't hear what they are saying and then it looks like they discussed who is going to take a leg each of the now clearly dead animal. Those men, are not farmers, they’re not part of any farmer's ring not wearing dresses anyway. They move slowly up the hill and go to head back into the woods when something else catches their attention, they stop look, say something to each other, drop the animal and start running. Running towards us, WE had caught their attention.

    We stand there for a few seconds when we realize they are now coming for us, waving their swords, what do we do says JJ. We runnnnnnnnnn I say and with that we turn on our heels and run as fast as we can back the way we came. Of course we end up running away from the light back into the darkness, by now my torch is back in my pocket, so I'm running and trying to get it out again as quickly as I can. Trying to turn it on, I drop it, so I have to stop quickly to pick it up and of course that means JJ and Christo fall right on top of me. My hand is spread open and right out in front of me, searching for the torch and within seconds I have it back in my hand and turned on and we all Jump up and start running again. We seemed to have run for about 10 minutes all three of us huffing and puffing when start to see what looks like the walls to our cave, and then we see the door. We rush through it and slam it behind us and still keep running all the way out of the shack and back into the woods where we first came in. We stop just for a moment, we listened, listened for angry men voices, although it's hard to hear anything when you're out of breath and all you can hear is your own-heavy breathing and your heart racing.

    The three of us are bent over with our hands resting on our thighs, catching our breaths and trying to stop the stitches that are hurting our sides. Still worried about snakes I ask. In between exhaling and gasping we all look at each other as if to say what on earth was that all about. JJ says, quickly this way, I remember that gooseberry bush as we came into the clearing, I scratched my leg on it. We didn't question him, we just jogged behind him. None of us won top place at sports for running and that wasn't going to change now. Don't get me wrong we're not unfit, but we've just done running like we have never done before. It took no more than ten minutes and we came out of the other side of the woods and saw our bikes resting in the grass where we'd left them. We slid through the fence again jumped on our bikes and headed back to the farm, cycling, looking back, cycling, looking back, until we reached the safety of the farmhouse. We got off our bikes left them lying at the front door, didn't bother to neatly lean them up against the wall, nothing, they were dropped to the ground as quickly as the black beast hit the ground. We almost broke the door frame trying to get in all three of us at the same time.

    What in the name of ...Henrietta is going on asks mum as she came round the corner into the kitchen - looking at the three of us. Hair everywhere, dirty, sweaty, all red faced. I left the two others looking at mum while I ran over to the kitchen window and looked out. Nope, nothing, still no sign of the angry men in dresses. We're they coming? Surely if they were coming after us they'd be here by now, we weren't that far ahead of them we they stared at us and started running towards us yelling as they ran. If they were coming, we would have seen them on the road back when we were cycling, but there was nothing on the road, it was as quiet going back as it was going there.

    Mum put her hands on her hips and said I don't know what you three have been up to, but for goodness sake go and get towels and wash your faces. I open the cupboard up and pull out three tea towels, we are just drying up our faces when mum shouts, not those, those are for drying the dishes! Oh well, it's too late now. Never mind.
    We all three of us go back to the kitchen window just to make sure, there are no angry men running into the yard, and there's not, but where have they gone and even more to point - where had we gone?

    We out some orange juice and sit down at the table where I open up one of the biscuit tins and we each take out a chocolate cornflake treat mum had made earlier in the week. I take my coat off to hang it on the back of the chair and the little cloth bag falls to the floor, we all look down hearing the noise and see one of the stones and the bit of paper has fallen out - the Rusty red stone and the Carrier beware what you wish for. We look at each other, waiting to see who will say anything first. What on earth happened back there Christo asked. We all looked at each other with glazed eyes. I bite my lip and say I don't know, but you know what this means? Yeah says JJ. We don't ever go back there, No, I say, just the opposite we have to go back.
    I haven't failed, i've merely found 10,000 reasons why it didn't work

  • #2
    Hi Gis, haven't read the whole thing but what I've read is certainly interesting and set out well. Some things are capitalized but maybe that's the way he wants it, and some punctuation here and there but I guess it's the overall effect he wants to know about. I don't know what 7 plus kids read nowadays but some of the writing seems to me to be a bit more adult than 7, however, times have changed since I was a youngster so I don't know if any of this helps or hinders.


    • #3
      Thanks Mo, what age would you reckon the story should be set at?
      I haven't failed, i've merely found 10,000 reasons why it didn't work


      • #4
        I would maybe suggest 10 - 12 or early teens but Katie would probably have a better idea as she writes for young adults. What I read when I was really young would probably seem childish now as kids know so much more nowadays.


        • #5
          Originally posted by momckee View Post
          I would maybe suggest 10 - 12 or early teens but Katie would probably have a better idea as she writes for young adults. What I read when I was really young would probably seem childish now as kids know so much more nowadays.
          Thanks Mo
          I haven't failed, i've merely found 10,000 reasons why it didn't work


          • #6
            I agree with Mo...I haven't read it all, but what I did read seemed geared for slightly older kids.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Meg View Post
              I agree with Mo...I haven't read it all, but what I did read seemed geared for slightly older kids.
              Same here. And also I agree with what Mo said about punctuation. The dialogue needs to be broken out with quotes, commas, exclamation points, etc. But it seems like a time travel story and I'm a sucker for those!
              sigpic The rules are: There ain't no rules.


              • #8
                The story was good, but I feel it could have been enhanced by including the proper punctuation. I think "young" readers need that to help them enjoy and understand the story better. But then what do I know, I'm an adult. Most Days....I also think it should be targeted for older kids; 10-12.


                • #9
                  Thanks folks, I'll pass on the info
                  I haven't failed, i've merely found 10,000 reasons why it didn't work