Book Jacket


rank  Editors Pick
word count 13619
date submitted 21.06.2012
date updated 18.11.2013
genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Children's
classification: universal

Finger Bones and Wendy

Sara Stinson

Finger Bones has been sending ghosts to their next destination for years. Now it's Wendy's turn.


The Bridgeville Clipper announces Finger Bones is dead at 122-years of age. Wendy is not upset. He will be back. Finger Bones and Wendy have unfinished business in this small town.

When ten-year-old Wendy Dee Winkelmann needs to do some serious thinking she likes to chew bubblegum. While sitting on a bench reading, she becomes friends with an old man the townspeople call, Finger Bones. Some locals consider him odd and spread rumors about the ghastly man who lives up a dirt road in an ramshackle cabin. Yet Wendy soon discovers this old man, who walks to town with a burlap bag tied to a stick, has a special job. He sends ghosts to their next destination, and the stick and burlap bag he carries are magical.

Now Wendy chases the lingering spirits. Soon she finds herself caught up in a devious plan of a dark sinister power, and if it means hurting someone, or worse, it will do whatever is necessary to succeed. It’s all up to Wendy to save Bridgeville before the evil power takes over the town.

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HarperCollins Wrote

Finger Bones is a character of great potential and he provides an interesting premise for a children’s story, especially considering current trends in the genre. Your opening paragraphs create an ideal setting and moody atmosphere on which to stage your story. However, the narrative begins to lose its way a little after this. While there is a strong story beneath the surface, it is occasionally obscured by weak writing and characterisation. These issues can be remedied by not being afraid to rewrite whole chapters where necessary and by trusting the reader to interpret the narrative for themselves. The joy of reading lies in our response to what we read, so be wary of describing the story as well as telling it.
“Wendy, however, being the thinker of the group, was not about to let some old tray in an old trunk get the best of her. Her stubborn and determined side surfaced.” The reader can conclude for themselves that Wendy is innovative. Rather than telling the reader that, “Her stubborn and determined side surfaced”, show it through the clenching of her jaw or pursing of her lips. Otherwise you risk providing a commentary on your own story.

Avoid overusing the passive voice. Phrases like “Then a shifting sound was heard” and “No writing could be found” serve merely to disconnect both the characters and the reader from the action. (The periphrasis is also awkward to read.) The noun that would normally be the object in the sentence is being used as the subject, shifting the emphasis from ‘the hearing’ and ‘the finding’, in these instances, to ‘the sound’ and ‘the writing’. While the passive voice may be useful occasionally, it’s important to understand why you are changing the emphasis. For the most part your applications are inappropriate. George Orwell goes so far as to say, “Never use the passive where you can use the active.” Changing these sentences to “They heard a scraping noise” and “...but couldn’t find any writing” makes them more immediate and significant to the characters. After all, the reader is only interested in the environments and events of the novel in so much as they affect the protagonists. You are telling a story through their eyes.

Addressing your overuse of the passive voice will help to remedy your inconsistencies concerning narrative mode. Your current third-person omniscient approach is more suited to epics. While it is useful for providing narrative reliability, it’s best reserved for stories with many characters as it tends to distance the reader from the story. You often flit between the characters’ thoughts. This becomes awkward to read and you lose any sense of a coherent voice. Telling the story purely from Wendy’s perspective (third-person limited) would allow the reader to slip comfortably into her shoes without the jarring experience of the occasional shift in perspective. For example, the story moves from Wendy’s perspective to Henry’s mid scene:
“Henry sat straight up and his body began moving slightly up and down. The heebie-jeebies crawled down his spine. Once again, his brain was telling him to run.” Limiting the narrative perspective is especially important in children’s literature, where their interest and attention is not so easily held. You seem keen to focus on Wendy’s thoughts and motivations. This ‘over the shoulder’ perspective would help you to do that and would give the story a sense of direction (the story would be carried by Wendy’s own agency within it).

Having said that, it is important to ensure that all of your characters are properly fleshed out. Finger Bones is an interesting character and Wendy is fairly well established but Henry seems defined by his cowardly nature alone, while Claire is ‘the worrier’. As they are, they are more narrative tropes employed to highlight Wendy’s bravery and determination than they are fully formed characters in their own right. A child won’t be intimidated by multifaceted characters; rather, the more you pour into your characters the more the reader may draw from them.

Connected to this is your tendency to tell the reader what’s happening rather than showing them. By doing this you’re denying the reader’s interpretative prerogative. A reader is immersed in a story by both reading it and reading into it. Avoid sentences like, ‘“Ah. No use. We can’t lift it,” Henry moaned in a defeated voice.’ ‘Henry said’ is better. Your dialogue and characterisation should be strong enough to show the reader how a thing is said. Use body language to supplement dialogue. It’s an integral part of interpersonal communication and breaks up dialogue to give it a natural rhythm. Read everything you write aloud to see that it flows well. If it is awkward, rework it. Be ruthless enough to rewrite whole sections at a time, refining it again and again, until the impurities are removed and you’re left only with sentences of value. Be wary of overwriting though. Writing that is easy to read is the hardest to write and readability is especially important for children’s books.

Do not be discouraged by the issues I’ve covered above. I’ve addressed specifics because they are eminently fixable. You have the foundations of a good story here but there is a great deal of rewriting required in order for it to reach its potential. Strip away unnecessary words, sentences and paragraphs, so that what remains is your story in no more words than was necessary for its full telling. Flesh out your characters as the narrative unfolds rather than defining them as they are introduced, “Wendy thought Claire was the smart one. She was also a worry wart and very tender-hearted.” You control what the reader learns about a character and when they learn it. You can engineer this so that the reader is gradually privy to the threads of their lives and how they are interwoven with the others. Do not be discouraged by having to rewrite. It’s a progression in itself. You will have gotten to know your story and characters better between drafts so your story will be richer for it.

I’m afraid that we won’t be taking your work forward on this occasion. Congratulations on reaching the Editor’s Desk however, and I wish you all the best with Finger Bones.

Max China wrote 471 days ago

Although we write in quite different genres, your magical book invoked the return of the child in me to read this tale in wonder. Tt is a story as fresh and exciting as the summery breeze that blew through the leaves of the old hawthorn tree beneath which I sat when I first readTom Sawyer. Pure magic. With the limits that time placed upon me, I only read four chapters, but it's enough for me to say that you've captured the essence of something special here, I only wish I'd stumbled on this lovely tale when we had a house full of children over Easter, I'd have loved to have seen their enchanted faces when I read it to them. I wish you well as you ascend further up the charts. Finger Bones gets well deserved top marks from me.

Max China
The Sister

Helen Laycock wrote 588 days ago

Sara, it's very easy to get completely absorbed in this book from the very beginning. It was such a smooth transition into the world of Finger Bones that I instantly forgot I was reading - which is exactly what a book should do. Finger Bones has the power of transportation, it has shades of Roald Dahl and the fairytale charm of timelessness.

I am going to predict that this book WILL be published! This is, without doubt, one of my favourite books on authonomy and, as soon as I am able, I shall give it shelf room. In the meantime, here's a big bag of golden stars. Catch!

Glass Dreams

Natalie1 wrote 707 days ago

What a delightful tale, Sara! Beautifully told with a light, sunny yet mischievous tone, children everywhere will love this! Finger Bones is a terrific title and describes an equally wonderful character who has obviously entranced many readers already judging by how quickly you are racing up the ranks! Very well done to you, Sara. Lovely work here. The very best of luck in getting this published. Natalie (The Diary of John Crow)

Tarzan For Real wrote 727 days ago

"Tonight is the night when dead things fly. When witches on switches fly across the sky."

Why when I read your work I'm a young child sitting in great open field surrounded by five hundred year old oaks on a moonlit night having my grandpa tell tales of Ichabod Crane, the loup garou, and the white witch of the swamps? Great writing and you build the worlds well and have that knack of saying just enough to draw us on. Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, and Lovecraft would be proud of this I'm sure.

Or are they reading it now? Hmmmm....

MauriceR wrote 701 days ago

Club Nanobots Critique
Hi Sara
You’ve got all the elements of a classic children’s story here. A fiesty heroine, a wise old man, ghosts, and the hint of a lurking evil, all put together very artfully. I’m afraid I haven’t got anything in the way of critique to offer, nothing struck me as in need of being done differently. Hope it goes well for you.

Narcissus wrote 248 days ago

BTW, regarding the review....
I like "moaned" better.
Just sayin...


C. A. Thomson wrote 357 days ago

Hi Sarah,
Because of time restraints, I've only read up to chapter 5.
I'm a little confused though! What is the blood running from Fingers arm all about? Now admittedly, I've only read up to and including Ch.5, so perhaps it becomes clear later on?
Should this be a classic case of "A Man read," as in "Men just don't look properly," (I can hear my wife's dulcet tones ringing in my ears as I write) then you can slap me later! Seriously though...
I love the concept of being the one in charge of sending ghosts to their next place of haunting. Wow!
What a responsibility.
I love the smoothness of your writing, It makes me want to read on, so thanks for the pleasure and good stars from me! I will read more soon. Good luck,
Craig A Thomson.
'Search for the Sunlight' (Give us a look man?)

rmstorm wrote 358 days ago

Your story reminds me very much of something I would have read as a kid, it's straight forward and charming.

Virginia Moffatt wrote 359 days ago

This is very inventive...great set up and like the way Wendy is chosen for the task, though she is unsure...intriguing.

singfam wrote 382 days ago

wahoo!!!! Awesome!!! cant wait to hear how it goes!!! :-)
good luck!

Little Gypsy wrote 383 days ago


P.S.Hope wrote 386 days ago

Dear Sara Stinson,

Though I am not a reader of Fairy tales, I loved your book. Written amazingly !!!!!!!!!
Wish you luck with HC.

Roy Freer wrote 389 days ago

A Chirg review, chapters 1 & 2

Great job on this, you've really set up a fascinating and mysterious story with the opening 2 chapters. I love old Finger Bones and the handover in paragraph 2 was really well written! It is an intrigueing and absorbing premise which you've developed into a fantastic little book if the opening continues throughout. Here's my notes:

ch 1

para starting 'finger bones lived alone': his brown eyes sentence reads badly, maybe lose the comma and add an adjective, something like 'and his brown face was a kindly old grandpa face'?
with the americanised spelling would grampa work better?
para starting 'but there were two': 'they had never met a stranger'? I'm confused as to why or how this is relevant or indeed possible!
para starting 'it's fair to': 'one young girl who thought differently from...? maybe

why have we got the spacing and sectioning off? if it's a new chapter, start a new chapter but as you've just introduced the different(ly!) thinking girl the break just disrupts your flow.

para starting 'she sat with': i would question whether he's an 'old' friend, he's certainly old but you make the wording sounds like they have been friends for a long time and she's only 10... maybe 'aged' if that's the meaning you want?
para starting 'those dark bony': 'folks saw when he walked 'by' carrying the stick' maybe?
next sentence: bindle, nice wordage! so many people use bundle the old hobo bindle is rarely seen these days :)

great opening, full of intrigue and mystery, love it!

ch 2

para starting 'oh, i think': 'turn and run', does it need a comma?
para starting 'talk, finger bones': i'd lose that first comma and i'm not sure if Wendy would suspect her friends of setting up a joke as they'd be too scared to falk to Finger bones, maybe she could question his sanity at this point instead?

great handing over of the baton exchange. And sewing the seeds of mystery and horror with the malicious spirits hovering on the periphery, great chapter.

So overall a very positive review from me, high 'starrage' too! G'luck


prynkmishra wrote 390 days ago

Everyone loves stories with fairytale elements to it! Wish you all the best!

Voice wrote 391 days ago

Hi Sara,
Ok, I didn't realize you were going to leave me hanging. Put the end of the story up already, girl! I love this story. I've been keeping notes of some things I feel need some refining and I will give them to you if you need them. However, I have a feeling you won't need them because I'd be suprised if you don't have your own editor from Harper Colins in a few days! Wishing you all the best!
Voice otherwise known as Audra :)

Voice wrote 391 days ago

Sprinkled with humor and mixed with a good dose of spooky, "Finger Bones" is a charming brew. The spunky heroine, Wendy Dee Winkelmann, guided by her mysterious mentor, Mr. Finger Bones, battle to send ghostly villians "hotfooting it" to their final destination.

Pretzki wrote 391 days ago

Potential: reads like a Tim Burton, though as I have read to my children a great deal, the sheer amount of names thrown so quickly into the story can be off putting. A slower induction to characters or dwelling with them longer would assist this piece.

RachelKayBatty wrote 398 days ago

Hi I apologize for the time it has took for me to get to finger bones. I have only read a few chapters but what I have read is great! I predict great things for you with this story and have no doubt that all children will love it too. You write lovely and I found myself lost in the characters! Many stars from me and thanks for a good read!

JTMcInnis wrote 398 days ago


So sorry it has taken me so long to get to your story. I've had two very busy semesters in a row and have only recently got back to reading things on Authonomy. Here are my reactions after reading three chapters.

My guess is that many young people will be interested in this tale. A ten-year-old girl being chosen to help ghosts get to where they need to be, the evil lurking around the corner, threatening the small town: these things will interest many. Now for a few particulars in these first three chapters.

I like the names you give people. Wendy Dee Winklemann, her father Odus. Henry T. Bartlett, T.R. Miller and his hound dogs. The names themselves give the story a fun atmosphere.

Nitpick: In the 8th paragraph of your first chapter, I'd drop the comma between "called" and "The Bridgeville Jewel Box". A pause here seems unnatural to me.

nitpick: In the paragraph in which you introduce her father, you unnecessarily capitalize captain twice. I was taught to only capitalize such titles when they are used with the person's name. Captain Winklemann, yes, but not Captain of the Bridgeville Police Department. Caps on BPD since this is a proper noun naming a particular police department, but not on captain itself when unaccompanied by Winklemann.

Is there a contradiction here in chp. 1? At first old Finger Bones sits down and tells Wendy he'd love to hear more about her book, but just a couple of paragraphs later he tells her he has to talk to her and that it cannot wait. If it cannot wait, why did he think he had time to hear her talk more about her book at first? I don't catch anything in between that suddenly makes it more urgent than it was when he first sits down.

I know they are friends, but I wonder how realistic it is for her to trust him when he seems to be bleeding so badly. Perhaps he is bleeding too much and doesn't have enough in his brain to think straight. You say she is a thinker, and indeed she thinks of this later, but why doesn't she think of this when she first sees all the blood on his hand? This may seem a bit unnatural to some readers.

At the end of chapter 1 you emphasize his over-sized hands and knuckles, but nothing of the blood is mentioned when he is holding the stick up. Presumably he is still bleeding, or at least his hand is still covered in blood and dripping as he holds the stick. Would this not be an unforgettable part of that picture, and therefore worth another mention at that point, though you mentioned the bleeding a few paragraphs before?

All during chapter 2 nothing is said about his bleeding hand. He does not explain it and she does not seem too concerned about what hurt him. I know the main point of this chapter is the choosing, but won't readers be curious? Wouldn't Wendy be more naturally curious and say something? Perhaps he doesn't have time to get into that, but perhaps more concern from her would be natural. Does it stop bleeding when time stops? We don't know. The injured hand is not mentioned in the chapter. Shouldn't it be, at least a little?

Anyhow, as I say, you have a strange situation here that will interest many. Best of luck with it!

Jeff McInnis
Betwixt the Trees

TheRovingIntern wrote 399 days ago

I loved your strong characters and imaginative names, and the idea is absolutely one-of-a-kind. The only bone I have to pick (pun pun pun) is that Wendy acts more like a seven year-old rather than a ten year-old. Perhaps I remember being more mature at that age (I may have been an odd child).

A Darker Blue

Voice wrote 401 days ago

P.S. The change you made is good. It makes a lot more sense to me now.

Voice wrote 401 days ago

I love your handling of Finger Bone's death. Really liked the line about grief covering her face as Wendy realizes he's dead. I also like howFinger Bone's comforts her and she realizes he's not really gone.

I was a little confused in chapter 8. I found myself asking when, when did Finger Bones give her all these details about finding the trunk? Finger Bones mentions that Wendy needs to find the trunk in chapter 6, but that's it. Did she have another vision or maybe he told her in a dream during the sleep-over? I think a line or two about it would help the reader.

I'm excited that your book is being looked at by the editors. I don't know if you will even need my critique, but these are just questions that are coming up as I'm reading and I figure I would want the input so - voila!

Sara Stinson wrote 402 days ago

I have worked on this part of the story. Let me know if this works. Thank you for catching it!


Hi Sara, I'm up to chapter 8 and a little confused. Why is there concrete by the tree? The tree shifts and sends them flying, right, but I don't know where the concrete that almost hits Henry in the head came from?

Voice wrote 402 days ago

Hi Sara, I'm up to chapter 8 and a little confused. Why is there concrete by the tree? The tree shifts and sends them flying, right, but I don't know where the concrete that almost hits Henry in the head came from?

Lisa Abraham wrote 403 days ago

CHIRG review

What a great first line for a book!

I have only had time to read the first couple of chapters but I can see why this is in the top 5.
It's not my usual 'cup of tea' but its very well-written, engaging and I can see children being absorbed with it.
The characterisation of Finger Bones himself is fantastic.

Great Big Safari Park Stories

Salley wrote 404 days ago

I just read your first four chapters, and I love your book. You hook readers in from the beginning with the mystery of who Finger Bones really is. I love your characters' names (like Wendy Dee Winkelmann). The town has a homey feel, despite the evil that lurks there!

I like the way Wendy was chosen by the stick to take over Finger Bones' work. You have some great hooks to make the reader want to continue and find out what happens next. You have done a great job of developing Wendy's character. I like the fact that she is a deep thinker who likes to chew bubble gum when she has some serious thinking to do!

I really enjoyed Chapter 4 - Angry Ghost. I like the way Finger Bones came to Wendy's rescue and shot the angry ghost with sea salt bullets. Then when Wendy was feeling anxious and wanted to confide in her father, Finger Bones sprinkled magic glitter on her and made her forget her worries. A little magic can always save the day.

I think children will be enchanted by your story. I have a ten year old daughter with special needs, and while this book is above her reading level, it would be a wonderful book to read to her. Like most children her age, she is interested in ghosts, but also a little bit afraid of them. I think your story entertains children without scaring them. You have a wonderful book here. Congratulations on making it to the top, and best wishes!

Sara Alley
Ghost Town

licker21 wrote 404 days ago

Loved this story and would like to read it in print form to my children.

Debbis Hanson :¬)

Pippa Whitethorn wrote 406 days ago

Hi Sara,

Finger Bones is an easy to read, entertaining children's story. It has ghosts, magic and plenty of mystery. I liked the idea of Wendy being chosen by a stick and I felt sorry for Finger Bones because of the tales people tell about him - he seems like a nice old man.

Good luck with getting to the ed's desk


James Aristocrat wrote 408 days ago

Excellent - this is both well written and entertaining. I wish there were books like this when I was younger!

Debra H wrote 411 days ago

CHIRG review
The concept of the magic stick being passed on from old Finger Bones to ten-year-old Wendy so she can send ghosts to their next destination and protect her community from an evil force is such a great one. I have read Authonomy chapter two, three and four. Not sure if we need the table of contents here as it throws off the chapters. Perhaps giving chapter titles within the chapters themselves would work. That way, when a reader clicks on chapter one they get chapter one... and can gets started reading right away.

I love the title and the cover. They'll surely draw readers to this book as it sits on a bookstore shelf. The pitch also does a great job of introducing the story and leaving the reader with a hook. Will Wendy save the town of Bridgeville? I wasn't sure the part about Wendy chewing bubblegum was necessary or relevent, especially as a first sentence in the pitch since it doesn't relate to the rest.

PLOT: The first chapter starts with some summary about Finger Bones. It's well written and engaging. I've heard editors like stories to start with action rather than summary or backstory, but don't think it's a hard and fast rule. This information about Finger Bones and Wendy and Bridgeville is a nice introduction that leads the reader into the story. It has a storytelling feel to it and allows the reader to settle in. When Finger Bones tests Wendy by asking her to hold his stick and finds that the stick chooses to reveal its magic to her, we are set for the transfer of the magic from Finger Bones to Wendy. Finger Bones warns Wendy about the evil force at work in the town and about the job she must take on with control of the stick and bag. We leave chapter two with Finger Bones saying he will teach Wendy about the stick as he was taught by the person who carried it before him. In chapter three Wendy is at school and trying to suppress her knowledge about the magic stick and how it can make stand still. We meet her two friends Claire and Henry. Wendy experiences discomfort about keeping her secret from them. A planned sleepover is discussed. I wondered a bit about a ten-year-old boy having a sleepover with two ten year old girls. Maybe it's just me, but my two daughters had all girl sleepovers after the age of five.

CHARACTERS: A few characters are introduced in the first chapter. Finger Bones is sure to capture reader's interest. Someone who is one hundred and twenty-two years old is a real hook. Finger Bones disappears from the story, but Wendy, a thoughtful ten-year-old girl, then takes centre stage. In chapter three we meet Henry and Claire. This threesome make a great combination. It brings a boy into the story and opens up the readership to both boys and girls. I've heard boys don't often read a story without a male main character, so this is perfect.

SETTING: The town of Bridgeville is introduced as a small town where everyone knows everyone. Such a perfect setting for this story. The small town atmosphere where neighbours help neighbours provides a nice backdrop for the plot. The fact that evil is lurking and something sinister is going on gets the reader caring about the community and its inhabitants. Nicely done.

STYLE: The story starts off with a narrator telling about the town and its inhabitants and sets up a nice easygoing style with a lot of narration. The story then breaks into a scene with Wendy and Finger Bones in the town square that includes a nice balance of action, dialogue and narration. The the next chapter a scene set at school is from Wendy's point of view. The writing is set at an appropriate level for the intended reader. Great

POINT OF VIEW: the story begins with an outside narrator telling the story, then after the three *** we switch to some information about Wendy followed by a scene with Wendy and Finger Bones. I wonder if this first part before *** might work well as a prologue since it's all summary? When we meet Wendy and Finger Bones together we get inside both of their heads. I think it could just as easily stay inside Wendy's head and pov.

Finger Bones is a great read and children will eat up the plot with good ghosts and malicious spirits. Wendy is a great protagonist and her two friends provide an opportunity for the three to work together against the bad guys!!

I'm giving Finger Bones six stars and putting it on my watchlist. I'll be back to read as time allows.

Debra H
Turnaround Bay

Voice wrote 413 days ago

You and Mrs. Taylor have something in common - good hooks! Looking forward to getting a chance to read chapter 3 and more.

brucerodgers wrote 416 days ago


Comments as promised.

I think this is a nice concept - very Tim Burton-esque - and will certainly appeal to kids with a darker side to them (nothing wrong with a bit of Scooby Doo)!.

I'm guessing, based on the density of the language and the fright factor, that this is aimed at early teens?

The pace is nice, each chapter picking up nicely on the one before it. Attention span is always a challenge with any readers, let alone kids, but I think you've covered that well. The children's characters could possibly do with a bit more depth but I only got to chapter 5 so this may develop later.

Well done Sara. I wish you the best on your journey to the desk!

Bruce :)

Indigo Secrets wrote 418 days ago

Hi Sara, thanks for your welcoming message!

I just finished "The Choosing" and I'm enjoying your story. The writing style is spot on for a great children's novel, yet the content is sinister and creepy in a way that can chill an adult like me to the bones! It will be thrilling to watch a child thrown into this dark world of magic and spirits. I'll keep reading!

Keep writing!

maretha wrote 419 days ago

Finger Bones by Sara Stinson
I continued reading Wendy and Finger Bones' story and enjoyed it as much as before. :-)

Chapter 3 - Secrets
Wendy's best friends in the world, Claire and Henry can't fathom out what is bothering their friend. Wendy thinks of cancelling their weekend sleepover, but decides to rather carry on. She tries her best to keep her secret, but it's not easy. This chapter is well-written with just enough dialogue to keep the plot moving.

Chapter 4 - The Angry Ghost
I think this is not just a very informative chapter, but it's also well written and I think if I read this as a child, I would have been deliciously and genuinely scared. First there is the story about Mrs Harper. Wendy wonders why she would want to go to an old overgrown cemetry in the first place. Then there is the story of Mr Grapples (effective name) who was swept away when the Bones River flooded... and even though his grave is dug next to his wife's, with tombstone and all, he is not buried there... interesting.
When Wendy decides to take the overgrown path to Finger Bones' shack she meets a ghost - not friendly and Finger Bones comes to her rescue, shooting salt at the ghost, who disperses into tiny pieces but not for long...
Your dialogue in this chapter is again, excellent and suits the genre well. You have a fine sense for description and the angry ghost is clearly etched in my mind. I intend to continue reading as soon as possible.
I think this is a lovely read and deserves to be on the desk. As soon as I'm able, I will most certainly back this book. HIGH STARS from me.
African Adventures of Flame, Family, Furry and Feathered Friends

The Ambitious Fox wrote 420 days ago

With the wild enchantment of childhood wonder jumping out of the pages that you write, you have a sense of internal pace appropriate to the story being relayed. It feels neither too fast nor too slow. You describe the events and the story in a way that is easy to follow and easy to understand, although I think that with extra work, this could provide strong commercial appeal.

By work, I mean adding emotive language to the descriptions of the events, so for instance adding metaphors or similes. For me, the language, whilst being appropriate, is nothing extraordinary, although this doesn't detract from the decent idea that you are working with. The characters are too similar to each other however, and the dialogue feels fake. Try to read give each character a different personality in their speech, and then read it out to yourself to see if it's working. There are also minor gramatical issues, such as speech marks in inappropriate places, but this is a pedantic criticism and doesn't detract from the reading experience.

You have shown great promise in your writing aptitude! Above all else, your clear structure is what keeps it all coherent as a story and makes it perfect for easy reading. The story never stagnates as well, which can happen in some stories that I have read (even published ones in which I wonder how they ever managed to become published), so if you leave this story for a while, come back to it some time in the near future, you might see it with fresh eyes and be able to elaborate, review and/or create new parts to this novel, which will probably be enjoyable to write and more than enjoyable to read.

Ambitious Fox :)

BeeJoy wrote 420 days ago

Sara, Finger Bones is entertaining and well-written. I like the small-town feel and sense of responsibility to protect it. I am about 7 chapters in and enjoying the flow of the story. Best of luck for quick publishing... starred and backed.
Mona Krueger (Facing The Truth)

BeeJoy wrote 420 days ago

Sure! I can do that. Hope the same in return:)))

flygurl wrote 421 days ago

Pitch: Very strong, not too long or too short, just enough to make the reader intruiged.
Sarah, what a magnificent story. You have created a whimisical world through Finger Bones and Wendy! I picture Finger Bones as a mysterious, but cute, almost endearing old man who has a universal relatable quality. And Wendy (the chosen one of the stick). She is also very likeable, we are rooting for her! I am curious to know what she will learn and lose on this journey. You have set-up a very exciting, adventurous story, and I cannot wait to see how it unfolds. As for your writing/editing/punctuation, I find it to be utterly flawless. Excellent work!

Brian G Chambers wrote 445 days ago

Hi Sara
I'll put you on my shelf in a day or two and leave it there till the end of the month to see if it helps get you into the top five.
Best wishes.

andrew skaife wrote 447 days ago

as a teacher of over fifteen years I am always glad to see a practiced and crafted hand putting out work that I am totally incapable of...your chosen audience is difficult to engage but I think you have the right balance of interesting story, excellent talent and concentrated undertsanding....glad to back it.

Sara Stinson wrote 449 days ago

I am writing because I love to write. My book is for entertainment in hopes children will want to read. I have taught special needs for 25 years. Even they love entertainment. So for as a purpose, I WANT THEM TO READ. And it is working...


I hope you don't mind if I ask you a question. Is your book purely for the entertainment of normal children or do you hope to empower children with special needs? Let's say I'm a five-year-old girl and my father won't hug me because I'm immobilized with dystonia. How will your book brighten my life? Let's say I'm a bullied, eleven-year-old boy who's mentally challenged? How will your book strengthen me in my next go-around with the bullies? Let's say I'm six and entering first grade with treacher collins syndrome. How will your book help me when kids start telling me how ugly I am?

As you approach the ED, no one denies that you are not a powerful writer, but you've dealt with special needs children all your adult life. My only question is how you intend to use that power to help them.


andycp1999 wrote 449 days ago


I hope you don't mind if I ask you a question. Is your book purely for the entertainment of normal children or do you hope to empower children with special needs? Let's say I'm a five-year-old girl and my father won't hug me because I'm immobilized with dystonia. How will your book brighten my life? Let's say I'm a bullied, eleven-year-old boy who's mentally challenged? How will your book strengthen me in my next go-around with the bullies? Let's say I'm six and entering first grade with treacher collins syndrome. How will your book help me when kids start telling me how ugly I am?

As you approach the ED, no one denies that you are not a powerful writer, but you've dealt with special needs children all your adult life. My only question is how you intend to use that power to help them.


DMHeadley wrote 456 days ago

I love a good ghost story and to my pleasure I was not disappointed. Good luck with reaching the Ed's desk.

Sammy and the Wise Willow

Diane60 wrote 461 days ago

Sara what a great story you have here. I read all 26 chapters and it is really alive with great characters. So well written. Wishing you good luck with this one and i can see it heading to the editors desk real quick!

papa raynie puddles wrote 462 days ago

Sara you pulled me in..loved your character developement and its tight flow...I read afew chapters and envisioned it all...good work...I'll be watching. ........from Papa Raynie Puddles

arch4706 wrote 464 days ago

This is a wonderful book. Wendy Dee Winklemann is a smart little girl and this is such a fun adventure. Really hoping for a sequel!!

Max China wrote 471 days ago

Although we write in quite different genres, your magical book invoked the return of the child in me to read this tale in wonder. Tt is a story as fresh and exciting as the summery breeze that blew through the leaves of the old hawthorn tree beneath which I sat when I first readTom Sawyer. Pure magic. With the limits that time placed upon me, I only read four chapters, but it's enough for me to say that you've captured the essence of something special here, I only wish I'd stumbled on this lovely tale when we had a house full of children over Easter, I'd have loved to have seen their enchanted faces when I read it to them. I wish you well as you ascend further up the charts. Finger Bones gets well deserved top marks from me.

Max China
The Sister

Miss Wells wrote 474 days ago

I can picture my three imaginary children looking up at me wide-eyed and enthralled as I read this out loud to them. It’s the choice and attention to detail which makes this so magical. The fact of it all being so lucidly imagined. I read the first two chapters and then skipped on to Train Trestle and the meeting of Wendie and Willie. Fabulous work. A story for intelligent children and let’s face it all children are intelligent when they are treated as such.

rewster7887 wrote 480 days ago

Engaging storyline and characters. Like the relationship you create between Wendy and Finger Bones.
Children like a good ghost story and this doesn't disappoint.

High stars

Roo Parkin wrote 487 days ago

Beautiful story-telling, Sara. I like the effort you take to set the scene, and you have created lovely characters in Finger Bones and Wendy. Their relationship is sweetly crafted too. It all trots along at a very agreeable pace.

I was impressed with your description of Wendy's first stand-off with a ghost - particularly how he pawed the ground with his foot and charged - all very easy to picture. Also loved some of the names: 'Abner Grapples' and 'Screaming hollow Road' stand out.

Excellent stuff. Going on my shelf.


CJBowness wrote 493 days ago

This starts very well and will, I am sure, be very popular with children. Your style is clear and straightforward and leads one on. I have put it on my watchlist and given it lots of stars.
CJ Bowness
The Accidental Adventurers

Lara wrote 494 days ago

Clever plotting, and I like the character of wendy who has just the right attitude to fear and adventure. Backed

Debbie R wrote 515 days ago

As promised, Sara back to read some more of your book.

Chapter 7
Lots happening here. There is the drama and noise of the storm and the sirens and poor Finger Bones' cabin is on fire. I like the strong feeling of friendship between the three children and the fact Claire mentions how Wendy stood up for her when she was being picked on.

A couple of things here, 'He figured it out!' Then you say that Henry whispered - the exclamation mark and then Henry whispering jarred a bit for me.
Later on in this chapter I thought there were perhaps a few too many adverbs around Henry and Mrs Winkelmann coming upstairs and into Wendy's room.

Great image of Finger Bones emerging unscathed from the cabin with a white glow around him.
He has died in the fire but tells Wendy that he will be back. I think you handled this part of the story really well and I could picture him bending down to show Wendy what was in his sack. This scene contrasts nicely with the noise and drama that went before.

Chapter 8
In the first sentence perhaps you could cut the second 'Wendy' and use 'her' instead.
Loved the description of Henry being 'wrapped up in a blanket like a burrito'.

Again, there is the theme of friends sticking together when Wendy asks Claire and Henry to help her find the trunk Finger Bones told her about.

The story is moving along with a brisk pace and I will return to read more as I want to know if they find the trunk and what's inside it.

Already highly starred

Narcissus wrote 521 days ago

I've had this on my shelf for a while, after browsing throuh enough to know it was a keeper.
Just read chapter one. This writing is top notch. Clean and professionally done. No errors I could see. The story unfolds very nicely, introducing the town of Bridgeville and several of its inhabitants. The relationship between Wendy and Fingerbones will delight every child. It's not too scary...yet, and I trust the author will carefully create some goosbumps without going too far. It's very nicely crafted,giving out little bits of informantion at a time, bt not too much. A nice cliff hanger when he asks Wendy if she wants to hold his stick with the bindly on the end. He's carried it for 100 years! Of course her tummy made a flop!!!
Great opening to what promises to be a fun and engaging story.
VERY nicely done!!!
Will be back.
Isles End

Steel Gods wrote 546 days ago

Hi Sara,
While I'm not a YA reader I love your young protagonist and her lovely friendship with Finger Bone. I have only read the first chapter so I'll definitely be adding you to my bookshelf for further investigation.
Good luck and all the best with this.
If you have the time, please stop by 'It Might Burn' by R Zaman - thank you from Steel Gods