The Secret Pond – Chapter 2 – Sally

Hope you liked the book review last week. I really enjoyed reading Nellie Nova Takes Flight. I’m looking forward to see what adventure Stephenie Peterson has Nellie and Niles embark on in her next book. I’m glad to see such a good response to the post too.

Rewriting The Secret Pond has been an experience in editing. When I added more storyline and background to it, I noticed that my writing skills have definitely improved over the last year. What I originally wrote may have been my best at that time, but now I can see the things that can be changed to make it even better.

While working through my editor’s notes for The Hard Way, she pointed out a narrator Point of View (POV) change. It happens when the story is being told from one character’s point of view and then changes to a different character without any notice for the reader. It is an easy mistake to make and it can create confusion for the reader.

While rereading, The Secret Pond, I noticed that some of the story is told from Sally’s POV and some from Abigail’s. The story starts as Abigail’s, so if I want the narrator POV to change, I’ll have to show it changing. There are a couple of ways to do that. One, I can break it out into separate chapters and label them by who is telling the story. Or, I can choose one character’s POV to tell the entire story from. You will soon see what way I chose to go.

Chapter 2 – Sally

As she was running away from the house and down towards the woods, Sally felt a misty rain against her face, but she didn’t mind. She was going to her favorite place, her secret pond. Sally arrived at the edge of the woods and started down the path. 

The pond was in the middle of dense woods at the back part of the property that surrounded her house. Sally discovered the pond a couple of years ago while she was playing outside. She looked towards the woods and saw a path leading right into the trees. Her curiosity got the best of her and she started following the path. After cautiously walking for a couple of minutes, she saw a whole army of miniature frogs on the path ahead of her. They were frantically hopping in all directions to get out of her way as she walked towards them. She had such a hard time trying not to step on any. Just around a small bend in the path, she saw a beautiful pond off on her right. It was surrounded by the dense trees which kept a lot of the outside light and sounds out. It was so quiet in fact, that she could hear the sounds of the creatures in the pond singing their songs. 

Sally always visited the pond by herself. The adults didn’t have any time to spend with her, let alone visit the pond. She almost asked Claire to come with her one day. Sally smiled when she thought of Claire. She was the perfect nanny. She loved children and it showed as she treated Sally like one of her own. She moved into the Baxter’s home just after Sally was born. Sally’s mother wasn’t made to be a mother, but needed to have a baby to provide an heir for the family fortune. 

As she was growing up, Claire was her only playmate. Her mother didn’t believe in play dates. She was too busy being a part of high society to have any time to hang out with other moms. The Baxters hired people to take care of those tasks. So when Claire was busy, Sally had to entertain herself. She loved to read and played for hours with her friends, ones she either read about or created in her head.

Sally decided that she wanted to have one of her imaginary friends share the secrets of pond with her. Lila was a fairy that Sally met at the secret pond in one of her stories. She knew in her heart that Lila wasn’t real, but she needed to pretend that she was. The loneliness was eating her up inside. Living so far away from the city, she didn’t have a neighborhood of kids to play with. So, Lila became the ultimate playmate for Sally.

Just before Claire left, her Mother talked about sending her off to a special school. She explained to Sally that was why Claire had to leave and Abigail was coming to live at the house. She was going to be the tutor to get her ready for the school’s very challenging assessment exams. Sally wasn’t sure she wanted to go away to school, but knew that it was probably best. She felt that her parents didn’t have the time or interest in raising her. It would also give her the opportunity to meet kids her own age and find a more normal life than what she was living now. 

She lowered the hood of her rain slicker onto her back. The dense trees kept the mist out of the forest. As she got closer to the pond, she heard what sounded like a stone being dropped into the water. Walking down the path to the water’s edge, she saw a turtle swimming in the pond.

“What do you think of that, Lila?” Sally said out loud, “We have another friend living in our secret place.”

She thought it was probably the same turtle she saw laying eggs along the path last week. Seeing some baby turtles in the pond would be a lot of fun. Her and Abigail were talking about animals and creatures who lived in the woods. As a matter of fact, just today Sally learned that tadpoles were baby frogs. She was going to look and see if she could find some tadpoles in the secret pond.

Sally knew she would miss coming here once she left for school. But the bigger problem was what would Lila do after she left? Sally knew that Lila liked it too much at the country house to move anywhere else.

By choosing to write the story this way, I can bring in both what Sally is thinking and what Abigail is thinking and let them tell the reader themselves. Multiple points of view is an effective way to write, but adds a few more things to keep track of. Let’s see how it works going forward into Chapter 3 next week.

Book Review – Nellie Nova Takes Flight by Stephenie Peterson

You may be wondering why there isn’t another installment of The Secret Pond on the Monday Morning Blog today. Last month, I made a plan to do a book review once a month and I picked the second Monday for the post. So, when I agreed to do this book review, I set the date for the second Monday in August. So, The Secret Pond story will continue next week and the next book review will come the week after The Secret Pond project has concluded.

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Yesterday morning after taking the dog out, I settled into my comfy chair with a cup of coffee and surfed the channels on TV. I found a Lifetime Movie Network movie about JK Rowling that caught my attention. It was about how she wrote, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, found an agent, who in turn found a publisher, Bloomsbury who then bought the rights to her first book. Little did they know when it was published in 1997 that she would go on to write seven more books in what would become a popular series for middle grade and young adult readers. Just to note, many adults are fans of the series too. The story of her journey is a very inspiring one for a writer like me who is looking to publish a trilogy of my own. After watching the movie, it got me going on my writing.

Through Facebook writing groups, I’m making connections with many published and aspiring authors all at different places in their writing journeys. The advice and support that I find in these groups is invaluable to keep working towards my dream to publish a novel someday.

About a month ago, I proposed the idea of doing a book review of middle grade books on my blog, to add some different content. I mentioned it to a couple of the Facebook writing groups that I’m a member of. One of the authors from Fiction Writers, Stephenie Peterson, volunteered to send me a copy of her first published book. Here’s my review of  Nellie Nova Takes Flight.

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Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

Nellie Nova Takes Flight

Author

Stephenie Wilson Peterson

Type of Book

Middle Grade Fiction

Background

Published in 2016, this is her first published book. It is also the start of a series of books starring her main characters, Nellie and Niles Nova.

Summary of the story

Nellie Nova is a nine year old girl with curly blonde hair and lots of book smarts. She has strengths in math and science, which is not typical of most young girls. After being heckled by her brother, Niles, about being just a girl, she decided to do something that he would never believe she would. Using her knowledge of science and math, she built a time machine. Along with Niles, she visits places and times in history. On one of their adventures, they are able to meet Amelia Earhart, one of Nellie’s all-time favorite people. She is a fan of Amelia’s because she is also a girl, who was brave, and made big things happen.

My reactions to her book

Loved the story. I was drawn in by her characters and story development. Peterson really made Nellie a strong girl character which was nice to see. I’m a pilot, so having Amelia Earhart be the woman that Nellie really wanted to meet, brought me into the story even more.

I would recommend it to all middle grade readers. Seeing such a strong girl character in a novel for their reading level, I think would make it an inspirational read for young girls.

How do you get a copy or find out more about the author?

To get a copy of Nellie Nova Takes Flight from Amazon.com, just follow this link

Nellie Nova Takes Flight

For more information about the author, Stephenie Peterson, and her upcoming books, here’s a link to her website

Stephenie Peterson