19 October 2011

Youthful Novels: Six Crossed Wands Introduction

The Six Crossed Wands and the Kidnapped Frog: A Tale of Wands, Leeks and a Glove of Pure Glass
by James T Harding, aged 11


"Standly! Come on, get up!" Called Standlys mum up the stairs, "Weave got a train to catch you know!"

In Steven King's On Writing, starting a story with a character on the move is given as a great way to introduce momentum to a novel early on. Note that I seem to have instinctively grasped this principle, even though I didn't read On Writing for another five or six years.

"Coming mum." Grumbled Stanlys brother, (Jhon,) Standly didnt anser, Mainly because his mouth was full of toothpaste and partly because he was too sleepy to talk.

The Pritcherd family was moving house, Standly dident mind to much. The school he went to was terrible. But to his younger brother, moving house was like the end of the world.

Standlys teacher, Mrs Piano, fitted her name exactly. She had teeth like piano keys, a voice constantly cracking between C and F sharp. She had a cane as long as the longest piano string, and a temper as short as Mary Had A Little Lam. You could also play her like a piano. Forenstence, if you were to make a Spelling mistake. (Hitting the key.) She would can you, (The hammer hitting the string,) and make a smarmy comment. (The noise the string makes.) Melvin, Standlys best freand, was an expert as Music on on Krisses birthday he had got Mrs. Piano to sing 'Happy Birthday.

Melfin has moved to a boarding School to get away from her. And Standly would be coing to the Same school!

As Standly packed his toothbrush away into a bad, he smiled.

I suspect that Mrs Piano is based on one of my old primary-school teachers. I dare say she would be delighted with her highly unfair representation if she ever read this.

Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Pritcherd were makeing final adjustments to Packed lunches etc.

"Train Tickets," Said Mrs. Pritcherd.

"Check," anserd Mr. Pritcherd.

"Packed lunch."


"Our suitcases."



"Oi, boys, in the car!" Shouted Mr. Pritchers up the stairs. "Check"

"Good, lets go!"

Mr. & Mrs. Pritcherd were organization freacks, you only had to move to have them running with a dustpan and brush.

Brilliant use of dialogue here to create the impression that the story is moving faster, as the eye travels quicker down the page.

"By the way Standly," Said Mrs. Pritcherd "there is a litter from Melvin in the back, why don't you read it on the way to the Station?"

"Thank mum!" Anserd Standly. They were going to drop Standly of at the boarding school, and then move on to the new house.

The letter was in a cheap white envelope and addressd in a handwriting quite different from what Standly remembererd Melfins handwriting to be like. Inside was a single sheet of paper coverd on both sides by the strange handwriting.

It might be worth mentioning that in Welsh, the language I learned to write in, an "f" is pronounced as an English "v", while the English "f" sound is represented as "ff". Spelling aside, I think you'll agree that my ingenuity in introducing this letter for expositional purposes is admirable.

Dear Melvin, it read

I am so pleased to here you are coming to my School...

And it went on to explain all about the other boys in his (and Standlys soons) dorm,

Although all that effort in introducing the letter seems to have been largely wasted.

& how much the head resembled a Teacosy, and all sorts of other things. But it ended in rather a queer way,

I shall be waiting for you by the N-W-S tower, the head told me show would take you there.

Yours Seeyasoonedly



  1. Standly is rather an adorable name. Also much love for the word "seeyasoonedly". I'm intrigued that the letter from Melvin, was actually to Melvin, and from a mysterious Marvin? Haha.

    Not bad at all for eleven. Also, you learned to write in WELSH?! Are you originally from Wales?

    "The Six Crossed Wands and the Kidnapped Frog: A Tale of Wands, Leeks and a Glove of Pure Glass" is definitely the title of a book I would want to read. The glove of pure glass part sounds particularly interesting.

  2. @mack-at-home

    I checked the original manuscript (that sounds rather formal!) and the letter is indeed addressed to its sender, albeit spelt wrongly. Not quite sure what's going on there.

    Yes, I was born in Wales and went to a Welsh-speaking school until I was ten. Sadly, I can no longer understand Welsh, which means that I can't read my own diaries and stories from that time...

    The glove is actually a typo :-O In the original, it's an Orb of pure glass. I think glove is better though, so I'm keeping it!

    Thanks for your comment. Do you have any youthful novels of your own I can see?