I’ve got 10 pages to go on my revision…plus that section back on page 31 where my editor noted that a character (teacher) disappears forever and she needs to be brought back.
Back when I lived in Minnesota, I visited a children’s critique group that called themselves “Kill the Mothers.” Seriously! I didn’t join because they met in the Twin Cities and I lived in Rochester at the time, and with little kids at home, plus my not wanting to drive in the Twin Cities at that point, it just wasn’t practical. But I still remember them all these years later (I should…there are some pretty established people in that group!) and I remember where they came up with the name for their group. It happened time and time again that they were telling each other to “kill the mother” in the story because the mother was solving the problem for the child or she was simply taking up too much space in the story. So…as a joke they started calling themselves the “kill the mothers” group…and it stuck. (Wouldn’t you love to be in that group and tell your husband, “Yeah, I’m off to Kill the Mothers now…”)
Anyway…”Kill the Mothers” are words to live by when you’re trying to write for children. I’ve already been caught once in this particular manuscript. It’s a multi-viewpoint middle grade novel and in the first draft I actually thought it was a good idea to have a few segments told by one of the main characters’ mothers. Why I thought that was a good idea, I don’t know…my editor was absolutely right to make me cut that. I can’t even imagine the story with those segments back in now.
But apparently I have not learned from that experience because for a while last week I started thinking maybe the solution to my page 31 problem was to add several sections showing several teachers’ POVs and their responses to what’s going on in the story. This week I know better. Adults (whether they’re parents or teachers) should be seen, but not heard in children’s books.
It’s coming…slowly, but surely, it’s coming. (And my new mandolin should be here TOMORROW!!! So I better get back to work so I can enjoy my new mandolin guilt free when it arrives.)