Under the Microscope extra: When Reggie Fell out of the Nest

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03 January 2018
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Read our suggested rewrite of a reader's novel for children opening
Under the Microscope extra: When Reggie Fell out of the Nest Images

Read James McCreet's suggested rewrite of Lyn Douglass's novel for children, When Reggie Fell out of the Nest

ORIGINAL

I wake to a bright sun. My body is wet. feels sore. I lift my head. Ouch, it hurts. Where’s that sweet smell coming from? Perhaps those pink roses. My tongue is dry. Need a drink but where am I? Soft moss covers the ground. I stretch my neck and see a giant oak tree. At the top, tiny flecks are buzzing around. They are coming near. I strain to focus. Yes it’s my parents. “Mum.” I cry. Why can’t she hear me?

I try to think. Yes, I remember. As usual, Mum and Dad were arguing. There was lots of pushing and I got in the way. Bang, fell out. Tried to fly but am too little. Must have dropped to the floor and got knocked out. Oh, what’s that noise. Go away, you noisy magpies. Stop trying to peck me. Must get to those bushes and rest.

The sun had gone down when I woke again. I hear a strange language. I poke my beak through the leaves and spy two huge shapes. Funny, they don’t have any feathers. I see a pond. Must get a drink. Quietly, I creep towards the water and sip. That’s better. I look up and see Dad skirting the air. He lands on a branch. I want to shout Dad but no words come out.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see one of the shapes walking towards the pond. I sliver back to the bush. My trembling makes the leaves crackle. The large shape kneels down and calls to the smaller one. The ground booms. Must keep still. Through half-closed eyes I see them peering at me. The large shape picks me up with its sort of claw. I wriggle and screech but can’t get loose. It puts me in this box and closes the lid.

 

McCREDITED VERSION

I woke to a bright sun. My feathers were wet. I felt sore. I lifted my head. Ouch . . . it hurt.

Where was the sweet smell coming from? Perhaps the pink roses.

My tongue was dry. I needed a drink, but where was I? Soft moss covered the ground. I stretched my neck to look up and saw a giant oak tree. Tiny black shapes moved against the white sky. They came nearer. I tried to see. Yes – it was my parents.

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“Mum!” I cried.

Why couldn’t she hear me?

I tried to think. I remembered. Mum and Dad had been arguing. There was lots of pushing and I got in the way. I fell out. BANG! I tried to fly but I was too little. I must have dropped to the floor.

Then there was a noise. I cried again: go away, you noisy magpies! Stop trying to peck me! I had to get to the bushes to hide. I fell asleep there.

The sun had gone down when I woke. I could hear a strange language. I poked my beak through the leaves and spied two huge shapes. Funny – they didn’t have any feathers. Had they seen me?

I saw a pond. Quietly, I crept towards the water and sipped. Better. I looked up and saw Dad circling. He landed on a branch. I wanted to shout ‘Dad!’ but no words came out.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of the large shapes walking towards the pond. Had they seen me? I scuttled back to the bush, where my trembling made the leaves crackle. The large shape knelt down and called to the smaller one. The ground boomed. I tried to keep still. Through half-closed eyes I could see them peering at me.

The large shape picked me up with its sort of claw. I wriggled and screeched but couldn’t get loose. It put me in a box and closed the lid.

For the full analysis, get the February 2018 issue of Writing Magazine