Madcap Library: a rethink

01/08/2014 12:01

I haven’t done much work recently on Madcap Library as a story. However, it has been simmering in the background with regards publishing. My illustrator, the wonderful Hannah Botma, has been in contact with a children’s publisher who are interested in the Sloth, and we’ve been discussing ideas for children’s books. I spoke to various people last week, and now have two challenges to work on: a story-book for children aged 3-4, and another for children aged 7-9.

Considering that I have accepted that Madcap Library is written for children aged 10 and up (mostly due to the vocabularly used), it means the stories I currently have aren’t really suitable. In addition, only two of them are entirely Sloth-based; they’re also not suitable for illustrated stories as they are. So…I have to write new stories. *lays hand on forehead* oh woe is me, I have to write stories about the most adorable Sloth ever! And he is one of my favourite characters (I think the Libraneer beats him, but only just, and the Devil’s a close second).

I’ve just written two basic plot outlines for the 3-4 year-old story; they were relatively easy, as it’s simply distilling the ideas down into their simplest format. I suspect I’ve still managed to make it too complicated, but at least it’s something to work on, and the stories made me smile. I’m going to send them over to my test reader to see what she thinks, at any rate.   The stories for the 7-9 year-olds are harder, and also made me think about Madcap Library more generally. I re-read Madcap Library this morning, and I’m not sure what I want to do with it. I’m not sure if the stories are good enough for publishing; I haven’t submitted them to anyone due to the fact they’re short stories and in a series and I didn’t think anyone would want them. But the need to revisit them has made me question that. If I re-wrote them, or at least the first ones, could they be submitted?

My one problem is plot. I am pretty useless at finding the problem to be solved in a story; I like letting the characters run riot and interact and generally cause havoc by themselves. They don’t usually need outside events to help with it! But I appreciate that it does give a hook, it does give a flow, and that a lot of my stories lack that. It’s particularly obvious in Madcap Library, because the stories are a lot simpler and shorter than my other writing. It’s a critique that keeps coming up, and it is something I need to work on.   So I think I may start again with the first Madcap Library story, and work on the basis of “How do we solve a problem like the Libraneer…”

Author: kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.