John says ...

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 October, 2009, 12:00am

Ting-ting is clearly a very creative writer with a strong imagination. Imagination is the spark of magic that brings to life an author's storytelling style and their choice of words.

There are a lot of powerful symbols and images in this story, such as the bird, the forest, the awful smell and the masks the people choose to wear. For me, these details help to give the story its important message.

I think this story is telling us we can try to pretend pollution doesn't exist. However, pretending something doesn't exist when it obviously does is a form of stupidity and can be very dangerous.

But, as with many of the best tales, we are not told directly what it is about. Because of this, different readers can find different meanings in the story.

Although The Smelly Princess works very well as it is, there are a couple of storytelling techniques that may make it even better.

Every story needs a main character, a hero or heroine - even if they are not very heroic. In many of the best stories, this main character goes through some sort of change during the course of the tale. They may learn something important, overcome a fear or just grow up a little. However, the princess in this story is a lovely person at the beginning and she is basically the same at the end.

Secondly, the prince arrives near the end of the story and solves everyone's problem by getting rid of the witch. I think this solution is a little too easy and weakens the story.

A solution that appears out of nowhere is an even bigger problem in a crime story.

In this sort of novel, a policeman often identifies the criminal right at the end. If we haven't come across the crook earlier in the book, we will probably feel disappointed.

Usually, the guilty character is introduced early on but then either forgotten about or not thought of as a suspect by the police.

Now let's see if we can tie these two ideas together in the story...