Saturday, October 03, 2009

Finally No, almost, finished

A red letter day today! I've finally finished writing the Skipper's Child story!

Now I have to print it and edit it, prune it here and flesh it out there, give it to my daughters to read and edit (my best and worse critics), and then hopefully print off a few copies before Christmas. I will also then start sending it to a few publishers to see if I can get any positive response.

There is one point I need help with, though. I want a different title. The Skipper's Child was just a working title, so if anyone would like to help me by suggesting one, I'd be very grateful indeed!

Many many thanks to String, Anne Marie, Koos and Hans, who have all been the inspiration that has kept me going with this tale. Also, to those readers who have had to leave it in its progress - probably because it's taken me so long to write it, they've all found other priorities along the way! Thanks anyway to Margie (where are you?) CM and to Mo and Jo who have given me lots of comments and great support as well.


  1. Can I ask what the story is about? :)

  2. Sure, Stu, it's about a twelve year old boy whose dad is the skipper of a Dutch barge. It's set in the week before Christmas 1962 when he's with his family on the way to France. They find they have a stowaway, a young Russian boy, and so the adventure begins. The whole story takes place over four days. If you'd like to read it yourself too, you can find all the chapters (in reverse order of course) on

    But it is quite long now. Last time I counted, it was just over 70,000 words...

  3. PS, Stu, now I've finished it, I'm probably going to close the blog to all but invited readers, so if you start it and want to go on, then I'll send you an 'invite' so you can get into it.

  4. I am happy you finished your story. And apologize for not reading it along its journey. But I know that it is fabulous without even reading!
    I like "and the Skipper's Child" that was suggested over at FB.

    Probably feels good to have it completed. :)

  5. Well done, Val! How exciting to move to the pre-publishing phase. If I think of a better title, I'll make sure to chime in. ;)


  6. Thanks Grace. I'm now toying with "A Skipper's Child" because although I like the quirkiness behind the 'And' idea, I'm not convinced it would really work.

    Anne Marie, you've been with me the whole way through, and I can't tell you how much you've helped to keep me going and how much I value your comments and support. I don't know if you've read the very last part (as in the epilogue), but I have also fleshed out the middle of the last chapter a bit (just after they hear the radio broadcast), so the epilogue has more meaning and more of a tie-in. And yes, if you think of a better title, please let me know. At this stage though, it's probably going to end up as The Skipper's Child after all. I left a request on FB for suggestions, and everyone so far has said it's the title they like best!

  7. Such a great book Val, really loved reading it - it provided a telescopic view into a life I have never known nor read about. I like the title as well...if I think of anything different will let you know. Perhaps all you need is a tag-line for it

    The Skipper's Child - Adventures etc etc...

  8. Thanks so much String. You too have been the spur that kept me going. Your enthusiasm for Arie's adventure was really inspiring. Who knows, the way it ends could leave room for another Arie tale in future ;)

    Thanks for the tag line suggestion! I might well work on that. Good idea!

  9. It has been a great plesure to watch this story unfold. Try to get some TV-producers of childrens and youth programs interested, from my humble point of view it would be such a great script for a TV-play.

  10. Thanks VallyP. I got your invite this morning and plan to have a read :)

  11. Congratulations Val!
    I got a kick out of all the comments on your FB status! Have you decided on an official title yet?
    Maybe "The Skipper's Children" would work...
    It's been a while since I logged on - time is such a commodity, it seems! Oh... excuses excuses, Dale.
    I do have to limit my computer time, though, and I much prefer to read in bed, which is out of the question as my PC is in the office!
    I will wait for the published article. Just let me know when all is said and done!


  12. I'm poor with titles but I do want to wish you good luck in the final stages and especially with the publishers!

  13. Hans, I really value your support. It's been great to know you've enjoyed my story...well, of course, a lot of it was provided by Koos in the form of anecdotes from his own childhood, but even so, I've become attached to my Arie. Thanks for the tip about the scrrenplay. Maybe that's something to consider!

    Dale, as soon as it's edited and readable in bed, I'll let you know! I understand totally about dial ups and computers, and definitely prefer a real book to a screen book myself.

    Maria, thanks. I need all the good wishes for publishers I can get!

  14. HEllo Val!
    I am envious of your ability to write books.... I have wanted to do so myself for years but have never managed to find the right place to start. Perhaps that is why I became a jounalist.
    I would love to read this latest, but to be honest, reading on a computer gives me a dreadful headache, so even your wonderful book about your time in Africa got only a few chapters of proper dues from me.
    But I can buy that one in book form, can't I! And high time I did so. I am encouraging a friend of mine to become a little more... hmm... how can I put it? Blogoffied, I guess, and if even if he does not start his own, to get a blogger ID if only to have the opportunity to be part of our wonderful little family (of which lately, I have been something of a progidal daughter... lol).
    I think though if you would be so kind to invite me I will risk headache to read at least some of your new story... it intrigues me.
    Oh, and by the by, could you resend me your mailing address? Yes, good lord, I have lost it yet again....
    (Insert heavy sigh and rolled eyelids here).
    much love

  15. argh! once again a lack of editing has plagued my post!
    many oopsies.

  16. Wow! what an accomplishment. It sounds really interesting. Taking experiences from your own life and twisting it within another time and with new and unknown characters. I look forward to reading it.


  17. Hi Stevie, it's always a pleasure to have a comment from you now. Because your internet time is so restricted, I feel blessed that you take the time to write so much. Thank you! I will of course send you an invite...I hope I can find your email address now too! And I'll email you from mine so you have that too.

    Lesley, I'll let you know when it's available. Thank you! It's really more about Koos's life than my own, but even so, a number of the stores in the book are based on fact, and the whole setting is factual.

  18. Hey Val, the busys keeping you captive, are they! I know the feeling...
    Hope all is well. Just popping in to say "Hello".


  19. Hi Val,

    great to read your new book is ready. Hope it will be out soon, because I will buy it at once. Some weeks ago I finished "Small Wars" written by Sadie Jones. I love it.

    Have a sunny day.


  20. Thanks Dale and Stefan!
    Dale I'm okay, more or less ;-P

    Stefan, I'll let you know as soon as it's ready to read! If you remind me of your address, I'll send you one.


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