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Writer's Room => Chapter Books, Easy Readers, and Middle Grade (MG) => Topic started by: rita1979 on September 30, 2020, 02:34 PM

Title: Looking for a Mentor Book
Post by: rita1979 on September 30, 2020, 02:34 PM
Hello Everyone,
I'm new here. I am looking for a mentor book.  I have been trying to find one for days but can't seem to find one. I am curious if one of you would be able to help me. I have googled and researched on witches, anger, dragons, and similar terms, but most of the stories I find are either MG, too complex, completely different tone, and/or different content. I am hoping that someone will have an idea of a book that is similar to the following things i am looking for:

1. Age Range: 5-8 seems appropriate. It could even be 6-8. I think older than 8 would cause boredom for children who have, at that age, increased their vocab and content comprehension? 

2. Content: There is magic realism in the story. My MC is female, half-witch, ~8yo, sassy, angry, independent, yet compassionate, dearly loves her granny, hates her granny's magical cat. a dragon plays the villain.
the storyline: MC has to free herself from a dragon who lives in her heart who is coaxing her to stay angry so he can continue to grow powerful. MC has to find the know-how to release her anger and the dragon by dealing with her feelings/emotions. it's going to be told in kind of an adventure/battle between MC and the villain. in the end, she will be her own heroine and be freed from the dragon.

3. POV: 3rd person limited

4. Tone: light-hearted, a wee bit moral-of-the-story, and the cat character provides a lot of humor/sarcasm. The dragon will be a goofy-evil villain bc he makes a lot of noises and silly sounds. there is a heavy theme of  angry parents who will be apologizing to MC in the end, and there is the dragon in MCs heart, but it is a light-to-medium tone. It won't be a Roald Dahl Witches tone yet not Dr Seuss.

The marriage of Dr Seuss & Roald Dahl best suits the TONE i would like to capture, but the age range seems vast between these authors so i dont think one of their books would work: Dr Seuss seems a bit young and rhyme-y, and RD seems too dark, many words and geared toward an older crowd, like 8+ . I've also looked at the Mr Gum series books, bc i am thinking that my story content may be a CB more than a PB, and this series is close to what i am searching for as far as tone and POV, but not the actual content.

I would love to hear from you if you may know a book that may capture what i am looking for.
Thank you in advance  for all advice or suggestions.
Title: Re: Looking for a Mentor Book
Post by: Vijaya on September 30, 2020, 05:01 PM
Gosh, I remember a little bilingual book English/German called Little Witch that'd be perfect.
Catwings series by Ursula Le Guin is a very sweet chapter book. Might be on the younger side.
Can you browse at your local library? You'll get the best idea when you can sit with a bunch of these. 
Title: Re: Looking for a Mentor Book
Post by: rita1979 on September 30, 2020, 05:34 PM
Thanks for the recommendation Vijaya. I was looking at The Little Witch last night on Amazon, but didn't check it out in details based on the summary, so perhaps I should revisit that - I think I will! I haven't heard about Catwings so i'll definitely look that up  :sun
last i checked, the libraries were still closed w covid, but yes, you're right, that would be the perfect place to go.

Thank you! I'm off to research those books n see if the libraries have opened.
Title: Re: Looking for a Mentor Book
Post by: JulieM on September 30, 2020, 06:03 PM
I think you might like The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. Award winning too.
Title: Re: Looking for a Mentor Book
Post by: rita1979 on September 30, 2020, 06:14 PM
ok, perhaps I will take a look. I was worried it may be too old and too long? but i'll try it. :) 

thank you, JulieM!
Title: Re: Looking for a Mentor Book
Post by: Debbie Vilardi on September 30, 2020, 06:34 PM
If you go with a chapter book, you'll nee to have a series in mind. They are rarely sold as anything but series.

Your plot has me a little confused. I'm assuming the dragon does at some point get out, but you don't say so. How else can there be a battle royal? The girl would be hurting herself.

Take a look at Katie Kazoo. It's a magical realism/fantasy chapter book series. It may give you the tone you're looking for. Good luck.

Oh, and many libraries are doing curbside pickup. It depends on where you are.
Title: Re: Looking for a Mentor Book
Post by: rita1979 on September 30, 2020, 07:36 PM
Thank you Debbie! lots of great feedback to consider. i ended up placing the Girl who Drank from the Moon on hold, so I'm excited about that!
Thanks for the series advice. I do have a couple things in mind, but sometimes I also wonder if I want to write series on this story, and sometimes I am afraid that i might not have ideas (but this is far-fetched at the moment as I am not even done writing the story, and i even wonder if it will be so great a story where i am discussing a series with a publisher! ha, i only hope!!)
The battle is not really a physical one but more of a "mental" one. in the story, the dragon is in her heart telling her choices to make so that she remains angry. meanwhile, her loved ones on the outside are giving her advice on what to work on so that she can release her anger. the dragon is very clever and "battles" with her as far as manipulating her. for example, one scene describes the granny advising that they can talk about whats bothering her, but the dragon, who is overhearing everything, counters this by whispering to the MC (only she can hear him) that talking is for wimps, and why would she want to do that. he can help her take care of her anger if she just feeds him her anger instead...etc... (haven't figured out all the details here). so its a tug-of-war.
later, it ends up that she doesnt win the "Battle" and does not break the curse, so she ends up in his heart, then she has to race against  time to really release her anger or she is stuck in his heart forever. more of a mental battle, i suppose. still have to work out the kinks here too.

i hope that explained the "Battle." i hope that didn't make it more confusing. i am still a bit confused when writing about it because i am not even close to being done, the story only comes to me as i write it and i am very bad at planning these scenes. for some reason, it has to just happen naturally as i write.

Katie Kazoo - I'll take a look tonight!
Thanks so much for your great advice!

Title: Re: Looking for a Mentor Book
Post by: Debbie Vilardi on October 01, 2020, 06:12 PM
I've seen mental battles like that play out in cartoon superhero shows. Hard to illustrate. But I do see what you're going for, Rita. It may be you need to finish the draft and then start looking at what the story wants to be as you revise. I hope the mentor texts help.
Title: Re: Looking for a Mentor Book
Post by: rita1979 on October 02, 2020, 08:30 AM
Do you think it will be a problem if it will be hard to illustrate? So much to think about...

Thanks again, Debbie. I really appreciate all of the great advice I've received here. I think this will be a great continuation for learning!
Title: Re: Looking for a Mentor Book
Post by: Vijaya on October 02, 2020, 11:24 AM
Rita, I wouldn't worry about illustrations or trying to conform your story to some arbitrary standard. Write the story you want to tell and it will be as long or as short as it needs to be. Focus on finishing the story. MG is a very large and varied category and you won't know until you're finished whether your story is firmly a chapter book or MG.

Another beautiful book came to mind by one of my favorite authors: Laura Amy Schlitz's Night Fairy. It's gorgeous. Oh, and Kate diCamillo is another author to study. She has the Mercy Pig books that are CBs, but she has several early MG books as well. Flora and Ulysses. Check them out. Happy reading and writing.
Title: Re: Looking for a Mentor Book
Post by: rita1979 on October 02, 2020, 11:29 AM
Great point, Vijaya. thank you for grounding me. :) I tend to "squirrel" a lot, so I appreciate it.

I think i am going to go research all of these books you all have been gracious enough to help me with, and then just  write until i FINISH it!  :typing

Thank you! :)