Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Getting a True Response

Posted by Jonene Ficklin

You know how you want to be a fly on the wall when someone’s reading (or in our case, listening to) your story?

Well, nothing beats the honesty of young children. Everyone knows that. If they’re bored, they don’t politely yawn and pat their mouth and look at their watches. No, they moan, roll their eyes and collapse over something.

On the flip side, when they’re entertained, they laugh, they giggle, they can’t hold still. They actually cheer and do jigs – well ‘jigging’ is a bit old-fashioned – it’s more like munchkin break-dancing. Anyway, it’s exciting when the reason for so much excitement comes from the product of minds and hands you know.

Yesterday, that happened to a friend and I got to be there. It was awesome! A fellow writer and I went into a fourth grade class. My friend has written several children’s books, one of which I’d illustrated. She read her story with a great aplomb, giving each character voices and accents. (Watch out Jim Dale, you have competition.) I held up the illustrations and watched the children’s reactions.

I wish my friend could have seen how they responded to her story (she saw bits, but had to look at the pages she read), because it was delightful.

They laughed, frowned, and gasped in all the right places. I actually saw a jaw drop and hands clapped over a mouth. One boy’s feet started going ninety miles an hour under his desk.


It was true entertainment – at least to me, because I really admire this friend and love to see her story being truly appreciated by her target audience. And I can’t wait to do it again.


  1. Woot Woot! Tell her congrats! (Or if it's the friend I'm thinking of, I'll tell her myself.) That really is the true test. I can't wait for that to happen to all of us. Who doesn't want to make someone's feet go niney miles and hour?

  2. Yeah, I meant ninety. Sheesh. I can write. Really...maybe. Sort of. Okay, I have problems.

  3. Leisha, I think you were channelling fourth grader. : ) - They would say niney and it's very cute!

    Susan, they sure are!

  4. That's the best. It's why we do it, isn't it? To give a reader those moments of squealing excitement, of sudden tears, of laughing out loud.

    A few years ago, my son came to me and said, "Mom, I want you to get your books published so that other kids can love your stories as much as I do." Yep, I'm on a mission.

  5. Rebecca, what a sweety your son is! Wow, you can't get better feedback than that.

  6. Yeah, but he's my son, so his opinion isn't something that I can cite on a query letter.

  7. Ha ha, that is true. But his faith in you is wonderful! (Those are the kind of words that carry a person whenever they feel down about writing - and more than worth their weight in gold.)

  8. Lol! Kids are so pure in their behaviors it's great to have them as an audience! ;)
    Thanks for this wonderful post! :)

  9. Elizabeth, you are so right. Children show every emotion as it comes, where adults hide most of them. That's why they're so fun to watch! Thanks!!


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