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The memory of gran (working title)

by andinadia 

Posted: 08 January 2015
Word Count: 381
Summary: Outline draft. Meant to be fantasy where Lizzie and Gran switched minds, but still a little 'supernatural'? I'd love to know (a) if you think story is interesting, (b) if you think it's appropriate for a p/b, (c) great ideas for the ending! Background: Lizzie is 5-6 and lives with parents and older twins. Dad is away on this day. It's the day they’re going to take the gran (mum’s mother or maybe grandmother?) to see a doctor or to a home. Gran lives not far away.

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Spread 1
When Lizzie woke up she still felt tired. Even stranger, she wanted some Earl Grey tea.
Spread 2
She goes into kitchen and calls her mum by her first name, which surprises both her mum and herself (she realizes she has 2 personas – first we’ve seen how she reacts to her own thoughts, now we see how she reacts to her own words)
Mum asks what she wants for breakfast but Lizzie finds herself asking for something that her Gran likes.
Spread 3
Mother very busy with morning tasks, and trying to deal with troublesome twins (they’re older than Lizzie). She's also sending texts from phone, maybe to dad who’s away – big multitasking going on. (Mum maybe has slightly fruity language?)
Phone rings. Lizzie answers – gran’s asking something. Lizzie deals with it in very adult way
Twins say something rudish about Lizzie? Or about Gran? Lizzie deals with it.
Spread 4
Getting into the car, or already in car. Twins are in the back
Spread 5
Arriving at Gran’s. Gran doesn’t answer door. They can hear her TV on very loud.
Spread 6
Finally Gran answers and says she didn’t hear the doorbell. Pet dog too? She’s carrying the cuddly toy (Babbit!)
Spread 7
Gran makes some kind of childish comment, like ‘Do we have to?’ in response to mum saying we have to go.
Twins in background misbehaving?
Spread 8
Gran gives Lizzie something (don't know what yet!) – this is major moment in the story, showing gran conscious of her mortality and passing on her past. Lizzie tells her mum the 'thing' used to belong to Grandpa. Mum asks how Lizzie knew that.
Spreads 9-10
Granddad's story, as told jointly between Lizzie and Gran (don't know what it will be yet!)
Spread 11
Gran says ‘You must write it all down’. Mum says don’t be daft - she can’t write that much.
Spread 12
They leave for the doctor's. Gran shows she's forgotten where they're going. Twins make rudish comments.  Mum tells the twins that Lizzie is doing the remembering.
Spread 13
Coda: The beginning of Lizzie’s story about her grandparents - in Lizzie's own writing (or maybe in an old fashioned cursive? Although that will be more difficult for young reader to read)

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Comments by other Members

a.m.edge at 12:50 on 09 January 2015  Report this post
An ambitious idea but you could pull it off. Would there be humour in it, with Lizzie feeling like Earl Grey Tea and grandma holding a cuddly rabbit or would it be straight? Unless you called it something like 'Being Granny', it would be difficult to get across what is actually happening. This is more a 5+ story text, isn't it?  I think going into a home would be more powerful than just going to the doctor's. What about the grandma handing over a little box of some sort, with a few important/intriguing items inside?
Not sure how you'd bring this one to a satisfying conclusion. Tricky but worth it, I think.
Thinking about it, this might work as an early chapter book. You'd have more space to expand the concept and feelings.

andinadia at 11:30 on 10 January 2015  Report this post
Thank you, Annie. Sorry I didn't acknowledge your comments more quickly. They're really useful. I think your suggestion for the title is better. I was starting to worry that my working title sounded like she'd passed away, which is not the intention.

I had the same doubts about whether it would be better as a picture book or a chapter book. The problem with the chapter book format is that I'd probably have to make Lizzie far more important than Gran, and give her a whole other backstory. Also, as it's parents and schools that choose/buy picture books whereas it's the readers themselves that choose the chaptr books, I think a theme like dementia and old age might have more chance in pb format.

Yes, I think it needs humour (the rabbit that Gran comes to the door with is meant to be the same rabbit as in the Chris the Bird story (no reason, just a bit of fun). I think I can get some mileage out of the twins!

The box idea sounds like the way to go.

I think it is at least 5+. Picture books cover a range of readers, especially as they have two lives - once as readaloud, once as readalone. (Or dozens of times as each!)

a.m.edge at 15:37 on 10 January 2015  Report this post
You're right about a picture book having two lives: once as readaloud and once as readalone. I like that. laugh

Freebird at 18:37 on 10 January 2015  Report this post
Hi Andy,

i really like like this idea - I did a similar thing once with a flip between mum and child starting school - but I think you might have to spell out more clearly what's happening (I agree with Annie that something as simple as putting it in the title would do the trick). It opens all sorts of possibilities for humour and inter generational chat as they read the story together!

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