Book Jacket

 

rank 1828
word count 14685
date submitted 29.04.2011
date updated 23.05.2012
genres: Fiction, Romance, Fantasy
classification: universal
incomplete

The Mermaid of Shingle Street

Richard Thurston

Jake's secret friend has been washed up on the shoreline and taken by the Americans. Can she be rescued and returned to the sea?

 

England 1964. One July evening Jake Collins stumbles upon a Mermaid basking on the shingle in a sheltered lagoon. Over the weeks that follow their secret friendship blossoms, until one stormy night in April when Melissa is killed. Caught up in the propellers of a local fishing boat and later washed up on the shore at Shingle Street, her mutilated remains somehow fInd their way to USAF Woodbridge. But why are the CIA so interested in examining her damaged torso and has she really been brought back to life?More importantly how on earth can Jake rescue her and return her to the North Sea?

 
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secret cold war air base suffolk shingle street lagoon escape

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Belinda Walker wrote 231 days ago

Very clever idea well-presented and nicely developed. I love the strange mix of mythical creatures and the realism of e plot. It works very well indeed and I will look forward to seeing the complete book. High stars for what you have done so far. Well done.
Belinda
Teatime of the Dead

Kubus wrote 243 days ago

Richard,
You engage the reader from the first paragraph with mentioning the secret.
In chapter 2, with the accident you continue pulling the reader into the story.
In chapter 3, you mention the boy's age of 13. By the cover I was judging, the book was for children. But by the text, I'm guessing it's for YA and maybe adult? I just saw sherit's note "A grown man riding a bike...a twenty-something" I guess I missed the 20. So I'm confused how old the boy is or a man.
Over all, well written, interesting story. High stars.
Kuba

richard thurston wrote 287 days ago

Thanks im stuck in a time warp and really rather foppish-great to have you reading and commenting -most kind and generous-been here a rather long time so somewhat jaded by the whole malarky and champing at the bit with new novelistic ideas yet to take shape and honestly i will have a look at your own writing.
ciao and best wishes...dick

Hi Richard....Hope this finds you well. I stopped by to read the first couple of chapters. I'm not one for tales of fantasy to be honest, but I have to admit, I was quite captivated by your writing style. The thing I couldn't get a grasp on was the age of Jake. Is he a teenager? A grown man riding a bike...a twenty-something. and when he finds out Melissa is dead I would have thought he would be more distraught. In any event, it's quite compelling and I'm interested to see what plays out in these remaining chapters.
All the best...will star for now and update as I read.
Sheri Emery / Crazy Quilt

sherit wrote 289 days ago

Hi Richard....Hope this finds you well. I stopped by to read the first couple of chapters. I'm not one for tales of fantasy to be honest, but I have to admit, I was quite captivated by your writing style. The thing I couldn't get a grasp on was the age of Jake. Is he a teenager? A grown man riding a bike...a twenty-something. and when he finds out Melissa is dead I would have thought he would be more distraught. In any event, it's quite compelling and I'm interested to see what plays out in these remaining chapters.
All the best...will star for now and update as I read.
Sheri Emery / Crazy Quilt

KathrynW wrote 345 days ago

Hello Richard

I have read the first three chapters. I think your idea is intriguing - mixing fairy tale, romance and mystery. Apart from a few minor editing issues, your draft is very clean and your narrative voice draws the reader into the story. In the first two chapters, I was trying to work out how old your main character was, but I had to wait until chapter 3 to find out he was 13. I feel that it is quite crucial to know this earlier on as it makes the whole relationshipship with Melissa that much more innocent and evocotive of childhood when we believed anything could happen. Even though you didn't classify it as such, it has the feel of a pre-teen/teen novel. With the inclusion of mermaids and mysterious American agents you have a formula which will appeal to both girls and boys,

I would have liked to know more about the relationship between Jake and Melissa, in particular more dialogue between them in chapter 1. What did they talk about? Did she describe her home, her family, her hopes and dreams etc? How did she learn to speak English? I would have preferred it if you had shown the relationship develop rather than tell us about it.

Overall a good read with a great plot idea.

Kathryn Weller
Highway Code and Waters of Grace

Roy Freer wrote 349 days ago

Hey Richard,
Great read so far, i just flew through the opening two chapters. Usually i'm pretty good at picking up faults so if i'm on my game that means that you haven't hardly got any!! Intriguing, interesting and styled in a pretty unique way the story sets straight off at good pace. There's a lot to like and not much to be negative over... here's my notes:

ch 1

para starting 'sure enough': well, can you imagine...?

Kind of an Edgar allen poe feel to it with the first person narrative, none of the doom and gloom but style wise it's very similar!

para starting 'and so we': passers by?

I like it, it's a bit old world, very stylised and greatly written with very few errors for me to spot!

ch 2

para starting 'imagine bea': nothing but minding her/it's own business?

have to keep reminding myself that we are reasonably contemporary. Reminding me of 'the woman in black' which was made into a daniel radcliffe film recently stylewise.

para starting 'he seemed': ending 'be treated as such intially'?

certainly has it's hooks getting in here, why the yanks? where are they taking her? how did they know what was going on?

Overall, the opening 2 chapters were very enjoyable and I hope to pop back and check out what happens to melissa and our boy.

I like the style, I'm just not sure it fits the time frame of the story, it kinda gives it a victorian feeling.

Anyhow, big stars from me, good luck and see ya around.

Roy.

richard thurston wrote 372 days ago

Thanks Clive I tend to bounce along nowadays due to excessive quantities of beer passing my lips.

Ciao and best wishes


Richard

The Mermaid of Shingle Street is such a pleasant abd bouncy read in may respects. It skips along at a well judged pace, painting bright characters and scene development. The old USAF base at Woodbridge is a great place to set some of the action and is evocative of Cold War Britain in 1964. Although positioned as a fantasy, there is great deal of realism in this story which drives it along convincingly. Highly starred and WL'ed. Book shelf contender when complete.

Clive Radford
Doghouse Blues

Software wrote 373 days ago

The Mermaid of Shingle Street is such a pleasant abd bouncy read in may respects. It skips along at a well judged pace, painting bright characters and scene development. The old USAF base at Woodbridge is a great place to set some of the action and is evocative of Cold War Britain in 1964. Although positioned as a fantasy, there is great deal of realism in this story which drives it along convincingly. Highly starred and WL'ed. Book shelf contender when complete.

Clive Radford
Doghouse Blues

richard thurston wrote 382 days ago

thanks ;love you loads

richard

Gives the little mermaid a different spin. :)
I was sad to see her go and heartbroken for the man. A summer romance. It was never meant to be. :(

I enjoyed the read. Very clean and almost a musical tone to it. Great job!
The setting was very descriptive and I could see him very clearly leaving his bike on the wall.

Overall, I did enjoy it.

MJStar
Lovely Dark Fallen

MJStar wrote 385 days ago

Gives the little mermaid a different spin. :)
I was sad to see her go and heartbroken for the man. A summer romance. It was never meant to be. :(

I enjoyed the read. Very clean and almost a musical tone to it. Great job!
The setting was very descriptive and I could see him very clearly leaving his bike on the wall.

Overall, I did enjoy it.

MJStar
Lovely Dark Fallen

lauraemmons wrote 396 days ago

The Mermaid of Shingle Street by Richard Thurston

I can see that this story will be a nice twist on an old-fashioned mermaid fairy tale, with the introduction of the American intelligence and military communities to the storyline. But I've only looked at chapter one and I have a suggestion.

There are a few mechanical things that concern me in this chapter, but I believe they can all be solved with one solution.

You write the memory of Jake's mermaid encounter with a voice filled with awe, wonder and excitement. In essence, you write this memory with the voice of a child. But the word choice seems like that of a person living long ago, e.g., "an act hitherto forbidden by mutual inhibitions".

You address the reader in order to convey your story. Imperatives, directed to the reader, i.e., "Imagine, if you will" and "contemplate this" are spread throughout the chapter. Likewise, the exclamatorys, "yes, a silvery tale" and "but no!" are part of an interactive conversation with the reader, which is actually distracting. Even the interrogatives, "So, how could this be?" seem out of place.

The large amount of prose affects the pace of the tale.

All of these elements are better suited to a scene where the MC tells the story to another listener, as is done at the beginning of the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes. The scene could be written as dialog, with interspersed questions from the other character, which would improve the pacing of the story. Perhaps you could start with an interlude where the two characters meet in present times, under suspenseful circumstances, before the MC starts the flashback.

Of course, my opinion may be abhorrent to you, in which case, please forget it and forgive me.

No matter what, I wish you all the best with this endeavor.

Laura Emmons
Seeing Magic
Healing Hands

typo and grammar list
ch 1 second para. repeat word 'sea' is distracting. We can assume that shingle beach reaches towards the sea.

para starts "Stopping in my tracks" commas needed. "Imagine, if you will," another comma needed after "but"

Multiple missing commas in para starts "How saddened". After "After all", after "For a start", after "In fact", after "It was", and after "however"

"take the Michael" is not a colloquialism familiar to me, so your story might not have universal appeal.

para starts "The very next day" the word "faint" is misspelled.

There are more missing commas throughout the chapter, too many for me to specify.

Betsy wrote 408 days ago

Richard, I like your plot. I think this story has huge potential.

At the moment, though, I'm finding that the language is quite elaborate. The voice isn't youthful - the speaker doesn't sound like a boy. I would also watch the cliches. Easy-to-read prose is powerful and holds the reader. The easier-to-read text, though, is the hardest to write.

Good luck with this. The storyline is great.

Celine Zabel wrote 459 days ago

Richard,

Your storytelling is superb. I loved it! I saw a few typos and such, but nothing that can't be fixed with another edit. Your writing is very good. It flows. The sentence structure is enticing.

I have a question re your market? Could this be marketed as a Young Adult novel? If so, I was thinking that a "more adult" cover would be appropriate to lure in that audience. Right now, I don't know if a male would pick this up based on the cover, and yet this book hits both young males and females.

In the first chapter you mention Ginger and Toby. I never could find out who these people were to Jake.

Great job. Totally enjoyed it all. Congratulations!

Celine Zabel
Lives Shattered: One Mother's Loss at the Hands of the Legal System

Aspiring author wrote 497 days ago

I have read up to chapter three and the first thing that struck me about the book was how well you've managed to portray the period with your characters. Jake's age isn't mentioned but I have taken for granted that he is in his late teens and his innocent, love-struck character has so obviously not been exposed to today's technological generation. The conversations between his parents are also in keeping with a different way of looking at life compared to today. The story line is intriguing and I want to continue although I tend to agree, based on what of read so far, with Deborah Aldrich Farhi in her view that maybe it would be better suited to the YA genre.

Mark Cain wrote 500 days ago

This is a charming tale. I was very surprised to see it turn very quickly into a bit of detective work.

I've read through about six chapters, and you keep the suspense going. Lots of fun here.

The MS is generally clean. Could perhaps use a tad more description of the surroundings, like what you did with the beach in the first chapter. However, the tale works, at least as far as I've gotten.

Good job.

Mark
HELL'S SUPER

Wussyboy wrote 509 days ago

I'm not a big fan of mermaid stories, that film where Tom Hanks landed Darryl Hannah made me wince, but this is a really charming and well-written story. Okay, I had to suspend my disbelief when Jake (apparently) attempted carnal knowledge with a lot of fishy scales (can this mermaid have sex?) and okay, I would have liked a bit more dialogue before her saying 'Hey Jake, let's cool it', but this is nonetheless a jolly good read. Please let me know when you do your next round of edits, Richard (you haven't done any for six months?) I'd like to see how this develops.
Six stars from me, excellent stuff.

Joe Kovacs
He ain't Heavy, He's my Buddha

Deborah Aldrich Farhi wrote 527 days ago

Mermaids have long been an enticing subject for romance; I can see the appeal of this particularly for young men who may have secret fantasies!! :) I found the language rather simple for adult fiction, and wonder if it would be better suited to the YA genre? It is a fun adventuresome read and I hope it does well!!!

Vanya wrote 528 days ago

Hiya,

I just read first two chapters. Quirky beginning. I immediately wondered, of course: "Is it the world where mermaids are common place or someone is gonna wonder what's going on with him?"

As others said I wouldn’t mind knowing what's this unusual creature with such usual name was all about before she died. But there's this unlikely CIA link, so I imagine there are a few surprises to come. Is mermaid love in the beginning just a token backdrop before the real 'action' begins? And he's about to find out that no mermaid is what she seems? Not my genre, but I like your laid back style. Drop me a line, please, if your full book is on free download prom.

Vanya

Alice Barron wrote 535 days ago

Hi Richard,

I love stories about mermaids and especially when they interact with humans. I love "The little Mermaid", "Ariel's adventures at the bottom of the sea" etc,.
I was a little surprised that Jake had story books about mermaids. Even if he did have them when he was a little boy I though it a bit odd that he still had them at thirteen. Anyway, that does not matter. He obviously liked reading about mermaids and like me, captivated by their beauty and grace.
I can only imagine Jakes utter shock at seeing a real live mermaid. It must have been a magical moment.
I think it would help a lot if there was more of a blossoming relationship between Melissa and Jake. It was all rather too short. What happened Melissa was indeed truly shocking but it would be more intense if they both knew each other for a while longer before the accident.

Chapter 2...confident should be "confidant" as in Jake confided in Melissa.

He cautioned me to remain silent about what we had seen however, at least "wait" until the creature had been fully examined......

Chapter 3....exciting as Jake is going to embark on a quest to try to find Melissa.

Alice.

patio wrote 540 days ago

An unusual love story about Melissa the mermaid and Jake, a complete human. What a moment. The moment Jake swan and embraced Melissa. I thought she would turn. It was a tense moment

I am really enjoying this story, so much so that I intend to read it all

But max stars for now

Kirstie wrote 544 days ago

This is a lovely, unusual love story. Your style of writing is wonderful, the descriptions give and excellent sense of place without being overdone. I did however wonder if 'calm as a millpond' might be a bit of a cliche- other than that the descriptions were original and painted a wonderful picture of the seaside.

The style of writing is something like a Victorian fireside tale in places with old-fashioned language such as 'on retiring to my bed'. Occasionally the language is much more modern, such as 'Take the Michael which seemed a little jarring.

I like the characters a lot. Jake seems sensitive, yet he is brave enough to undertake the challenge of finding Melissa. His Mum and Dad come across as fair and understanding. I agree with other comments that it would be nice for the reader to have got to know Melissa a little more before the accident.. What was it that made her so special - maybe this could be explained through her dialogue with Jake.

I wondered if Ginger and Toby have more prominence later in the story as they are mentioned in chapter one and Ginger is mentioned in chapter four but they don't actually appear early on.

Overall, a great start to a story that I suspect from your pitch gets darker and more dramatic

Kirstie
The Girl who Ran with the Wolves



Michael Matula wrote 553 days ago

I love the concept, Richard, and I think you have a particular knack for describing the landscapes. I thought the start of chapter one was really lovely and quite well done.
I did jot down a couple of suggestions as I read along, though.
In the long pitch you mention that Melissa was killed, but you never say that the mermaid is named Melissa. This becomes obvious when you mention the propellers, but I might either lose the name of the mermaid, or mention something like “stumbles upon Melissa, a beautiful Mermaid basking on the shingle...”
I might suggest toning down the number of exclamation points, but that could just be personal preference. I try not to use them (outside of dialogue, of course) myself, as I think the reader should get excited by the nature of the events themselves, not from the prompting of the author. Similarly, instead of trying to surprise the reader (like the fact that Melissa's a mermaid), I usually prefer to surprise the main character. The reader will follow his journey, see his surprise or dismay, and hopefully feel what he feels.

I also feel that the introductions of the protagonist and the mermaid were glossed over, as this seems like the most crucial part of their connection to me. What connects them to one another, besides his obvious interest in her? Why does she like him back?
The first time we hear them speak, they already know one another's names, and I was curious about what her voice sounded like. Is she a fluent English speaker? Does she struggle with the language, or does she have an accent that sets her apart from the locals? I found myself curious.
(Which I think is a very good sign for your story, as I don't usually ask myself quite so many questions as I read sample chapters on this site).
It's definitely a very interesting story with some terrific writing, and where it seems to be going—judging by the second chapter and by the pitch—is one I can't say I've ever quite seen.

Mike
Arrival of the Ageless
What, the Elf?

Augustineisme wrote 557 days ago

This is a lovely story and well-written. I do think you could have given a deeper understanding of the friendship and budding romance. For instance, we see everything from Jake's point of view. What were her troubles and views on the world. Perhaps she gave Jake a more of a reason for him to want to return her to the sea. Just a little more background on her would be nice. You did a wonderful job of describing Jake's feelings and his home-life. I hope you post the rest! Would love to see how it ends! :)

LCF Quartet wrote 565 days ago

Hi Richard,
I read the first chapter of THE MERMAID OF SHINGLE STREET to have an overall feel of your novel and here are my first impressions.

You have an impressive first-person voice and a very professional approach to pace and structure. The prose flows well and it's easy to picture the plot with the help of your great descriptions.

It's good that you used a strong dialogue between Melissa and Jake, as their relationship level is now clear to reader from the beginning.

I look forward to reading more and gave you 6/6 stars, as I loved your remarkable style, everything sounds right to me.
Best wishes,
Lucette- Ten Deep Footprints

Kate LaRue wrote 592 days ago

Richard,
This is an imaginative tale and the prose is quite lyrical. There is a good sense of place as you describe the town and the shoreline. I did not get a good sense of Jake's age. His narration is quite mature, but it is not until chapter 3 when we see him interacting with his parents that his youth becomes evident. I also did not get a good sense of the historical setting, though I see from the pitch that this is set in 1964. The plot itself reminds me of the movie 'Splash'– boy meets mermaid, boy falls in love with mermaid, mermaid is kidnapped by the US government, boy decides to rescue her. I'm not sure if this is an issue, but wanted to mention it just in case. Good luck with this tale.
Kate

Colin Neville wrote 603 days ago

This story combines myth with a very real and modern theme of US Security Services shenanigans. I liked the way that the appearance of the mermaid is linked by the less imaginative to a mutation resulting from the Sizewell nuclear power plant on the Suffolk coast. There is a good sense of place in this novel and I liked the way the narrator is drawn into investigating the apparent death of his new friend, the Mermaid. The early sexual attraction of the teenage boy to the sea woman is understandable and would cetainly account for his quest for the truth.

Although I read most of the posted chapters, I will just concentrate on the important stand-or-fall ch. 1. These were the impressions that struck me.

Great sense of place; I liked the sense of the narrator striking off on his own to get away from his mates. You capture the atmosphere and quiet ambience of the Suffolk coast really well.

Agree with Sharda that the second clause of sentence one, line one is superfluous. 'In truth I was certain no one would believe me' is a great starting line; it doesn't need the second clause.

Try and establish age of narrator in this chapter. It doesn't emerge until ch. 3 that he is 13. But it makes the youth's awe, sexual attraction and not recognising the sea woman to be a Mermaid, more credible if we know that the narrator is early adolescent.

You tend to overdo the awe-struck repetitions: 'yes, fish scales'; 'yes, conversations'; 'yes, talk'; 'yes, all my clothes'. You are trying to convey the wonder of the experience, but you are over-doing this rhetorical device to do so.

You report that the Mermaid began to talk. What did she say? How did she say it?

Go easy on the rhetorical questions in ch. 1. I felt there were too many. You don't need the question mark after 'what delight to sit there on the bank admiring her grace and elegance [?]'

This is a very imaginative and creative premise for a book. I think tightening your opening chapter will hold more readers to your engaging story.

Colin Neville

KMac23 wrote 614 days ago

Richard,

I enjoyed reading about Jake and his quest to save the mermaid, Melissa, who was taken and possibly dead, but turns out to be alive. Jake seemed kind and caring wishing to take her from the lab and the scientists and people who might use her for their own purposes. He seemed to have a good relationship with his parents and was respectful of them.

I'd like to know more who Melissa is, as she seemed a bit elusive other than what you provided from Jake's thoughts and what he told people, her being sweet, kind and pretty. Yet, I'd like to hear from her to know who she was, her feelings, where she came from, what she thought of Jake, etc. Maybe you could develop this segment of it a little more, and I might feel more for her like Jake does.

I like the mood I get from the places you described, the lagoon, his home, the streets of the town, etc. I think these descriptions put me in the places, and I had a good feeling of where I was at while reading them.

I wish you the best with this, and hope to see more of your book in time! Kara

Patty Apostolides wrote 615 days ago

This was a very intriguing fantasy with a scientific twist that was quite imaginative! The boy meeting the mermaid, and trying to find where she went kept my interest to the end. I would never have thought of the CIA and the Soviets playing a role in the story. That really turned it into a more serious read, and made it even more engaging.

The only thing that stuck out was that only one chapter was spent on the boy's relationship with the mermaid, and the other eight chapters was spent on finding her remains. The emotional investment and time he gave didn't seem to warrant the effort in the beginning. Maybe expand the first chapter and spend more time on their relationship, make it more than a physical interest? Maybe bring in more dialogue between them, more interaction, etc. Just a thought.

I rated this highly and hope you add more chapters!!

Best,
Patty Apostolides
"The Greek Maiden and the English Lord"

Tod Schneider wrote 631 days ago

I must have a soft spot for mermaids, as such stories do resonate for me. Your writing is quite good, with a distinctive flavor and style that reminds me a little bit of Robinson Crusoe for some reason, like a period piece. It's clearly fable, but with a literary bent. Nicely done, and best of luck with this!
Tod
http://authonomy.com/books/40646/the-lost-wink/

ShirleyGrace wrote 631 days ago

Richard:
I found your profile interesting. I also know my characters and miss them. It's strange how they become real live people. You are a good writer and talented. I am placing this on my W/L for further reading and six stars. Thank you for sharing.
Shirley Grace
Turnips and Tulips
The Devil's Stepchild
Sinja

Cas Meadowfield wrote 636 days ago

The Mermaid of Shingle Street

Beautifully articulate , fluid language. The style reminds me of books published in the 1950's... Why so few contractions? 'I had' I'd
Very adult vocabulary, what age are you aiming at? At a guess fourteen up wards...
'Retiring to bed' makes me think of some one in their twenties... Strange he's still a boy.
Ch 3 'it's on the table' 'food's on the table'
You write about her 'wise counsel' but you didn't write the dialogue...
'withdrawing ' sounds old-fashioned.
He's thirteen? That means the story is aimed at nine to twelve year olds...doesn't work... Jake needs to be at least seventeen... (doing 'A' levels?) last paragraph is good ending.
Ch 4 he's only thirteen and he drinks beer? Make him eighteen! Yet later the barman calls him a minor?
Ch5 Tizer! Can you still get that ?
Ch6 these = 'this'
Very exciting
Ch7 UFO sightings? The plot thickens. Loved 'geographically challenged'
'High' should be 'hi'
Ch8 Another strong ending.
Ch9 here should be hear
Cold war paranoia and threats adds to the tension.
Great ending.

Best wishes
Cas
The Wind Maker

richard thurston wrote 638 days ago

This lovely story begins with an old-fashioned feel as if told by one of the great 19th century writers. I found myself looking for clues to the era– an ambulance… propeller… the Soviets… pot– we can form a time frame– the heat of the Cold War.

Prepubescent Jake meets Melissa in the first chapter and falls in love with her. He learns she was caught by a fishing boat and badly injured, ending up with US Military Intelligence. Jake and his American friend Marlon spend the next several chapters trying to find the mermaid's whereabouts.

What a great concept! I love it.

The sample (more, I want more!) doesn't provide much of a hint of the story's direction, but I can picture the story as cinematic YA, a book and movie I'd love to see. I'm happy to back it.

Wanttobeawriter wrote 638 days ago

MERMAID OF SHINGLE STREET
This is an intriguing story. I like the way Jake visits with Melissa but doesn’t tell anyone about her; I thought he would bring all of his friends to see her too (I’m not quite sure how old Jake is). Is there a way to make that clear at the beginning of the story? The discovering she has been hit by a motorboat is chilling. But then begins the real story as Jake begins to search for her. A good read. I’m starring this and adding it to my shelf. Wanttobeawriter: Who Killed the President?

Casimir Greenfield wrote 680 days ago

Richard - much to praise here. As I expected, the prose has a lyrical quality that evokes a magic realism that young kids often experience on days like the one you describe in the opening.

The work has so much promise. It does feel like an early draft, and I'm hoping the work is complete... (I only ever put books on my shelf that are complete, but it is on the Watch List)

I've never actually heard anyone say 'frigging' except in a sanitised US movie, so sometimes the dialogue rang a little false. Sharda was right when she commented on the genre. You do have to know exactly where you are pitching this, then your voice can be more authorative.

If this is an early draft and incomplete, then get writing! The ideas and characterisations are great, they just need a bit of judicious editing and that all important out-loud reading.

So, great beginnings...let us know where you're going with this one.

Just my 'umble opinion of course...

Cas

Tod Schneider wrote 686 days ago

Beautifully written, I really enjoyed your opening descriptions, and the premise is irresistible. A clue to the boy's age at the outset would help firm up his image in my head. When he first discovers the mermaid I would milk it a little more. Right now you are telling more than showing in that paragraph. Anytime you say something was surprising or exciting or whatever that's a way around just showing it, which of course is much harder. You might try saying things like, "I saw something that was impossible to see. I rubbed my eyes and wondered if I'd been out in the sun too long. I gave my head a shake to clear it and looked again. What I saw made no sense..."
So, there you have my rude imposition on your writing. I hope you don't mind, and please toss it with gusto if so inclined. A fun story overall and I think one worth writing. Best of luck with this!
-- Tod
http://authonomy.com/books/40646/the-lost-wink/

scargirl wrote 691 days ago

good story and premise, punctuation is in need of an edit, the pitch is intriguing, too.
j
what every woman should know

Sharda D wrote 695 days ago

Hi Richard,
a return read for your support of Mr Unusually's Circus of Dreams. Thanks again.
Feel free to ignore anything that you don't agree with, I'm no expert.

Firstly I must say I love the title of this book, lovely juxtaposition and a command of the lyricism of words that is displayed throughout your writing.

First line: I like the first part of it, but the second part is a little confusing, because ‘world and his wife’ is a slightly confusing phrase. At first I thought you were actually talking about someone’s wife and I had to re-read! But I like “In truth, I was certain no one would believe me.” That’s a great first line.

You paint lovely pictures with your words and I sense you are mindful of their sounds as well. I liked – skimming stones, last rays of the sun, sea wall, shingle beach, skylarks. All lovely images and beautiful words and lots of 'shhh' sounds so that we can hear the sea in the words. Well done.

You have a slight tendency to overuse questions and exclamation marks. I didn't like all the exclamation marks in the section with the boy and the mermaid. To me, exclamation marks always feel a little cheesy!

Not quite sure how old the narrator is meant to be. The language at times sounds like he is a much older person (an adult) remembering when he was younger. It’s slightly confusing. If it’s from e.g. a 12 year old’s point of view, the words need to be those a 12 year old would use. Your narrative voice seems to slip into a more adult one frequently. e.g. don’t like the word “centrefold” in this context, it feels too technical for this narrator.

Kissing? I think you need to take off the ‘children’s tag’ this feels way too grown up. Remember children’s is usu 8-12. You could use a YA tag here, but not children’s.

You have a great premise and lovely plot. Your writing is at times truly poetic, but I felt that it wobbled a little in places. I sense that you're not quite sure who your 'market' is as you have ticked a lot of tags. I feel that this is letting the book down. Decide whether it's horror or romance or children's and work within the conventions of that genre. Otherwise you'll never get published (unless you self publish). It's annoying I know, but it's a sad fact of life that publishers are looking for things that fit into a pre-ordained category with strict rules.

This has real potential, but there are a few niggles, nonetheless it is an interesting story, well written,
5 stars from me.
All the best,
Sharda.

Tracey Hope wrote 705 days ago

Richard,
I love proper fantasy writing for children and I love mermaid stories. This is a beautifully told tale and I think younger readers would love it. It has a lovely old fashioned feel to it.
I want to know your protagonist more. I am not sure how old he is. This is just a suggestion but are you able to somehow let us get to know him more in the early chapters such as how he reacts in situations through dialogue.
I have no space on my shelf at the moment but I will shelve you when I have a space.
Highly starred.
Tracey

Mgdurant wrote 708 days ago

I have only read the first chapter so far but it has held my interest enough that I will read more. So far I think it is a great children's book. Punctuation needs a little work but that's nothing compared to the great imagination I see.

Mule wrote 719 days ago

Richard,
Thanks for sharing your story! The dialogue is very smooth and realistic, easy and conversational, which help create real and "average" characters -- a good contrast to the fantastical aspect of the plot, that of the mermaid. There is a solid contrast between chapters one and two; in chapter one we see the mermaid in her most angelic form, grounding us in a fantasy; but in the next chapter you throw that traditional storyline out the window when the mermaid gets ground up. I compliment you on this black/white relationship. It's good writing. Complex. Engages the emotions. I'm eager to read more.

Sam Cronin
"Mule"

uncas wrote 741 days ago

A lovely story Richard. The idea may not be absolutely new, but you execute it beautifully and add a twist which is very inventive and highly readable. Its also an enjoyable book - something that is becoming rare amid all the ultra-realism and emphasis on violence. The settings are good and your style a comfortable one. This is well above average - well done. I wish you all the very best with it.
Best regards,
JA

Candymace wrote 749 days ago

The tone of this story sounds quite traditional, almost old-fashioned by todays standards. The dark aspects would make the story most suitable for young adults, I feel. The plot is fascinating and quite unusual. The cover is lovely. Maybe some more direct dialogue in the first chapter would bring the story to life even more. I'm interested enough to read on. Candy.

Kristin S. Ward wrote 751 days ago

I loved your cover so much that I just had to back your book for a while, until I get a chance to read some of it. I love mermaids.

leedromey wrote 751 days ago

Hi

I have read the first few chapters and I like the concept of your story. It is well set out, with the meeting and then the information about the parents, and the setting. i like that you have set it in the North Sea.

You have a very different style, which I think is well-written. You have demonstrated Jake's emotions as they develop, and the extent of his love with "his thoughts" and descriptions perfectly, giving all the necessary background information simultaneously. I like this alot. 6 stars and wl.

Lacydeane wrote 751 days ago

You are a really good writer with a very interesting and creative story. You have really good word usage and everything flowed easily. Great job. High stars. Lacy

katemb wrote 756 days ago

You've created a deliciously warm lagoon with a beautifully described mermaid. The reader can feel Jake's sense of wonder and awe about Mellisa. Suddenly, I'm thinking, yes - time for a mermaid story.

I wonder if you've considered spending more time on these opening meetings. Dialogue would bring out her character more perhaps. Given your pitch, and the kissing scene, I'm a little unsure of Jake's age. He seems young - nervous, impressionable, going out on a bike - but his voice is considerably older, at least to me.

Just some thoughts. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your work!
Best wishes,
Kate

Charlotte12 wrote 757 days ago

I like the concept of this story a lot. I also really enjoyed that old-fashioned sort of story-telling voice. It has a tone and a feel that we don't hear too often nowadays, and is very hard to pull off convincingly. Poor Jake; I felt for him a lot. I loved his voice, and even though the tone of the story is a little formal, his distress is clear.

I like this a lot and will highly star and back it with pleasure.

Best,
Dyane
The Purple Morrow

BessV wrote 758 days ago

There's something about a mermaid story. For one, it's not very widely done these days, and also, it's just such a lovely myth. I think you're definitely on to something here. You also have a talent for description, and I like the old fashioned feel of your story. I also like how you get right into the adventure part of the story, but I do think you could add maybe one chapter where we see the relationship between Jake and Melissa, conversations and such. I really enjoyed it and when I get to a proper computer I'll be happy to back it. Nice work!

richard thurston wrote 759 days ago

The Mermaid of Shingle Street.
By Richard Thurston.

Pleased to come back again to your book to read more.
It’s a long time since I read any Mermaid books.
As a child, I was always fascinated by them…so were many other kids at the time.
I think that there’s a place in book shops for a story such as this, I’m sure of it.
You give some excellent description throughout the book.
I felt I was there on the shingle beech, watching Melisa swim, with no one else around.
How could Jake not fall for this lovely creature?
Then, to learn of the dreadful accident, caused by the ‘Dora’.
I thought for a moment that she wouldn’t recover, but pleased to find out later that she did.
I didn’t want to put the book down all the way through it…a compelling read…even for an adult.
I would like to know how the rescue from the US base turns out.
Enjoyed immensely, the story… I’m sure many more readers will…Well done!!
Highly star-rated.

Kind regards,

Neville. The Secrets of the Forest - The Time Zone.



Thanks Neville- I am so glad one or two readers like my story.

Richard

Neville wrote 759 days ago

The Mermaid of Shingle Street.
By Richard Thurston.

Pleased to come back again to your book to read more.
It’s a long time since I read any Mermaid books.
As a child, I was always fascinated by them…so were many other kids at the time.
I think that there’s a place in book shops for a story such as this, I’m sure of it.
You give some excellent description throughout the book.
I felt I was there on the shingle beech, watching Melisa swim, with no one else around.
How could Jake not fall for this lovely creature?
Then, to learn of the dreadful accident, caused by the ‘Dora’.
I thought for a moment that she wouldn’t recover, but pleased to find out later that she did.
I didn’t want to put the book down all the way through it…a compelling read…even for an adult.
I would like to know how the rescue from the US base turns out.
Enjoyed immensely, the story… I’m sure many more readers will…Well done!!
Highly star-rated.

Kind regards,

Neville. The Secrets of the Forest - The Time Zone.

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